novels

WIP Wednesday: The Fall Guide

For today’s WIP Wednesday, I have an excerpt from The Fall Guide for you. I started this story last year, had to set it aside for other projects, and happily finished it this year. The wonderful Ashley was my pre-reader for this, and she and I are both totally in love with how it turned out. Now I’m incorporating edits, and some of my editor’s comments are so funny and spot-on that I wish I didn’t have to delete them as I go through.

The Fall Guide will be available late this autumn, December 3rd. More to follow!

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    “Eric Caville is an established beauty blogger seeking to parlay his expertise and online renown to put out his own line of products. When he experiences failure to launch, a chance meeting with smooth producer Devon Talbot results in help from a most unexpected source. Devon is sexy, insightful, and treats Eric better than his own boyfriend. Eric has difficult choices ahead of him in terms of going back to the drawing board with his business, his love life, and whether either will see him through to next season. Along the way, he has to tackle his pride and overcome past associations before they hold him back from reaching out for what he wants the most.”

Excerpt:

Eric napped through the flight and woke with Vegas on his left, the Strip gleaming like a string of tacky jewels. He used a small hand mirror from his handbag to check his appearance, reapplying gloss. He was in Vegas for business, after all, and his business was cosmetics and beauty supplies—or he hoped it would be. He had to appear immaculate everywhere, because that day’s casual encounter could be tomorrow’s customer.

The airport was every bit as packed as LAX had been, but at least Eric was able to secure a luggage trolley without resorting to murder or felony. He stacked his roller cases on it and found a cab. The price of the convention’s hotel, the M resort, would cut deeply enough into his wallet that he’d considered taking the shuttle, but he’d discovered there was a baggage limit for that option.

People tended to think of Vegas as glitz and glam, a perfect storm of drinks, gambling, and excess, but the place did good business as well. On any given weekend, Vegas, like L.A., could be found hosting conventions. The atmosphere encouraged deals over swank dinners with plenty of liquor, and while Eric wasn’t holding out much hope for that, he knew he could end up with some good exposure.

Beauty Expo 2012 was one of the events where brand-names and independent products gathered together with plenty of blogger and press coverage, and Eric had managed to dredge up the money to purchase his own table. He’d been running his own successful blog, the man-icure.com, for years and it was his dream to parlay an online reputation into a real-life line of beauty products.

Where most men his age were donning suits and muscling their way up to the board room, Eric had always been more interested in doing a snappy deconstruction of Oscar de la Renta’s latest men’s wear line and keeping his hair, face, and nails on the cutting edge of trends. He’d done his share of starting a few over the course of the lifetime of a blog that had started out on Blogger during his college years, and graduated to his own domain name with the help of a web-savvy friend.

Now he posted daily updates from his tablet and smart phone, sometimes after uploading sneak peeks from his phone cam. A lot had changed, but Eric’s passion for all things fashion had only deepened through the years.

André had advised him many times to try for a journalist position at a major fashion magazine, but Eric knew what was involved to get in the door. It was basically years of indentured servitude.

He wanted to be his own boss, and it was icing on the label cake if he could look good doing so.

Eric leaned toward the window and snapped a few photos with his phone as the cab drove along the Strip. Even in the daylight, before the lights cast their gaudy signals against the velvety black backdrop after dark, the sight of it was striking.

He sent a quick post to his blog, a teaser of things to come as well as an injunction to enjoy happy hour in a cheeky nod to André.

That night would be check-in, a networking event, and he’d definitely be getting together with other bloggers over some drinks. In a way it was a good thing Martine hadn’t come with him, because Eric had to stay focused, get to bed at a decent hour, and make sure he was awake early enough in order to get his table in order before the ballroom opened.

He’d invited Martine, as he supposed all good boyfriends ought to when spending a weekend out of town, especially when headed to a place like Vegas. When Martine had declined, citing work as well as a lack of vacation time, Eric hadn’t been overly surprised, but he had realized most people in a good relationship probably wouldn’t feel relieved.

André was probably right, but Eric had been nurturing the relationship along for eight months. He owed it one more chance.

Eric gave a firm nod, praising his own fortitude as the cab pulled to a stop in a wide circular front drive. He counted out a cash tip and held onto it until after all his cases were safely delivered along with him near the front desk of the hotel.

Check-in was not the breezy process that brochures or movies promised, but an interminable line that had Eric shifting from one foot to the other and constantly checking his phone in an attempt to keep himself distracted. The smoke filtering from the casino floor was beginning to give him a headache, and he was long past ready to have a drink in hand.

A bellhop piled all his cases onto a trolley, at least, and that much was taken care of after he obtained his room key and signed the deposit for an amount that made him wince. It was an inner room without a view, even.

It would all be worth it, Eric consoled himself, once he had a martini in his hand and the money was rolling in from his product launch.

After tipping the bellhop and stripping his shoes off, Eric wandered barefoot around his tiny, windowless hotel room putting things to rights. First and most importantly, he went through an inventory check to make certain nothing had gotten damaged in transit. Next, he laid out his outfit for the networking meeting. When going to a meeting of bloggers, it was essential to be on point and looking his best.

At last, when he’d gone over the essentials and made sure he knew where to check in for the expo, he gazed at his phone and considered calling Martine to let him know he’d arrived safely.

Eric chickened out and sent a text before going to freshen up.

By the time he was done with his grooming routine and returned to his phone in preparation to leave the room and orient himself to the hotel, he had eight texts. Most of them were from his blogger friends, confirming the time and date of their meet-up or letting Eric know they’d arrived at the hotel.

One of them was from Martine, and Eric checked it with a vague sense of dread. That emotion reminded him of the moments when a single message could give him belly flutters. There had been a time he’d looked forward to each and every text from Martine.

That he dreaded them instead didn’t mean the relationship was bad, only … comfortable. Perhaps they’d become too comfortable, and because Eric had noticed it, it was up to him to correct it.

He turned his attention to Martine’s text and his half-formed smile died on his lips.

Nice2knw have fun in Vegas drink hard fuck safe

For a moment, Eric wanted to snap off a return text demanding if Martine had gotten the wrong number and thought he was one of his bros, or if there had been some way he’d interpreted “I’m going to Vegas for a working weekend” as “I’m going to watch male strippers, snort coke off their six packs, and fuck my way from one end of the strip to the other.” He took a deep breath, reminded himself that tone didn’t come across properly in text, and rifled through his makeup kit to touch up his eyes and gloss before leaving the room.

That had earned Eric a night of flirting, at least, and he was going to enjoy it to the hilt.

WIP Wednesday: Klaxon at the Core

For today’s WIP Wednesday, I scrounged up a snippet of Klaxon at the Core, the sequel to Signal to Noise, so new I don’t have a blurb drafted up for it yet. So here’s one on the fly.

    “At the close of Signal to Noise, Bastian and Theo Kautzer were headed for Central on The Lighthammer for a new life, safe from the Armors that hunted them during the three years since their planet was overtaken by the Incursion. However, Central brings with it new challenges, and the Kautzers soon discover their trauma-honed instincts serve them well even though they thought they’d left their battles behind.”

Excerpt:

Without visuals, they had to find their destination on foot. They walked through the dormitory, and though Theo was alert for it, they weren’t the subject of any curious stares. He supposed that studied lack of curiosity was part of being a psionic. They were all special, in some way or another. And he and Bastian weren’t going to flaunt themselves by walking around hand in hand, anyhow. They had the right to be together, no one could stop them, but objectively they were both aware it was considered ‘weird’ and they ought to be discreet.

There was an entire telekinesis wing along one of the outlying walls of the Institute’s enormous compound. Bastian was complaining by the time they were halfway there along the silvery path that wound through the green grass and hedges.

“Suck it up,” Theo advised. “Dr. Rashad said it was ostentatious for psionics to jump everywhere.”

Bastian glowered. “Maybe I like ostentatious.”

“You sure do have a talent for the dramatic,” Theo teased, tugging on a lock of hair.

The front of the telekinesis wing was imposing, nearly three stories tall, and the door had a sign over it with a name that Theo recognized as one of the famous early telekinetics in history. He, along with other founding members of the Institute, had established psionic ability as science rather than myth.

“The Grant Ishida wing, huh?” Bastian said aloud, draping a hand on Theo’s shoulder. “There’s a bit of ancient history.”

“Probably more like a reminder,” Theo said. “Of where we came from, and how far.”

“Central’s a long way from Old Terra.”

Theo slanted him an annoyed look. “From levitating bobby pins and shifting crates.”

“Oh, right.”

Inside the building, they stood together in front of a directory before setting a course for Bahir Anwar’s office. There had been an astonishing array of options on the directory. Theo had never heard of micro-kinetics, and wondered if they would be tested at some point for that ability, too. Dr. Rashad had seemed keen to test them on all the psionic axes of power.

Their destination was one story up, and against the far wall of the building. It turned out to resemble an open gymnasium, skylights above letting in full sunlight, than the stuffy office either of them had been expecting. A man of medium height and darkly olive complexion rose to greet them. He had a ruggedly handsome face—Theo slanted an irritated glance at Bastian, because that was his twin’s observation—and close-cropped black hair.

What? I have eyes.

Theo ignored that. They had already reassured one another, on multiple levels, but it was different with other people around. He noticed Bastian noticing, and hoped they could leave it at that.

“Welcome to the Institute, I’m Bahir,” he introduced himself, inclining his body but not offering his hand, the way all psionics they’d met so far had done. Theo could understand; he’d never enjoyed physical contact from anyone but his family, or Bastian, who had always been part of his personal space.

“Theo.”

“Bastian.”

“Yes, I’ve been expecting you.” Bahir rubbed his hands together briskly, and gestured to the wide-open space to their left. “Shall we begin?”

The floor space was covered in mats, and there was a great deal of equipment against one wall, a few machines, what looked like a workout bench, a number of terminal display banks, and what appeared to be crates, boxes, and various weighted items labeled with numbers.

“I’ve heard that you shifted a great deal of hydronium the other day,” Bahir began. “Any idea how much?”

Theo shrugged. “Sixty pallets?” He glanced to Bastian, who quirked a brow and corrected, “Seventy-five.”

Bahir nodded and he stepped up to a terminal display, pulling up a program, fingers dancing nimbly over the surface. “Quite a payload.” He gave a low, impressed whistle. “That’s several tons. I hope you ate a good meal afterward.”

“We ate like pigs for dinner,” Bastian said happily. “It was amazing. I can’t remember the last time we got so stuffed.”

A brief smile flickered over Bahir’s mouth. “Yes, that’s the only way to avoid kinetic debt.”

“Right, that’s when you use more energy than you replenish, right?” Theo asked shrewdly. “We did a lot of research after we teleported for the first time.”

“Was teleportation your first kinetic action?”

Bastian shook his head. “No, we’d done other things, little things, without even really noticing before then. Our parents sure did, though.” He sidled closer to Theo with a brief, woebegone look.

Theo folded his arms. “We’d shifted some small stuff,” he replied. “We call it ‘pulling.’ When we lift something, you know, but don’t port it.”

Bahir nodded. He picked up two thin silver bands that resembled circlets, and offered them up. “These are biometric monitors,” he said, holding one and donning the other. It circled his head from forehead over temples and around the back of his skull. “I’d like for each of you to wear one, and go through a number of tasks, after which we can have a lunch delivered from the refectory and I’ll answer any questions you like.” He pulled the circlet from his head.

Theo shrugged.

“Sure,” Bastian chirped.

Theo wrinkled his nose and put his hand out for one of the circlets. He fitted his on first, and kept a watchful eye on Bastian when his twin donned the other.

Two side by side vitals appeared on one of the displays, and Bahir moved to bring up more information.

“Theo, if you could press your thumb here?” Bahir requested, and Theo complied. His name appeared in green over the green vitals.

Bahir turned to Bastian, who did the same for the blue vitals.

“Good strong brain activity,” Bahir commended. “Shall we begin?”

Intent vs Actual

My intent was to launch Topical Tuesday, but alas, I am fresh out of topic, and I used up the last of my willpower making myself exercise in 85-degree (F) weather. Instead, I bring you the Tuesday Update as slaved over by Less Than Three Press.

appetitecover

It’s here, it’s big enough to use as a bludgeon, and it’s absolutely beautiful. My four author copies came in a box the same size as the motorcycle boots I got for my birthday.

In short: Appetite is now available, both as an ebook compilation and as a gorgeous trade paperback. Pick up your copy now! I’ll be running a giveaway soon out of sheer delight.

Also, Surfeit for the Senses has netted its second blog review from Serena Yates at Rainbow Book Reviews, bestowing four stars and pleading very nicely for a “fourth” installment in the trilogy.

Serena says, “If you like stories full of professional cooking and food detail, challenges and successes, if you enjoy romantic tension interweaves nicely and seamlessly with an interesting plot, and if you’re looking for a read that will make you as hungry as it will make you want to see these guys finally acknowledge the full depth of their feelings for each other, then you will probably like this novel.”

As an added incentive – pick up any or all of the Appetite books through Less Than Three Press and through Wednesday, you can use code “d975c3d606” for 35% off, because they are awesome like that.

Now, alas, I have to scrape together my remaining willpower because the hallway is full of boxes that need to be broken down and hauled out to recycling, and despite my best efforts, I have not been able to train the cat to do it for me. See you on WIP Wednesday!

Tour de Foodie finale: The Hero’s Journey

Good morning, check out Megan Derr’s journal for The Hero’s Journey: Appetite from Beginning to End for the final stop on the tour, and reflection on the storytelling arc and what goes into it. It’s been a long road, but the last hurdles are to hand–and the ultimate rewards!

You can comment on the entry to get a final chance to win Surfeit for the Senses. Later today, I’ll be opening one final giveaway for A Cut Above the Rest to tempt your senses if you’re new to the series.

Although I go to restaurants for the amazing food that I could never, or would never cook, sometimes it’s the simple things we make at home that are so satisfying. And that goes for a tasty homemade breakfast, for sure. Here’s the poached egg over cheesy garlic grits with a side of smoked turkey kielbasa that I’m making for my lady for her birthday today:

Tour de Foodie: Five Tricks to Fine Dining’s (Sinfully) Delicious Food

Guten Abend, check out World of Diversity Fiction for my guest post, Five Tricks to Fine Dining’s (Sinfully) Delicious Food to learn what goes into the magic that makes everything taste too, too good. And glean some little tips for how to keep things on the lighter side, if you’re so inclined. Our skinny chefs don’t need to worry about that sort of thing, but most of us can’t eat a day’s worth of calories in one meal. Well. Can. But shouldn’t.

Also, please do comment on that entry, and you can score an additional chance to win Surfeit for the Senses. You can also sign up for my giveaway on my blog here, and The Competitive Edge giveaway too! With one more to go, if you’re new to the series you can net them ALL.

I would be remiss, covering a week of tempting and totally favorite foods, if I didn’t cover one of my guilty pleasures. Deep dish pizza, the way they can only make it in Chicago.

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The Competitive Edge giveaway

Good morning! To celebrate the release week for Surfeit for the Senses (and my upcoming birthday!) here’s a giveaway for one of the previous books of the Appetite series, in case you missed it, or you’re new to the series.

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This is Volume 2 of the Appetite series. Read a bit more about it here.

The Giveaway:
To celebrate the release, I’m offering an e-book copy of The Competitive Edge to one lucky winner, chosen by random numbers selected by random.org from the comments of this entry. This is the e-book version, and I will send a copy in your preferred format; epub, HTML, mobi, PDF.

To enter, drop a comment (you MUST include an email or means of contact or I cannot count your entry). If you enter your email as part of submitting the comment, that counts. Comment between now and next Sunday, July 28th. Winners will be chosen Monday morning.

That’s it!

If you’d like additional chances to enter and increase your chances of winning, you may do the following:

– Promote/share any of my Facebook posts mentioning Surfeit’s release and link me to it in a comment here.
– Post a comment on my/your Facebook about the novel and link me to it in a comment here.
– Promote/share my Tumblr post promoting Appetite’s release and link me to it in a comment here.
– Retweet my author tweet on Twitter regarding the release and link me to it in a comment here.
– Become a fan on Goodreads and let me know in a comment here.
– Leave a comment or make a post promoting the novel on your own social venue (any and all – WordPress, LJ, DW, blogspot, just link me so I can verify)

Basically, spread the word in any possible fashion and you can get an additional chance to win your own ebook copy of The Competitive Edge!

Thanks for reading, and good luck with the giveaway. (And hey, if you’ve already pre-ordered, enter anyhow! You can always give a copy to a friend. ^_~)

The blog tour continues later today at It’s Raining Men, so join me for exclusive content, and more chances to win!

Tour de Foodie: Author Interview

Good morning! Check out Romance Lives Forever for my guest post, Interview @TalyaAndor for what rating I give Surfeit for the Senses, my work ethic and how I cope with stress as an author, who would play me in a movie, and more! Don’t forget to comment on the entry for an additional chance to win an ebook copy of Surfeit.

You can also comment to win on my giveaway here, and check back tonight for a chance to win a copy of The Competitive Edge!

Now I’ll lead out with a pic of one of my favorite summer dishes, zaru soba. Hope you enjoy today’s stop on the Tour de Foodie, and bon Appetite!

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It’s Appetite week!

Giveaways! Blog tour! Sales! Upcoming print release! Everything is coming up Appetite!

First and foremost, do not miss this week’s blog tour for Surfeit for the Senses. Every day, you can read more about the story, the characters, what went into the world building or research, and enter a new chance to win an ebook copy of Surfeit at each stop on the blog tour.

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The final Tour de Foodie is the biggest and best yet!

This week’s tour:

Themes of Progression at Cole Riann’s Armchair Reader
Author interview at Romance Lives Forever
What’s in a Name? The Restaurants of Appetite at It’s Raining Men
Five Tricks to Fine Dining’s (Sinfully) Delicious Food at Sean Norris’s World of Diversity Fiction
The Hero’s Journey: Appetite from Beginning to End at Megan Derr’s blog

If you’ve been waiting to sate your Appetite, wait no longer!

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This week is a fantastic deal, with all three volumes at 20% off to celebrate the final course’s release! (I’m also pretending it’s for my birthday. :D) All three books are currently marked at 20% off through Less Than Three Press, so take advantage of the deal that goes through July 28th and make your collection complete. Please note, Surfeit for the Senses will not be available for download until the evening of Tuesday July 23rd.

Have you been waiting for the print compilation of Appetite? Have I got a teaser for you!

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Isn’t it glorious?? Here’s your sneak peek. This is both cover and spine. It’s off to the printer’s soon, and the next you’ll hear of it, you’ll be able to get your hot little hands on a trade paperback copy.

Check back with my blog this evening for giveaways! In honor of Surfeit‘s release, I will be offering chances at each of the ebook copies of Appetite to complete your collection, or get it started.

Appetite series now on sale

It’s my pride and honor to announce not only is Surfeit for the Senses coming out next week, completing the Appetite series to date, but all three novels are on sale!

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Less Than Three Press is celebrating next week’s release of Book 3 (the last in the series) of the Appetite series by Talya Andor (that’s me) by offering all three books for 20% off! (Note that book 3, Surfeit for the Senses is preorder-only at until 07/24.) The sale price is available all this week and next, so get your copies of A Cut Above the Rest, The Competitive Edge, and Surfeit for the Senses by July 28!

So what are you waiting for? Pick up your copies now, and save big time.

Also in the works: next week is the final Tour de Foodie to celebrate Surfeit for the Senses‘ release. What do YOU want to hear about Alex and Nik that you haven’t learned already? What cooking secrets would you like to learn, or recipes would you like to see?

2013 Rainbow Awards update – and Appetite reviews!

News on the 2013 Rainbow Awards, and Joyfully Jay has reviewed the first two books of the Appetite series!

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First up, care to head over to the Rainbow Awards poll and vote for this lovely cover? Aisha did a great job so I’m really happy the cover itself is up for consideration. You can vote for as many covers as you like, and there’s a post that links all the book covers for you to give your consideration.

Joyfully Jay has reviewed A Cut Above the Rest as “a sweet and endearing story,” and recommends it. Today, The Competitive Edge was reviewed as an “all around good story,” and highly recommended. Click the book titles to see Crissy’s reviews. Fantastic note to start a Friday!

Today we’re off to enjoy two walking tours of Vancouver B.C., and family time in between. Have a great day, everyone!