I’m over at Word Whores today, discussing my picks for the most memorable books I read in 2015, along with an honorable mention.
This excerpt is especially special because it contains the phrase “whiskey dick,” which Megan Hart called out as entirely my fault that it appears in her story. In fact, it appears in all six stories.
Which is… well, fair enough. *How* did this happen?? Because of my smart-ass, riffing ways.
See, I learned the term from P!nk (as one does). In her song Blow Me (One Last Kiss), she has this line:
No more sick whiskey dick, no more battles for me
I asked on Twitter if it meant what I thought it meant and people assured me that, yes, it mainly refers to when a guy can’t get it up as a result of overindulging. (Though I understand that Cindy Eden used it a bit differently!)
As I was writing, the phrase popped into my head. Unusual for me when writing a fantasy story, and yet it fit the gritty, noir feel we were going for. Because it was fun for me to have a group to talk to while I was writing my story – we have a private Facebook group, for kitten-herding- I announced that I’d used this phrase. Then I threw out the semi-serious gauntlet, challenging them all to use “whiskey dick” in their stories.
To my surprise – they did!
Can’t wait to read everyone’s and find this little Easter egg.
So you can read the excerpt from mine over at Here Be Magic today and I thought I’d share excerpts from the others all this week here. Let’s start with Rachel Caine‘s!
The overall blurb:
Six award-winning authors bring you this spellbinding collection of stories about dark desires, mysterious worlds, and danger that lurks in the shadows of the night. Where nothing is black and white; where things might not be as they seem; where magic and mayhem rule.
MARION, MISSING by Rachel Caine
Valentine is a detective with two major problems: he’s been offered a kidnapping case that will probably get him killed, and his partner won’t let him turn it down. He owes her that much … since his partner’s a ghost, and he’s the one who killed her. A dark, haunting noir mystery of love, hate and loss.
“Tell you what,” he said. “I can’t give you any guarantees I can make much progress. I’ll take twenty as a retainer. We’ll settle up once I report back.”
“We don’t want no favors, young man,” Carlyle said. He looked like what he was—an upright, dignified man in the last quarter of his life. A man who’d probably never taken a dime he didn’t earn by the sweat of his brow. A man who’d never bought on credit. A church-going voter who pulled the lever every election, faithfully, even when others lost that faith.
Val looked at pulling the lever like playing a broken slot machine. But he wasn’t Carlyle. Not even close.
“It isn’t a favor,” he said. “I work for a living. Tilde would have told you that.”
Carlyle frowned, but he nodded and passed over the bill. Val wrote him out a receipt on a corner of his notepad, tore it off, and passed it over. “Sorry. All the receipt pads are packed up.”
“This’ll do. We trust you.”
Carlyle stood up. Mrs. Carlyle—he’d never heard either of their first names, and likely they hardly ever used them anyway—stayed seated with her knees primly together, and her purse on her lap like a dog that might run away. She stared right at Val’s face and said, “You believe in spirits, Mr. Valentine?”
Tilde’s whispering laugh came to him from the file room. “Liar.”
“I do,” she said. “I believe my niece wants you to find our little Marion. You find her. For Tilde.”
He stood up and offered his hand to her. He meant to help her up, but she shook it, firm as a man, before she got up all on her own, took her husband’s arm, and walked out.
The door closed softly behind them, and the closed blinds swayed. He went and locked it, after. No sense letting more trouble come in.
Barn door, and the horse already bolted, he thought, and before he could turn, he knew she was there. He smelled that light, floral perfume again.
This time, he felt a cold hand stroke gently over the back of his neck. He didn’t turn. He was afraid that if he did, he might see the wrong Tilde. The one from his nightmares.
“Thanks,” she whispered in his ear, and then she was gone.
Add DARK SECRETS to your TBR!
We are now on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26135577-dark-secrets-a-paranormal-noir-anthology
I’m over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe, talking about the characters in Heart’s Blood, my Goose Girl retelling in DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY.
If you haven’t seen it yet, the USA Today HEA Sci-Fi Encounters Blog has a great write up on Fantasy Romance, with terrific insights from the leading writers of the genre – including me, wow! – along with selections from their TBR (to be read) lists.
Also, Going Under tied for Honorable Mention (3rd Place) for Best Book of 2014 at the Love Romances Cafe! This is a readers’ Yahoo loop, so I don’t *think* there’s any way for me to link to it. That came as a total surprise – a thrilling one!
One of the most fun parts of being a writer – particularly in the romance community – is sharing the love with other authors. I’ve been so privileged in the last year to have developed even more friendships with writers who are writing similar stories and even reading mine. We get to have the great pleasure of talking about each others’ work with sincere enthusiasm. Two authors who I’ve been reading and loving – and who’ve been really great about suggesting my books to their readers – are Grace Draven and Jennifer Estep. Really fabulous ladies.
and the possibilities for collaboration go up.
For example, I’m participating in an anthology with five other amazing authors. We’re calling it DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY. It’s going to be SO delicious, people!! The participating authors are Rachel Caine, Cynthia Eden, Megan Hart, Suzanne Johnson and Mina Khan. I’ve only read Megan Hart’s story – a chilling and sexy deal-with-the-devil tale – but I’ve read everyone’s blurbs. Really excited about this!
Through this anthology – and another weird, random connection – I’ve become quite chatty with Megan lately. Yesterday on IM she suggested an idea for a future project. Did I want to play? Yes, ma’am! I’m already percolating on that one. Her idea is terrific and I love being inspired that way. In a similar vein, I read and loved, loved, loved Rachel Caine’s PRINCE OF SHADOWS. Seriously amazing book. It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but from Benvolio’s point-of-view. Almost impossible to describe how super good it is. That said, Rachel doesn’t go for the smexy like I do, and I complained to her about the scene we did NOT get. (I don’t want to be spoilery, but if you’ve read it – and if you haven’t, you should! – you’ll know exactly what scene I mean.)
So she wrote it for me.
Ha! How awesome is that? Even better, I get to make it even hotter. I don’t know if she’ll share it publicly, but what a fun thing for me.
At any rate, this is kind of a rambly, gushy post, but that’s my mood today.
Sharing the love, people!
I’m busily preparing the online workshop I’ll be teaching that starts next week. It’s for Outreach International Romance Writers on Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation. Non-members can register here up through the 5th. (As far as *I* am concerned, you can sign-up anytime, but OIRWA might not feel the same way…)
If you want to know a bit more about WHY I think transformation is key and how sex plays into that, I wrote a post about it yesterday.
A couple of people have pinged me on social media asking if this class would be good for someone who hasn’t written much – or any – sex before. The answer is yes. In fact, I think you could write any heat level and this class would work for you – just be aware that conversation will be straightforward and explicit.
And also really interesting.
In other news, THIS happened right before Christmas and I didn’t get a chance to mention it here. THE TEARS OF THE ROSE got first Honorable Mention for the RT December Seal of Excellence. The list of other books up for consideration are not in alphabetical order, so that’s how I’m taking it. 🙂 They said:
I had been waiting for this second installment of Kennedy’s fabulous Twelve Kingdoms series since I turned the final page of The Mark of the Tala, our June SOE winner. While Andi, our previous heroine, always doubted her worth, the same could not be said for Princess Amelia. Ami was the beloved beautiful princess, the crown jewel of the Twelve Kingdoms. And when she married handsome prince Hugh of Avonlidgh, it seemed like she’d already found her happily ever after. But The Tears of the Rose tears Ami down — and rebuilds her. After Hugh’s shocking and sudden death, Ami is paralyzed with grief and without direction. Pregnant with Hugh’s child, she is torn between kingdoms, seeking — ultimately empty — gratification in the idea that she is the human avatar of the goddess Glorianna. The irresistible White Monk, Ash, shakes Ami out of this grandiose, false vision of herself. He helps her find the real Ami – not a goddess, not a pampered princess, but a person of conscience. Kennedy does a pitch-perfect job of not only charting Ami’s belated journey into adulthood, but of making her love for Ash emotional and believable.” — Regina Small
I know a lot of people (my editor, my agent, assorted members of my cheering section) were hoping this book would receive the Seal of Excellence as THE MARK OF THE TALA did, but I’m thrilled with this nod. I think it’s good for another author to experience the sweetness of being singled out this way, too.
Besides, being in the company of heavy hitters like Tiffany Reisz, Sarah MacLean and Eileen Dreyer is pretty damn awesome!
I was chatting on Twitter with Rachel Caine, whose PRINCE OF SHADOWS, is also an RT Book of the Year nominee. As one does. HEE! Seriously, she tweeted that she’d ordered THE MARK OF THE TALA and THE TEARS OF THE ROSE and was looking forward to reading them and I had a fangirl mini-meltdown. See, I picked up her first book, ILL WIND, back in 2003. For those keeping score at home, that was when my own first book – WYOMING TRUCKS, TRUE LOVE AND THE WEATHER CHANNEL – came out, which means I was solidly writing nonfiction then. It’s a serious kick to know SHE is reading MY books now. Also terrifying, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.
Anyway, she mentioned that she’s going to try to read all of the Book of the Year nominees, which I think is a really fun idea. I might try to do this, too. We should have a book club and discuss! Hmm…
At any rate, welcome to 2015 – the water seems to be just fine. Best wishes to everyone in the year ahead!