Monday, July 14, 2014

Vigilante Nights - First Kiss Excerpt & Giveaway

July 18 marks the one-year anniversary of the official release of my young adult suspense novel Vigilante Nights! Woohoo! To celebrate I’m giving you the first kiss excerpt and a chance to win an eBook copy (Kindle or Nook version)! After you read the excerpt, just leave a comment to enter the giveaway. Please share it with your friends! (Winner will be chosen by random draw of commenters on this blog and on the UnCommonYA Vigilante Nights’ anniversary post this week. Giveaway ends 7/20/14 midnight PST).

Setting up the first kiss: Lucas rescues his next door neighbor, Tara, from her bad date at the first dance of the school year and drives her home. But he has more on his mind…


I couldn’t stop staring at the opening of her blouse, the creamy upper swell of her breasts. “I wanted to take you to the dance.” I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans.

“There’ll be other times, right?” she said softly, shyly, too freaking cute.

Endorphins sprang to life. “Definitely.” Side by side, we walked up to her porch. Landscape lights radiated yellow beams across the walkway and newly filled planters of funky tall grasses and late-blooming flowers. “Tell Denny, case he forgets, we’re not meeting tomorrow.”

“Sure. Alyssa told me you’re all going on a yacht trip in the Bay, an annual thing your father’s law firm does. Sounds fun.”

“Doubt it. But my parents insist we go as a family,” I mocked with no real conviction. “I’ll be hard pressed to keep my mind off tonight.” I slanted toward her. “Or off you,” I whispered in her ear, inhaling her tropical fruit shampoo into my senses, willing it to drown out the lousy night.
The length of her quaked against me. “Try. They have no proof.”

“I feel guilty. And I don’t even know what was taken.” My lips toured her silky neck, along her jaw line toward her mouth.

“Dalton made you feel that way.” Tara made a clicking sound in her throat. “I . . . believe you.”
I touched my lips to hers, firm, soft, tasting spearmint. “Thanks,” I said against her lips. Drawing closer, I kissed her gently. Her mouth parted slightly, her tongue darted out then hid from me as if afraid. A hot stream of desire fed my blood, and I was useless to cut it short. Easing away before I turned her off, I released her hand.

Dazed, I strolled home. Another seed of life sprouted in my barren soul, replicating as fast as those dragsters had snuffed out my light. For the first time since the Summer of Delirium, I felt like I might be okay one day. For real.

Praise for Vigilante Nights:

Red herrings throw suspicion on various characters until the action culminates in a page-turning climax … A multifaceted story of revenge, violence, romance–and a touch of the paranormal–that will appeal to a broad audience. ~School Library Journal

VIGILANTE NIGHTS is brilliant for a Young Adult book. It faces the pressure and craziness of teenagers in horrible areas. It's a mystery book with twist and turns at every path. The ending was amazing. It was beautiful… Let just say it involves peace. ~Alice/KittiKat Reviews

The premise of VIGILANTE NIGHTS is absolutely fascinating. It's part contemporary urban street gang, part ghost story, part haunting journey from grief to hope. An action-packed second half should appeal to readers who enjoy urban thrillers with a hint of supernatural. ~YA Books Central

Buy Links:

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Independence Day, America!

On July 4th, 1776
This great nation, the United States of America,
In a struggle for what was right and free,
Was proudly born...
May we celebrate that precious freedom
For which our forbears fought so bravely...
The freedom that is inherent
In the Stars and Stripes, our revered flag...
Celebrate Freedom
This Fourth of July!

Source:  The Holiday Spot

Monday, June 23, 2014

Did you know...

Just for fun, I'm going to give you thirteen random facts about me. How many did you know about?
  1. We’ll start off with the usual: my favorite colors are purple, blue, and black…like a bruise!
  2. I love American muscle cars and have owned 4 Camaros.
  3. My favorite music is hard rock, and I love Three Days Grace, Metallica, Seether, and Avenged Sevenfold.
  4. I’m a California native, but have lived in Washington State and Colorado. I much prefer the warmer California climate!
  5. My favorite adult book is OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon.
  6. I HATE coffee, milk and eggs. I’m weird like that.
  7. When I was eleven, my cousins, sister, and I snuck up on an American Indian tribe holding a nighttime ritual celebration and we almost got caught. It scared me senseless!
  8. My favorite classic YA book is THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton.
  9. I will confess: I have not read the Harry Potter books or watched the movies beyond the 2nd one, The Chamber of Secrets, even though I loved the movie!
  10. When I was a child, I once stepped on a snake inside the door of our country house in Washington State. Still gives me the creeps.
  11. My favorite dessert is New York cheesecake…or anything chocolate.
  12. I prefer to shop on the internet and much prefer browsing on the computer than in the stores. I even ordered and bought a car off the internet without ever test driving it.
  13. I like reading all kinds of fiction from historical to contemporary romance, to fantasy…but love writing paranormal and suspense the best!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

First Kiss - Chasing Shadows

For my new blog feature, I will be providing excerpts from my published fiction or even my works in progress. For my first post, what better than to give you the first kiss scene from my first novel, romantic suspense, CHASING SHADOWS. No book is complete without a first kiss, and no romance really begins until that first kiss…at least not in my books!

Alex rose and turned to stare out the windows. Several uniformed officers stood by a row of marked police cars, bantering and laughing, preparing for a night patrolling the streets.
Moments later, Juliana’s warm hand touched his arm, coaxing him around.
“I’m so sorry, Alex,” she said softly. “I know how this hurts.”
He turned around, fists clenching. “Do you really?” he snapped.
She flinched, and he instantly regretted the words. She’d been through enough criminal cases to know how they affected the victims and their families. Despite his harsh words, she stepped closer and wrapped her arms around his waist.
Instinctively, his arms encircled her, and he rested his cheek on top of her head. Her light berry-scented shampoo smelled heavenly, and he breathed in deeply. His initial embrace was unforgiving, and he didn’t loosen his hold until Juliana made a small sound in her throat, and he realized he was hugging her too tightly.
She unfolded an arm from around his waist and ran her fingers through his hair, smoothing the chaotic spikes. Her touch was almost unbearably gentle, and her hug settled him more than he should allow.
Regret flashed inside him. He hated that Lisette’s kidnapping was the reason that had brought Juliana back into his life.
Alex cupped her face, and he looked deep into her sultry eyes and lost himself in their depths.
Sighing, he drew her closer still until her breath grazed his mouth. With growing insistency, his lips met hers, and he felt a matched hunger in her. The kiss deepened as control melted, and they abandoned themselves to the fever that had lain dormant for over a decade.
She stroked his back, her hands searing his skin through his shirt. Her breasts crushed provocatively against his chest, kindling a desire he raged against. The heady scent of her familiar floral fragrance created mayhem with his senses.
Not until his tongue slipped between her soft, luscious lips did her arms wrap around his neck, pulling his mouth harder onto hers. Her mouth tasted of mint and simply Juliana as his greedy tongue probed and battled hers. When his hands moved to cup her firm, rounded butt, reality whacked him.
What the hell was he doing?
Abruptly, he broke off the kiss and jerked out of her arms. The ties that once bound them were racing back with such velocity that his tightly-held control had slipped.
Uncertainty tinted her rosy cheeks.
“I’m sorry.” He stared at the posters on the wall, the files stacked on his desk, at the carpet, anywhere but at Juliana.
The energy between them proved volatile. He feared breaking the fragile bond if he moved, yet he needed distance from her.
As if she felt the same need, Juliana eased back and the air stirred around them, tension-laden. She bumped into his leather chair, caught the back with her hand. “I…it’s okay.” Her voice was thick, husky.
Silence loomed between them, and Alex experienced an intense desire to read her mind.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Set Sail for the Unknown and Escape Reality

When I set out to write my fantasy romance novel, WICKED PARADISE, I wanted to write a time-travel with a heroine from medieval times and a hero from the present-day. However, I didn’t want a contemporary or a historical setting like so many other time-travel novels. Somewhere unknown, exotic, and unique tugged at me.

For many authors, the setting of a story is a convenience. We set our stories in our hometown or a place we’ve visited because it’s familiar. Or we place our story in Hollywood because it’s about murder on a movie set. You can relate to these settings or you’ve read about them. These locales bring many expectations because they have history, a certain population, social and political values. However, I wanted my readers’ escape from reality to be absolute.

During the conception stage of WICKED PARADISE, I took a queue from a classic Eagles song, “Hotel California.” The lyrics: “this could be heaven or this could be hell” and “you can check-out anytime you like, but you can never leave” resonated with me. Instantly, the idea about an unchartered, inescapable island and the lost and desperate people who were destined to colonize it took flight. Most of all, I wanted my world to be the heaven they never wished to leave. First, I had to make it hell. What fun would heaven be without a trip through danger or hardship to reach that paradise?

Due to my small cast of characters, my unique setting had to become an empathetic character itself and cause havoc and mayhem on my heroine and hero as they searched for their happily ever after. Just like my human characters, my world had to be friendly, to create mood and influence behaviors. Weather, treacherous terrain and non-human inhabitants needed to test the mettle of both my island and characters, and also create opportunities for my heroine and hero to come together and explore their relationship naturally as they traveled toward a common goal. As my characters evolved and changed, so did my world. My island showed fear and relief. It sought comfort as well as gave it. It worked with my heroine and fought my villain. It endured and overcame external conflict and peril. My island became real to me as if I had walked upon it a million times. 

Click to go to Amazon There’s no lack of conflict, romance, suspense, adventure and mystery in mainstream fiction. Yet fantasy offers one distinctive element that is lacking in mainstream fiction: an imaginary setting. Many of you choose fantasy or science fiction because you want to escape everyday reality and be transported to a unique world. Are you ready to set sail to the complete unknown? Or do you prefer real urban, suburban or historical settings of our world?

Take a chance on a total escape for a couple of hours. Walk through my jungle, breathe its air, taste its food, experience a slice of heaven. Come to my wicked paradise, and you just may find you never want to leave.