A V Day Chat with Characters from Tami Lund’s Book

I know, I know, Valentine’s Day was yesterday. But considering this post is about Gavin Rowan from Of Love and Darkness, the first in my Twisted Fate series, I think you understand why it’s acceptable to post it on February 15th.

What’s that? You haven’t read Of Love and Darkness, so you have no idea what I’m talking about? You don’t know anything about Gavin, the cursed Light One, and Sydney, the Chala-who-has-no-idea she is one? Or how about William, the cross-dressing Fate who’s built like a linebacker?

No?

Well, what are you waiting for? Today through Friday it’s only 99 cents. Hurry and grab it!

In the meantime, here’s a typical Valentine’s Day in the Rowan household….

***

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“I suck at this Valentine’s shit.”

William glanced up from reading the newspaper on his iPad. Gavin Rowan, that incorrigible cursed Rakshasa shifter who happened to be in love with William’s Chala, towered over him, a scowl on his unshaven face, his pale blue eyes glaring at the Fate as if it were his fault the man was lousy at being romantic.

“You suck at a great many things,” William obligingly pointed out. He was stuck with the often surly shifter because Sydney loved him, but that didn’t mean he had to play nice. Besides, playing nice rarely worked for Gavin. He tended to speak one language: asshole.

“Not nearly as good as you do, I bet,” Gavin shot back, a typical derogatory comment about William’s preference for sharing his bed with men instead of women.

“I will never understand what Sydney sees in you.” William dropped his iPad onto his lap and brushed a bit of lint off the lacy lapel of his red wrap blouse. It was a recent find and his current favorite shirt. He’d been thrilled when he discovered they made it in his size. It was often a challenge to buy women’s clothing in sizes large enough to fit a six and a half foot tall, two hundred and sixty pound man built like a linebacker. And don’t even get him started on shoes.

“I think you understand quite well,” Gavin replied with a leer. “Now, help a guy out. What should I get her?”

“You to realize it’s four o’clock in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day, right?”

“Yeah, so hurry up about it. I haven’t even acknowledged the day yet. I’m sure she thinks I have some kind of surprise up my sleeve. So tell me what to do.”

William would like to tell the man to jump off the highest cliff he could find. But that would devastate Sydney, and William hated it when his Chala was upset. He sighed and said, “You seriously can’t think of anything? You have no idea what she wants, what she likes? Her favorite pastime? Her favorite restaurant?”

“I don’t want to take her out to dinner. Everybody does that. It’s boring. I want… something different. Better. Something she’ll remember, and tell all her friends about.”

“How does the asshole in you manage to live with that giant ego? Seems like they’d be fighting for dominance all the damn time.”

“You’re a funny Fate,” Gavin replied with a smirk that said William was anything but.

“Not nearly as funny as the comedians at the Comedy Castle.”

Gavin gave him a blank look and then shook his head. “Whatever, dude. You gonna help me or not?”

“I’m trying,” William grumbled. “She does like to laugh, you know.”

“So you think I should just tell her jokes all night?”

“You really are an idiot, you know that?”

“And you’re a fruitcake. We all have our burdens to bear. So about that Valentine’s Day idea?”

With a long-suffering sigh, William reached into the V on the neck of his blouse and pulled out an envelope. He offered it to Gavin, who looked at it as if it might bite him.

“Did you seriously just pull that out of your cleavage? What the fuck is wrong with you? And what is it, anyway?”

“Tickets, you dolt. To the comedy show. Seven o’clock seating. A lovely wine bar recently opened down the street from the comedy club. I think she’d like it.” He made a show of looking at his watch. “So I’d get a move on, if I were you.”

He watched realization dawn on Gavin’s face. If he weren’t such a repulsive creature, William might even go so far as to say it lightened his face, made him almost attractive.

Gavin snatched the envelope. “Sweet.” He bolted from the room without so much as a thank you, but William had expected no less. A moment later, Sydney stepped out from where she’d been hovering in the kitchen. Unlike her mate, her enthusiasm and appreciation was clear as day, as she pulled William to his feet and squeezed him until he couldn’t breathe.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, William. You’re a doll. I’m so excited for tonight.” She clapped her hands like a three-year-old.

“You’re welcome, but tell me, why didn’t you just tell him that’s what you wanted?”

Sydney’s pink rosebud lips thinned and she crossed her arms over her chest. “Gavin probably would have refused to do it, if I’d suggested it. You know how he likes to think it was his idea. And I knew he’d come to you, because he wouldn’t be able to think of anything. And whatever you suggested is what he’d do. This worked perfectly. Now, I have to go track him down so he can tell me about our plans, so I can get ready for my hot date. Thanks again, William. I owe you one.”

She trotted away, happy as a lark, and William was once again reminded of the complexity and convolution—and sheer genius—of the female mind.

***

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund writes quirky characters, often with a strong sense of humor. She’s a big fan of bad boys who really have a heart of gold, and unexpected secondary characters who sometimes have to bash the hero and heroine over the head to get them to realize they’re in love.

Sara Daniel Takes You on a Winter Getaway to the @WiccanHaus @SSaraDaniel

Let’s get this out of the way first: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Did I make you snarl? Roll your eyes? No worries. I have not one, not two, but THREE (YES, THREE!!) book boyfriends for you to cuddle up with tonight.

solace-for-the-psychic-soul-mid-winter-healingCarolyn Spear, Leigh Daley and I have teamed up to allow you to escape with your book boyfriends for some Mid-Winter Healing in our new Wiccan Haus anthology.

SOLACE FOR THE PSYCHIC SOUL by Sara Daniel
Dex Seer has spent his life on the wrong side of the law, working for anyone who will pay him enough to afford the medicine his sister needs to keep from going blind. But the medicine no longer exists. In desperation, he books a stay at the Wiccan Haus to heal his sister. With a sexy government spy following him through the portal, he stands to lose everything he’s spent his life protecting.

After too many years reading the evil, sadistic thoughts of her government’s enemies, Monica Smic is exhausted and cynical. Worse, her soul discovered its mate in a lawless bounty hunter, and staying away from him is destroying her from the inside out. When she passes out on the job, her boss forces her to take a week off at the Wiccan Haus to get her act together.

Despite their mutual distrust, the more time Dex and Monica spend in each other’s company, the more their battered souls find solace in the other’s. But Dex’s first loyalty is to his sister, and Monica’s is to her government. On the Winter Solstice, they will either heal each other or lose everything in winter’s fiercest storm.

ALINA’S LIGHT by Carolyn Spear
Alina Argal hopes to mix in a little pleasure when she visits her childhood friend Sarka Rowan at Wiccan Haus. She badly needs a boost to her battered ego following a humiliating breakup of her arranged engagement to Thad Yates ,the eldest son of one of the most powerful magical families. A little R and R at the lighthouse should help her get her feet back under her. The last person she expects to find sharing the small lightkeeper’s house with is Thad’s brother Sean.

Long the black sheep of the family for being born without magic, Sean Yates has always gone his own way. A former Army infantry officer, he now suffers a slight limp and PTSD. His one desire is to win Alina’s love now that his brother is out of the picture. But is he really?

Will Alina open herself to the one brother she needs and deserves or marry for duty?

LOVE’S MAGICK by Leigh Daley
Soren Feodor has never backed down from a challenge. But when his attempt to unlock a treasure fails miserably, his sole hope lies with Emma van Pelt, the only human who ever successfully resisted him. A trip to the Wiccan Haus could heal his body, but Emma knows nothing about the dangers of the magical work that lies before them.

When a chance encounter brought Emma face to face with the mages of the paranormal world, mysterious Soren tried and failed to make her forget it ever happened. Now she’s the only chance he has at revealing the powers of a legendary magical item, provided he will even let her try to help.

Can the two learn to work together and unravel the wards of the Tears of Therin, or will love’s magick be the death of them?

Available from:

      Kobo

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Sara Daniel’s Perfect Valentine’s Day Fudge @SSaraDaniel

Tomorrow is February, the month when romantics, conformists, and panicked spouses all converge on florists and chocolate shops. If you live in the northern two-thirds of the northern hemisphere, by all means, buy your loved one some flowers. (Nothing’s going to grow in my tundra of a front yard any time soon!) However, for a personal touch, step away from the candy aisle and pick up the kitchen spatula to make that special someone a pan of homemade fudge.

February Fudge

7 oz marshmallow creme
1½ cups sugar
⅔ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup butter
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine marshmallow creme, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes, still stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add both kinds of chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Pour in foil-lined 8X8 pan. Chill until firm, roughly 2 hours. Makes 2½ pounds.

From the basic recipe, you can add caramel, pecans, peanut butter and more, depending on your loved one’s preference. Using a cookie cookies, you can even cut the fudge into hearts or pour it into heart-shaped bread or muffin/cookie tins while it is still warm. Make your fudge as unique as you are to delight your significant other and infuse decadent sweetness into your love life.

Here’s a little from my fun release that shows how much I loved playing with the Brothers Grimm. Hope you like it.

Before Armina Keer can have the baby she dreams of, she needs her estranged husband Ian to sign their divorce papers. Putting everything on the line for a second chance, Ian must convince her their love is worth saving, and Armina must decide if love is worth sacrificing her dreams.

Ian Keer might not deserve a second chance with his wife, but he’s not going to give up one either, not with the immediate flaming attraction still between them. While her uncles’ antics wreak havoc on life at The Inn, he offers her the ultimate gamble: Spend the night with him, and afterwards he’ll sign the papers if she still wants to leave.

With everything riding on one night together, Ian must convince her that their love is strong enough the second time around, and Armina must decide if love is worth sacrificing her dreams.

“You hate me,” Ian whispered, feeling more nauseous than if he’d ingested a prosthetic eyeball. How could she not hate him when she believed their personal relationship had meant less to him than an employment issue?

Armina gazed beyond his left shoulder. “I don’t hate you. I’ve never hated you. When we got married, I understood you had a strong work ethic combined with an unusual drive to succeed and a consuming passion for the Inn. I knew I’d come in second to this place.”

He opened his mouth, wanting to argue, but couldn’t. If she’d made him choose, he wouldn’t have picked her.

I thought I was okay with it,” she continued. “After all, I loved the Inn, too, and wanted you to realize your vision for it. Turns out I wasn’t okay. I didn’t realize how distant second place actually was.” She shrugged her slim shoulders. “Live and learn, right?”

Not right. He wanted to take back the lesson and teach her about real love instead. “You never should have had to settle for second place. With me or with anyone else. No one has the right to ask that of you.”

“Agreed.” Her voice came out stronger, her shoulders squared, and she looked him directly in the eye. “Now you understand why I want a divorce.”

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Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

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Glitter, Hearts, and Zombies by Annie Anthony

If you’re like me, you’re looking forward to February 14 for the obvious reason: the mid-season premiere (WTF is that anyway, why were they on a mid-season hiatus!) of The Walking Dead. Wait… were you thinking Valentine’s Day? Yes, I do live the life of a glamourous romance writer, but since I’m single AF, most of the time that glamourous life resembles Joan Wilder from Romancing the Stone, but with an angry Chihuahua instead of a cat… So for me, I’ll be celebrating the day of chocolate, roses, and glittery hearts with, well, I hope some kick-ass killers of the undead. (Hmmm, perhaps this single AF thing is making more sense?)

I’m not only obsessed with TV zombies. I’m still tapping away at my lesbian zombie romance. The main character is just about to lead a small search party down a stairwell to find her roommate—who has left an ominous-sounding note and some boxes of ammunition behind. I’ve been trying to come up with all the awesome things that could happen on the stairwell—zombie granny, zombie rats, or just plain people with all their crazy-ass issues.

It occurs to me that one of the reasons why people love zombie stories so much is because the zombie genre allows us to face in brutally decisive terms some really tough reality.  If done well, the zombie story isn’t just about the scary undead. Zombie stories evoke huge human issues–right to life, self-determination, obligations of power, trust, hope, coping. Just thinking about who “deserves” to live and be part of a society is pretty consuming stuff, and let me tell you, I’ve already made some painful decisions about my characters.  (No spoilers here!)

Have you read any good zombie books? How about zombie stories with GLBTQ characters? If you try and search for “zombie” and “lesbian” let me tell you… the results are BAD. Worse than a single lesbian romance writer with an angry Chihuahua on Valentine’s Day bad.

If you’d rather think about love and squishy grown up  stuff than undead things this Valentine’s Day, check out Don’t Be Shy. This multi-volume anthology published by Ylva Publishing received a Rainbow Award honorable mention and Volume I includes my erotic short story, Slammin’ Sunday.

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Enjoy an excerpt from Slammin’ Sunday:

In college, I had a poetry instructor who fronted a band in the eighties that opened for hard-core metal acts. She was from North Dakota. Had run away at fourteen. Married at fifteen. Divorced at seventeen. At nineteen, after years of living in vans and singing in dives, she landed a deal with a small label. But road life never really paid the bills, and while she’d never intended to settle down, by forty, she had a job.

Trading in shredded jeans and midriff tees for pencil skirts and cashmere wraps, she accepted an assistant professorship at a land-grant state college. She paced the classroom as though it was her private greenroom, and she couldn’t wait for the show to start. I watched her closely, hoping to catch the moment when she stutter-stepped between the present and the past. I imagined her tossing down the syllabus, kicking off her shoes, and striding barefoot to the back of the class. In my mind, she turned the desks upside down, and screeched metal instead of spoken word poetry.

She taught us very little about poetry, believing that “writing is a gift of the soul which cannot be taught in workshops.” So instead of an academic analysis of verse and themes, Dennie—she preferred we call her by her first name—told us stories. She would sit on top of the desk, her eyes half closed as if the memories she fought were more real than the bodies and faces of the students in front of her. Her outstretched hands met loosely in front of her chest, as if reaching for a mic that was no longer there. Maybe not all of the undergrads in upper-division poetry spent the ninety-minute seminar fantasizing about her legs and her ass. But for an entire semester, while her words kaleidoscoped across our landlocked, windowless classroom I focused as much on the shape of her lips as her stories .

She didn’t just preach at us, though. She put us on the spot, believing in what she called “incidental genius.” A lot of students grumbled, but I never minded taking my turn. . Tingling after Dennie’s voice called my name, I felt as though she absolutely believed I could combine colors and textures and objects in a way that revealed my vulnerability, my fear, my hope. All in two minutes or less. I loved poetry, but my undeniable reactions to Dennie allowed me to embrace the growing awareness that I loved women.

… By the time I reached thirty, I still loved poetry, still loved women, but wasn’t much different than the student I’d been. Unfulfilled longing was my loveless partner. Bland people, tedious work, and uninspired meetings hadn’t been objectives on my resume, but poetry doesn’t pay back student loans. This creative writing student ended up in another nearly windowless building, working a corporate insurance job.

One afternoon, my boss asked if we could chat. He leaned his ass against my desk and moved so close I could smell the stink from his lunch on his breath. We discussed a problem with a bulk reserve for far longer than the issue deserved, and by the time he moved on to another victim, I literally needed some fresh air. I grabbed my key card and headed out for some coffee.

I wandered up to Café Q, an artsy little cafe that specialized in drip coffee, loose teas, and artisan pastries. Every table was taken, mostly by people in suits chatting on phones or tapping at laptops. Students sat on oversized floor pillows while a homeless guy pilfered napkins and honey packets from the self-serve bar.

I ordered a small decaf and checked the community board. A neon green flyer caught my attention. Slammin’Sundays. Café Q was pleased to host an inaugural Sunday morning poetry slam. All participating poets were given a free small beverage and would be entered into a drawing for a $50 Q’s gift card. Sunday mornings don’t have to suck… now they can slam!

Corny flyer, yes. But it had been a long time since I’d had a moment of “incidental genius,” or even just listened to a poet live. I folded the flyer in thirds and then in half again and slipped it into my wallet.

Buy Don’t Be Shy

Countdown begins to Valentine’s Day, my friends.  Have fun shopping for chocolate, heart-shaped odds and ends, and red and pink frillies. Me, my crossbow, and my Chihuahua will be ready…