Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

One of my favorite Christmas songs done to perfection by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir - In the Bleak Midwinter. Have a safe and happy holiday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest Blog at The Rainbow Studio!

Talking about my contribution to Ellora's Cave's Naughty Nooner freebies! And there's a drawing for an AllRomanceEbook gift certificate! Check it out at

Have a fabulous day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winner of the Roses Day 8 Contest!

Christine (Chirth7@), come on down! You are the winner of a $15 gift certificate to AllRomanceEbooks! I'll contact you by email for your information! Congratulations and thank you for playing!

Thanks to everyone who answered. I hope all have a fabulous and safe holiday season! And keep checking out the Roses Colored Glasses December calendar for more articles and contests!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Music For the Writer's Soul: Marcia Ball

I first heard Marcia Ball in the mid-90s. One of her songs, Blue House, was on a compilation CD called Blues Women Today. I really enjoyed the song and started keeping an eye out for her albums.

Then along came Memphis in May. Every year, the first weekend in May rocks the Mississippi River with the Beale Street Music Festival. I don't remember exactly which year--maybe 1997--my little sister, my ex-sister-in-law and I did a last minute what the heck and headed to Memphis. The big reason for the trip was to see Kenny Wayne Shepperd, an up and coming artist from Louisiana. But guess who else was on the lineup?

Marcia Ball. I fell in love with her voice, her energy and her obvious joy in her music. Wikipedia quotes the Boston Globe in describing her music as "an irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp-rock and smoldering Texas blues from a contemporary storyteller." I couldn't describe it better.

The trip that year started my love of Memphis. You can't beat the food, the fun and the music. They don't claim to be the home of the blues for nothing. Many of my novels are set in Memphis because of my infatuation with the town. And some of Marcia's music is usually ringing in my ears while I write them.

Try listening to Play With Your Poodle and not tap your toes...

Rose's Colored Glasses December Calendar Day 7 contest: For a $10 iTunes or gift card, post in the comments an artist who has inspired you. Winner will be announced on Saturday, December 11th.

Winner of the LLAP Contest from Roses Colored Glasses Day 3!

Winner of the LLAP/Twitter contest on Day 3 is Michelle L! Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who played!

Michelle, I'll contact you by email for your choice of ebook from my backlist!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Contest Winners!

So many great entries from people thankful for wonderful things. Family, friends, safety of service members--home and abroad, pets, Thanksgiving off--finally, having a job, kids leaving the nest, waking up each morning, health, happiness and a Kindle (I can relate! *cackle*).

Wonderful entries! But you really want to know who won, right? So here goes. I'm thankful for for taking the choice out of my hands.

The prizes were:


Grand Prize: $25 gift card to or Barnes and Noble.

2nd Prize: Signed print copy of
Joey W. Hill's Rough Canvas
(hot m/m BDSM)
3rd Prize: Signed print copies of
(The complete Eternity Series)
Bonus Drawings: Winner's choice of one of my ebooks.
And the winners are:

Grand Prize: $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card - Brandy W.
2nd Prize: Joey W. Hill's Rough Canvas - Jean P.
3rd Prize: Shayla Kersten's Eternity series in print - Brandi M. R.
Bonus prize #1: Choice of one of my ebooks - Tara W.
Bonus prize #2: Choice of one of my ebooks -Perpetua

Congratulations, everyone! I'll email you for details of where and what to send!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing my fellow Americans a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving! To everyone else, I hope you have a happy, healthy and safe Thursday!

I'm off to Momma's for family time with her, the siblings and nieces.

Don't forget to enter my Thanksgiving contest for a chance to win a $25 gift card. Details on my contest page at:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkeys, Thanksgiving and a Contest!

This time of is always hectic and it's even more so since I went back to work full time. As crazy as things get, I think about the things I'm thankful for.

1. As always, I'm thankful for my family. Too many people dread the holidays because of the stress of family gatherings. My mother and younger siblings, my nieces and niece-in-law, are fun and I enjoy being around them, spending time together. They make the holidays something to look forward to and not dread and I'm very thankful for that!

2. Writing. Although the return to full time work has severely cut into my writing time, I'm still thankful for my only creative outlet as well as the readers who honor me by reading my books. I'm also thankful that a lot of those readers like my books. *cackle*

3. The evil day job. Unfortunately a necessary evil. I'm thankful for my staff making the transition smooth and relatively painless. I'm grateful my Evil Boss hasn't been that evil. And I'm really thankful for the full-time paycheck and benefits!

So on to the contest...

Thanksgiving Contest!

Go to my contest page at Find the turkeys on my website. Tell me which pages you found the turkeys and what you're thankful for!

(Hint: There will be three turkeys.)

All responses will be entered in a random drawing for the prizes. Contest will run from Monday, November 22 to midnight US CDT Sunday, November 28.

Bonus drawing #1: Post the link to my contest page on your favorite social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Paste your link in the form with your answers from above.

Bonus drawing #2: Stop by the Literary Nymphs Thanksgiving Day M/M Only Weekend Chat and give me a shout out! Put my name in the subject so I find the entries.
Everyone is allowed to enter all three drawings.

Because of gift card terms of use, the grand prize is limited to US residents. All other prizes have no geographical restriction.


Grand Prize: $25 gift card to or Barnes and Noble.

2nd Prize: Signed print copy of
Joey W. Hill's Rough Canvas
(hot m/m BDSM)
3rd Prize: Signed print copies of
(The complete Eternity Series)
Bonus Drawings: Winner's choice of one of my ebooks.
Winners will be notified via the email provided on the contest entry. They will also be announced on Monday, November 29th, on my blog.

Good luck!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time Flies!

But I'm not sure it's because I'm having fun... *cackle* I just noticed I hadn't blogged in two and a half weeks. No idea where the time went. Working full time seems to have created a time warp of some kind.

However some of the time was really fun! High points of the last two and a half weeks...

My last post was about the release of RIVER OF NEED (TN Cop #4). So far, I've had some wonderful feedback from readers. Love that!

Big highlight! Wicked! The Broadway musical about the real story of the witches of Oz opened in Little Rock on November 3. My sister--who never wins stuff--won tickets to opening night and invited me to go with her. Freakin' awesome show!

The 1939 film The Wizard of Oz began airing on TV in the US before I was born and it seems I watched it every year from the cradle on. I'll never see the show in quite the same light again. The clip below is from the Tony Awards with the original Broadway cast and only shows a small part of the sheer awesome known as Wicked.

I finished and submitted my short free story to Ellora's Cave. Haven't heard anything from my editor yet. I hope it passes muster for the Naughty Nooners freebie series. It's a glimpse of ICING ON THE CAKE's Jeff and Ollie three months later tentatively titled ACQUIRED TASTE (Thanks for the title, Debbie! *cackle*)

I started a new story on November 1st as yet another attempt at the annual writer phenomenon, NaNoWriMo. NoNo is an attempt to write 50k word novel in a month. Considering today is the 13th and I'm barely 4k into the story, I'm guessing I won't make it again this year. Work has me drained in the evenings and my weekends have not gone as planned. But hey, I started a new story! This one has a BDSM theme and the idea is begging to get out. I have to make time to let it. The book is tentatively titled AFTER HOURS.

Oh, and I had an offer on another short story--my lesbian vampire one. I'll wait to go into details until the contract is signed.

So a lot of good things going on. I just wish they'd figure out how to come up with 36 hour days!

Most of today has been dedicated to resting. Guilt plagues me when I do this but sometimes it's necessary. I've been on the go and out of the house every day except one for the last three months. Hard to believe I've been back at the full time EDJ that long already. Things are going better than expected there. Me being the pessimist I am, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. LOL Kind of like I keep waiting for someone to tell me my publishing career is all a joke. *cackle*

Hope life is treating you kinder!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Release: RIVER OF NEED, TN Cop #4

Woo hoo! I love new release days! Too bad the evil day job beckons and I can't stay home to play on the interwebz. *slight pout* But even the EDJ can't get me down completely 'cause it's new release day!

Copyright © SHAYLA KERSTEN, 2010
Book four, Tennessee Cops
Ellora's Cave


Two years after their breakup, Detective Kyle Shelton didn’t expect to see his lying, cheating, closeted ex. Especially not behind bars for prostitution. Bailing him out is one of the stupidest things Kyle has done in a while. Although letting his ex back in his bed probably ranks higher on the dumbass scale.

Dustin Eldridge’s lying about his sexual preferences has left him with nothing. Literally. He’s lost his home, his family, his job and, worse, he’s lost Kyle. On the streets, with no one to turn to, he’s resorted to selling his body to survive. Then Kyle—of all people—comes to his rescue. Dustin can’t fix the past but maybe there’s hope for a future.

Unless Kyle really believes Dustin added serial killer to his resume along with hooker.

Note: For maximum reader enjoyment, we suggest also reading Hidden Force (Tony and Ryan) and Hidden Hands (David March) where these secondary characters were heroes.



Bleary-eyed from too little sleep and too many case files read, Detective Kyle Shelton looked for the source of the familiar voice. “Ryan.” He waved a hand in acknowledgement as Ryan Nilsson moved across the squad room.

Maybe the vice squad had picked up some information on the string of murders haunting the city. The humid heat of Memphis made the murder rate rise in the summer. Some people called it the killing season. The homicide division certainly stayed busy.

Ryan stopped near Kyle’s desk. “Tony said you’d probably still be here.” Homicide detective Tony Costa was Ryan’s lover and he was leading the Cross-Eyed Killer investigation.

Stupid name for a serial killer, but the press had a field day when a witness had spilled the beans on the killer’s signature—crosses painted in blood over the victim’s eyelids. Kind of like absolution or last rites.

Kyle glanced down at the files spread out over his desk. “Yeah. I keep thinking I’ve missed something. There has to be a connection somewhere between victims. They appear random, but something has to set off the killer.”

Two men, one twenty-two and one fifty; a woman in her thirties and an eighteen-year-old boy. No evidence of anything sexual, none of the victims apparently knew each other.

Not the same religion even though the killer’s signature appeared to have religious connotations. Only common factor was the location—near Union and Vance and from Third to the river—and the killer’s signature. They couldn’t rule out copycat killers either.

Kyle looked up. “Got something for me?”

“Not about the murders.” Ryan’s frown and the furtive way his gaze darted around the room made Kyle think this conversation needed a little privacy. “Got a minute?”

“Sure. Come on.” Kyle pushed away from his desk. Leading the way, he headed toward an empty interrogation room. He ducked into the observation side so no one could eavesdrop. With the door closed behind them, he leaned against the wall. “What’s up?”

“Dustin Eldridge.”

Kyle’s breath caught in his throat but he forced air into his lungs as he faked nonchalance. His breakup with Dustin had been wrought with agony and repercussions. He hadn’t talked to him or even heard his name in nearly two years.

“What about him?” An ache started in the pit of his stomach. Please don’t let him be dead… As bad as the relationship ended, Kyle still had feelings for the asshole.

“He’s been arrested.”

Not dead. Shock mixed with relief. “For what?”


Kyle opened his mouth but nothing came out. His mouth snapped shut. After taking a deep breath, he tried again. Finally, the only thing he could think of popped out. “Are you sure it’s the same Dustin Eldridge?”

“Yes. Remember Tony and I hung out with you two a few times.”

“Right.” Of course he remembered, but his brain couldn’t conceive of his debonair, urbane lover being accused of hooking. “Any basis to the charges?”

Ryan grimaced as he half shrugged. “He propositioned an undercover. Got him on tape.”

“Fuck.” With rubbery knees, Kyle moved to the nearest chair. Dustin always did have that effect on him. Too bad he was… “Wait. Man or woman?”


“He propositioned a man or woman?”

"Man.” Ryan’s brow crinkled in a half frown. “Why?”

Kyle had never told anyone the main reason for their breakup. “He was married. We broke up because he was married. Something he forgot to tell me.” And Dustin’s wife had caught them.

“Oh.” Ryan shook his head. “I would have never…”

“Yeah. Me either.” Kyle took a deep breath. “Well, thanks for telling me.”

“No problem. I didn’t want the name to surprise you on tomorrow’s blotter report.”

“I suppose his wife’ll have him out by tomorrow.”

“I don’t think so.” Ryan’s hesitant tone made Kyle look up at his friend. “I’m guessing they aren’t together anymore. He listed his address as none and he looks like he’s been living on the streets.”

A sudden swell of emotion nearly brought Kyle to his feet, but he forced his body to stay put. He didn’t want Ryan to notice how his words affected him.

In his dreams, Kyle wanted Dustin free of his wife, even wanted him back. But being with someone closeted and on the down low was not something Kyle could live with. Ever.

“When’s his bail hearing?”

“First offense—no hearing. He’ll be released as soon as he can cough up the standard bail. But if you get him out, I doubt you’ll ever see him again. Or the bail money.” Guess Ryan wasn’t fooled.

Ryan was probably right, but Kyle couldn’t leave Dustin in jail. His mind rushed through a million scenarios—from happy reconciliation to Dustin skipping town—but he forced his thoughts to focus on the task of getting his ex-lover out of jail.

“Thanks for letting me know.” Kyle took a deep breath. He didn’t know what to expect or how he’d react to seeing Dustin again, but he was about to find out.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

POSTPONED: Self-Editing Class Now Starts 11/7/10

Due to unforeseen conflicts, the class is postponed until 11/7/10!

Permission granted to forward
Self-Editing Workshop
Nov 7-13

Want to perk up the pace of your prose?

Don't know what to look for?

Contest judges getting you down?

Never learned the difference between POV and Show vs Tell?

Join two Roses of Roses Colored Glasses for the
Self-Editing Workshop

Your Instructors: Layla Chase and Shayla Kersten
This workshop will help make your writing shine! Through the use of checklists, lectures and writing exercises for each lesson, we give you tangible examples of what to look for and how to fix it. You'll get interactive assistance from freelance editor and award-winning authors, Layla Chase and Shayla Kersten.

Passive Vs Active voice, Power words & pumping up your sentences

Eliminating implied or unnecessary words

Gerunds, misplaced modifiers, dangling participles

Point Of View and Show Vs Tell

Grammar & Punctuation

Style and Voice

To enroll, send your $20 payment through Paypal from the workshop page on Deadline for enrollment is Oct 23rd. (early tomorrow is okay too)


"... even more than the wonderful tips and checklist and exercises, this workshop taught us how to discipline ourselves, which I love. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

"Just want to say thank you so much for all your insight and information ladies. I enjoyed the class and can definitely take the information and apply it to my writing. In fact, it's been useful already!"

"I wanted to express my appreciation for the time and assistance we have been given. I have learned so much and have so much to learn. Thanks heaps and I'll be doing this again!"

"I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for teaching the Self-Editing class on Rose's Colored Glasses. I took the class earlier this year and by applying what I learned to my manuscript, I managed to final in a RWA Chapter contest."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One Generation

What if we could raise one generation free of prejudice against anyone, for any reason?

I don't like to use my blog for political or religious issues, even social issues. My beliefs are mine. Your beliefs are yours. I live in a country where that's allowed. And I'm damn proud of the freedoms I grew up believing in.

However, this is a human issue. Children. Young adults. So precious to our future. So full of potential. Lives cut short before they've had a chance to see even the edges of what might be. Of how it will get better.

Anything that creates despair so profound that a child would want to end his life is wrong. Anything! I don't care if a child is gay, straight, bi, black, white or purple. Children are meant to be cherished. Not abused. Not even by their peers.

People scoff and say "well, children can be cruel".


Children learn their behavior from the adults in their lives. A baby is born innocent, free of all prejudices. The parents teach their children to be cruel, to be prejudiced, to look at others through their own distorted belief systems.

Those same adults are the ones telling children who are different that they will burn in hell because their interpretation of God is hate.

"God hates fags." The so-called preacher in Kansas who everyone claims to abhor is at least honest about his hate.

Any clergyman of any faith who gets in his pulpit and claims gays are less deserving of God's love is secretly wishing he could get away with the same bluntness. Or he might as well be.

Any politician who is against gays serving openly in the military or claims gays don't deserve the same rights the U.S. Constitution guarantees all citizens is secretly wishing he could throw out the same phrase. Or he might as well be.

American politics has become divided across religious lines in direct contradiction of our founders' belief in "separation of Church and state". No longer do our politicians talk about how they want to make life better for all Americans. They talk about how they love God and family values. Who's family values? They don't represent mine. Not if they exclude any American based on prejudice and hate.

My God created all of us, even the gay ones. My God made us the way we are in all our glory and all our differences. My God loves all of His creations.

Too many so-called Christians shout old Testament rhetoric as proof God hates fags. But my God sent his Son to announce a new way, a new path, one of faith, hope and love. If you don't believe in that kind of love, in the love Christ died for, then don't call yourself a Christian. Don't try to make people believe you are a moral person when your hateful words lead to the loss of a child's life.

Any person who preaches the idea of gays being somehow "less" than straight people is contributing to the rash of suicides among our young. Your young. You never know if the children you tuck in at night are learning to hate those you hate. Including themselves.

What if we could raise one generation free of prejudice against anyone, for any reason? That would truly be paradise on earth.

Wear purple on October 20, 2010, to show your support of our children. All of them, gay, straight, bi, black, white or purple.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Report Card: The Multi-Week Version

funny pictures-Ai forgetz..    Waz ai goin up or down?

Well, seems I've been a little remiss in posting my weekly progress. Okay, a lot remiss!

So many things, so little time. The evil day job, a trip to Ohio and a request for chapters has made the last couple of weeks interesting. Interesting doesn't necessarily mean good. *cackle*

My last posted goals on September 26 were:

1) Work on Beloved (lesbian vampire).
2) Self-edits on Naughty Nooner.

I finished the lesbian vamp story on October 3rd. It's in the hands of my critique partner. I didn't get around to the Naughty Nooner. The evil day job is at its worst the first week of the month and I had off on the 7th and 8th for Romanticon!

Oh, and speaking of Romanticon! What a blast! The weekend was fabulous. Saw a lot of people I only knew online. Spent time with galpal Delilah Devlin. Ate too much. Ogled hot male cover models--who were so young they made me feel like a dirty old woman! *cackle*

I only had my cellphone camera so I didn't get any really great pictures. However, Delilah and I had our picture made with the cover models. See what I mean about hot! And young!

Very hot. Very young! *cackle* And very sweet.

Oh, I forgot the request for chapters! Wednesday night before leaving for RomantiCon, I received a request for chapters from one of my Harlequin proposals.

While thrilled at the request, I was also a bit freaked. I hadn't looked at the pages since I sent the query and synopsis. I knew I had changed the synopsis around some. I thought I had changed the pages. Ooops! I wouldn't have sent the chapters on Wednesday night anyway. I wanted at least a read through but I didn't expect to do revisions. Like a fool, I promised the editor the pages by October 18.

I transferred the pages to my Kindle for the flight to RomantiCon so I could read on the plane. I had a few tweaks here and there through chapter one. Then I realized the synopsis had a sex scene early in the story. Ooops. The pages didn't. Okay. I could fix that. Easy enough. A spot in chapter two almost begged for a sex scene.

Then I hit chapter three. Uh, oh. This is where the focus of the synopsis switched and the pages didn't. While I managed some editing during down time at RomantiCon, I couldn't revise chapter three there. Too many distractions or just too tired.

The EDJ was hell when I got back. No one does the boss' job when she's away. I wrote very little during the week and yesterday was my RWA chapter meeting. So most of Saturday was shot. Although I hit Starbucks after the meeting and finished up the sex scene.

Today, I hit Starbucks early and by noon had chapter three worked out to my liking. I sent the pages to a few people to read. So far, I've received two back and tweaked the story accordingly. I'm still waiting on one but expect it any minute.

I don't get my hopes up too high with requests to see pages. I've been rejected before after sending in partials. But a little bit of hope niggles in the back of my mind and won't be silenced. I'll send the pages either later tonight or early in the morning and then the waiting game begins again.

And while patience is a virtue, no one ever accused me of being virtuous!

Goals for this week:

1) Finish self-edits on Naughty Nooner
2) Plot and write a synopsis for a new EC story (BDSM series)
3) If CP returns lesbian vamp story, finish and submit

Have a fabulous week!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Cover: RIVER OF NEED by Shayla Kersten

RIVER OF NEED not only has a release date--October 27--it has a cover! And what a hot one! The very talented artist Syneca combined hot and stark with the black and white cover of half-nekkid mens.

TN Cop, Book #4


Two years after their breakup, Detective Kyle Shelton didn’t expect to see his lying, cheating, closeted ex. Especially not behind bars for prostitution. Bailing him out is one of the stupidest things Kyle has done in a while. Although letting his ex back in his bed probably ranks higher on the dumbass scale.

Dustin Eldridge’s lying about his sexual preferences has left him with nothing. Literally. He’s lost his home, his family, his job and, worse, he’s lost Kyle. On the streets, with no one to turn to, he’s resorted to selling his body to survive. Then Kyle—of all people—comes to his rescue. Dustin can’t fix the past but maybe there’s hope for a future.

Unless Kyle really believes Dustin added serial killer to his resume along with hooker.
Note: For maximum reader enjoyment, we suggest also reading Hidden Force (Tony and Ryan) and Hidden Hands (David March) where these secondary characters were heroes.

For an excerpt from RIVER OF NEED, click here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spirit Day

Originally posted by at Spirit Day

It’s been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.

RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top)
RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle)
RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom)

REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.

- May they rest in the peace they couldn't find in life...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Report Card: I Flunked This Week...

funny pictures-Yu has mistaken me for sumbuddy who is in teh mood to get up.

The evil day job finally caught up with me. Exhaustion set in today and I slept all day. No writing, no plotting, not even housework--other than laundry so I have clothes for more EDJ this week.

A few good things happened this week, just not any writing! LOL

Edits for RIVER OF NEED, the 4th book in the Tennessee Cops series, are done and I have a release date, October 27!  I found the date quite by accident. I was perusing the Coming Soon page at Ellora's Cave and there it was. They were major fast on the website because my editor turned in the final manuscript early Friday morning! I don't have a cover yet but hopefully soon.

I found a fabulous review of SHROUDED ANGEL at Literary Nymphs. Scandalous Minx gave it 4.5 Nymphs and said, "Shrouded Angel is the second story in the Virkola Dreams series. Shayla Kersten does a fantastic job of developing the storyline, thanks to her interesting characters, surprising twists, explosive action scenes and delicious erotic moments." Definitely did some Snoopy dancing over that one! *cackle* You can read the entire review here.

A new story idea struck on the way to work the other day. I recorded a bunch of notes then expanded on them at lunch. I guess that could count as writing. The short synopsis is about 700 words but has no character names. Since it's a younger man/older man story, the characters are currently named YM and OM. *cackle snort*

I put together some of my wardrobe for Ellora's Cave's RomantiCon. I still need to find some boots. And maybe another pair of pants. The conference it October 7 -10. I can't wait. Last year was a real blast. This year I'm rooming with one of my bestie galpals, Delilah Devlin, so this year should be even better!

So last week's goals were:

1) Work on Beloved (lesbian vampire).
2) Self-edits on Naughty Nooner.
3) Work on synopsis for Angel Moon book 3.
4) Work on plot for new MedRom idea.

And nothing got done. Well, next to nothing. I did a little on BELOVED but not enough to even post a word count. Mostly tweaking. Since my life has turned out so busy I'm dropping the MedRom idea for the moment. I need to read more of the line and I just don't have time right now.

The upcoming week will be hectic. Month end close starts all over again. And since I'm taking off Oct 7-8 and 12 for RomantiCon, I'll be kicking butt getting things done at the EDJ. Plus, this weekend is an overnight get together with Cynthia D'Alba and Delilah Devlin so I won't be able to do much Saturday night and Sunday.

However impossible my goals may be, I must have them. A deadline or objective always give me a little extra oomph to get it done. So this week's goals:

1) Work on Beloved (lesbian vampire).
2) Self-edits on Naughty Nooner.

I need to put away the Kindle at lunch and work on writing projects! *cackle* And I'm really enjoying my Kindle. The book I'm reading right now is The Lute Player: A Novel of Richard the Lionhearted by Norah Lofts. I read this book years and years ago. My print copy is brittle and dry, falling apart and next to impossible to read. But the Kindle version! Woo hoo!

The Lute Player originally released in 1951 although the first one I read was a reprint from 1975. Simon and Schuster reprinted it again in 2009. I discovered it on Amazon as a Kindle book just before I ordered my Kindle. It was the first book I bought. And I'm enjoying it as much now as I did 30-something years ago.

Speaking of... I'm off to bed with my Kindle to read for a little while!

Have a fabulous week!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Report Card: The Short of It...

I is tired wurk too hard

I am exhausted so this will be a short report. The Evil Day Job won this week but I managed to accomplish some writing too. Mostly today. And because I ignored housework and yard work in favor of Starbucks and writing. I'm afraid my dust bunnies are becoming sentient. Hopefully, they'll get along with the other critters.

The week was full of day job stuff but my Ellora's Cave editor sent back edits on the new TN Cop story, River of Need. Not much in the way of actual edits. Mostly it was the usual struggle with commas. *cackle* Plus a couple of requests to clarify or tweak awkward sentences. She really loved this one. She said it was much more raw and gritty than my usual stuff and she loved it! I did some serious Snoopy dancing over her praise! LOL

Even with minimal edits, I like to do a complete read of the manuscript so I couldn't run through the comments and be done. I managed a about a third of the book Tuesday night . I ended up working late the rest of the week. Or just too tired. Saturday evening I worked through some more but couldn't finish. I woke up around midnight last night and completed the edits.

After a late start this morning, I ended up at Starbucks. I wrote 2675 words on the Ellora's Cave Naughty Nooner submission. Finished it except for self-edits and a few tweaks. I'm a few hundred words short of 6k. I have to watch the word count or I'll end up bumping into the new shorter Quickie range and it'll no longer be a freebie! LOL

My RWA chapter, Diamond State Romance Authors, met Saturday. I was supposed to give the program but with no time to really prepare and the fact I needed to leave early, I postponed the program until next month. We did read aloud critiques before the business meeting. I read from my lesbian vamp short story. No one seemed to get the mythology behind the story. While chatting with Delilah Devlin about it today, she suggested I write an intro paragraph about the legend. Brilliant!

I played around with the story when I got home. I need to spice up the end with a little more sex then I'll send to my CPs.

My goals last week:

1) Finish Naughty Nooner free short story (epilogue to ICING ON THE CAKE). Still need to do self-edits.
2) Work on synopsis for Angel Moon book 3. Nada. Just not enough time.
3) Work on plot for new MedRom idea. Same as #2.

This week's goals:

1) Work on Beloved (lesbian vampire).
2) Self-edits on Naughty Nooner.
3) Work on synopsis for Angel Moon book 3.
4) Work on plot for new MedRom idea.

Oh and my Kindle shipped on Friday with an estimated delivery date of tomorrow. I've never looked forward to a Monday like I am tomorrow! *cackle* Of course, it'll probably arrive on Tuesday.

Hope you have a fabulous week!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday Report Card: Better Late Then Never?

funny pictures of cats with captions

Forgot to post my report card yesterday. The weekend just went by too fast. Friday night I met up with Cynthia D'Alba and Merlyssa Cormack for a night out. To watch bull riding. Not my usual cuppa, if ya know what I mean. But it was an interesting evening. Except for the Tea Party mentality and seriously politically incorrect jokes. But the bull riding was interesting even if it came with more than it's fair share of bullshit.

Bull riders are some seriously crazy mo-fos. I mean, these bulls weigh between 1500 and 2000 pounds. And they are seriously unhappy about having that puny cowpoke on their backs. Even crazier are the dudes known as "bull fighters". These crazy SOBs distract the bulls when the rider comes off so the rider can get away. Unfortunately, one of the bull fighters on Friday night didn't get out of the way. It looked like he got trampled in the torso. He was taken away in an ambulance.

The bull fighters are the guys in the lower right corner of the picture. Their outfits are a mix of cowboy and football player. They wear pads similar to a football player but I don't imagine it's much help when a 2000 pound bull stomps on you.

I haven't been able to find out the status of the injured bull fighter. Hopefully he wasn't too badly hurt.

While I probably won't become a buckle bunny, the evening was interesting and set some story ideas marching through my brain. Especially about the bull fighters... *grin*

As far as writing progress, well, not much but better than expected? Seems a familiar phrase for me lately. The evil day job was a total bear last week. Only a four day week and I put in more that 44 hours. Wednesday was a twelve and a half hour day. But most of closing is done. Our cost accountant has to do his thing with overhead clearing today then I can start reviewing financials. We're only a day behind schedule at this point, which I consider good since we're short the former controller. Most of her job was diverting people from interfering with the rest of us doing our jobs. Since I'm doing my old job plus playing interceptor, I feel pretty good about our status at the moment.

So writing, well, I wrote a little bit here and there during the week. Never more than a few hundred words but it adds up. By Friday, I was up 400 words. Saturday I did grocery shopping, haircut, nails and a little writing. Sunday, I hit Starbucks and finished my short story submission for Girls Who Bite (Cleis-editor Delilah Devlin) and 1700 words to my Ellora's Cave short story for the freebie Naughty Nooners line. The story is a follow-up to ICING ON THE CAKE. It's fun playing with these guys again. Although I need to watch the word count. Freebies have to be less than 7k. I'm already pushing 4k and not anywhere near finished!

Sunday's final total: 2099. Week's combined total: 2804. So not phenomenal but considering the EDJ last week, pretty good. And I didn't include last Monday's writing because I cheated and counted it on last week's report. *cackle*

To sum up, last week's goals were:

1) Finish BELOVED (lesbian vamp short story). DONE!
2) Work on Naughty Nooner free short story (epilogue to ICING ON THE CAKE). WROTE 1700 words.

3) Work on synopsis for Angel Moon book 3.
4) Work on plot for new MedRom idea.

This week's goals:

1) Finish Naughty Nooner free short story (epilogue to ICING ON THE CAKE).
2) Work on synopsis for Angel Moon book 3.
3) Work on plot for new MedRom idea.

Oh, and I found out my Kindle will ship on the 22nd. I ordered it on September 1st. I received the cover last week. What a tease! LOL But I'm excited! Can't wait to get it!

Hope ya'll have a fabulous week! I'm off to get ready for the EDJ!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday Report Card: Er...on Monday?

Okay, so the long weekend confuzzled me. I really thought yesterday was Saturday. *shrugs*

The past week--last week--was a bitch. No nice way to put it. First full week of full time work and it was month end closing to boot. Hectic, crazy, long hours and long commute conspired together to kick my butt. I'll need more time to get back into the swing of things. It probably won't happen this week. I'll still be working on month end and short weeks tend to be the longest in the history of time. *cackle*

The long weekend sped by. Saturday and Sunday I spent at Momma's with Sister, Lil Bro, the 15 yo and 10 yo nieces. We had fun for the most part, always do. But Momma had a "honey-do" list. I put up the new shutters before it got too hot (read: before Lil Bro got there) then Lil Bro chainsawed a bunch of limbs that had fallen over the last month or so. Two of which were big enough for some serious firewood! I stacked while he cut. Totally exhausting work, especially after all the ladder climbing while putting up the shutters. Oy, my aching hip!

On the writing front, not much to report but better than expected. Except it would have really sucked if I had reported my progress yesterday. My muse was on a shiny binge. I couldn't concentrate on the same story two days in a row--when I was able to open a file after a long day of work.

Progress was sporadic. I worked on a plotting synopsis for the third Angel Moon book (tentatively titled Avenging Angel), a plotting synopsis for another Harlequin Medical Romance idea and a short story for submission to Delilah Devlin's lesbian vampire anthology, Girls Who Bite. Total as of yesterday was 1015. Today, I escaped familial responsibilities and met Cynthia D'Alba at Starbucks to write. Knocked out another 350 or so words on the MedRom synopsis and 1561 on the lesbian vampire short story, titled BELOVED. Woo hoo! Not my best total for a day but it's something!

So my grand total for the week was 2881! Of course, my week was one day longer than normal. Since one of my goals was to force the bitchy muse into the mood to write regardless of her mood, I think I did pretty good!

I also Snoopy danced on Friday when SHROUDED ANGEL released. Very early Friday and very briefly. The EDJ pretty much killed the rest of the day.

I did go crazy waiting on the MedRom response to my first proposal. I didn't get one until Tuesday, the last day of the fast track and it was a rejection with very nice feedback. No request for revisions but they liked my writing style and suggested I send another proposal through the regular submissions guideline. Not great but not bad for a rejection. Definitely more personable than some I've received lately. *cackle*

Oh, I also broke down and found a special ring for the new boss (the old boss' boss). On my last phone, I had the theme from the Exorcist but I couldn't transfer the ringtone when I changed phones. But I didn't have a lot of direct interaction with him because the bestest boss in the world handled his direct requests. So I wavered between getting the old ring tone for old times sake and the theme from Jaws. The Exorcist won. *cackle*

Well, I'm off to bed. Short week with lots to do! My goals for this week are pretty mild. Write something! Actually, the list goes like this:

1) Finish BELOVED (lesbian vamp short story).
2) Work on Naughty Nooner free short story (epilogue to ICING ON THE CAKE).
3) Work on synopsis for Angel Moon book 3.
4) Work on plot for new MedRom idea.

I'm keeping my options open with what to work on since the muse seems to like bouncing around lately. I also have drive time again with my commute and I tend to plot well in the car with a voice recorder. However, BELOVED is almost done. The minimum length in the call is 2k and I've just passed that. I need to wrap up the end and send it to my critique partners.

And I splurged in celebrating the new full time status at work, and the pay that comes with full time. I ordered a Kindle. Probably won't ship for another two weeks though. I'm beside myself just thinking about it. Of course, I'm trying to control my book buying until I get it. Driving me crazy because I'm an impulse buyer when it comes to books. Oh, yeah, I didn't get the 3G version because I'm an impulse buyer when it comes to books. LOL That would end up costing me way more than the $50 difference in the ereaders!

I hope ya'll had a fabulous week, wonderful and safe weekend and look forward to a great week ahead!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Release Day! SHROUDED ANGEL at Ellora's Cave!

SHROUDED ANGEL, the second book in the Angel Moon Trilogy, releases today, September 3rd. I've also included an excerpt below of ANGEL MOON as well. I'm stuck at the evil day job. The bestest boss in the world left for greener pastures now I'm back full-time and in charge! Great for the paycheck, not so good for playing online on release day!Ya'll have a fabulous Friday!

*insert Snoopy dance here* I love release days. Even after twenty one books and short stories, it still doesn't get old. I hope it never does. If I ever lose the joy of being published, I might as well stop writing. But for today, I'm Snoopy dancing!

By Shayla Kersten
Copyright © SHAYLA KERSTEN, 2010
Coming soon at Ellora's Cave


Terra offers sanctuary to both Angellum and Virkola. Unknown to the humans, a truce exists there. To Terrans, the two species exist as myths. One is a frail, winged creature from religious texts. The other, a demon of the night, living off blood. Both are far from the truth…

Because of the Angellum, Patrea, a Virkolan, has spent his life afraid of loss. When darkness descends on his ship in the form of a strange angel, Patrea feels he can't stay on the Avere. But departing would mean leaving behind the only light in his life—his bunkmate Hadreal. He needs to find the courage to tell Hadreal how he feels.

Hadreal has always felt more than friendship for his younger bunkmate, but bitter past experience keeps him from acting on his feelings. When a new danger brings them closer, he decides it might be time to live again. But now his chance at happiness may end before he's able to sample it.

Sometimes it takes a brush with death to make life worth living.

Publisher’s Note: While a standalone, for maximum reader enjoyment, we recommend reading Angel Moon first.


Unease shuddered down Patrea's spine. No sign of danger. Just his close-cousin Koris draining a gasa into a pitcher. The succulent promise of fresh blood after rationing should distract him. But this sense of danger wouldn't let him be.

He'd felt it before, although this time was different. Like a slight variation in tint to a familiar color. The first time, he hadn't recognized the feeling. Now he'd never forget it, different or not. His memory flashed to the sight of white Angellum feathers splattered with the spray of Virkolan blood. His clan's blood. His family's blood.

As the mealhall erupted with voices and footsteps, he shook his head clear of the vision.

Hadreal poked his head around the doorframe to the galley. "Where's the feast?"

His gaze fastened on a clear vessel full of crimson liquid. "Man, that smells good!" His mouth drooped open and his tongue swiped against an extended fang.

Even Patrea's unease couldn't stop him from smiling. Five years as Hadreal's bunkmate, Patrea had come to regard him as a friend, although he'd like to be more.

"Here." Koris handed the pitcher to Hadreal. "Take it out to the table while I put the other bird on to roast.

Hadreal wrapped both hands around the pitcher as if it were more precious than all the credit in the galaxy. His face dipped over the opening then he inhaled deep. With a sharp grunt, he left Patrea alone with Koris.

Patrea's discomfort grew until fear mixed with adrenaline. Angels couldn't be on board. Something else was setting off his internal warning system. The new captain? Maybe the old one? The Terran--Jenkins--had admitted to colluding with angels. The new captain--his name was Teo--should have killed Jenkins right then and there. Maybe the Terran had sent a signal. His angel friends could be following them right now.

Then again, the feeling had been just as strong--if not stronger--on Captain Teo's old ship. Patrea chalked it up to Jenkins' insistence that Teo was harboring an angel.

A round of cheers came from the mealhall.

Koris, his hands full of feathers and fowl, shouldered Patrea toward the door. "No sense in missing out on the fresh stuff."

Nodding, Patrea wandered into the room where part of the small crew toasted with fresh blood. Snagging a cup, he almost drooled at the sweet aroma.

Since Jenkins had taken over the Avere, they'd had few opportunities for celebration or even a decent meal. Now Patrea understood Jenkins' reluctance at allowing blooding for meals. Terrans had an aversion to drinking blood.

Captain Teo stood in the middle of the room with his cup raised. "To a profitable venture and a victorious fight!" The toast was familiar. While most smugglers--freighters of any kind--were in the business for the money, they also dedicated their lives to fighting the Angellum whenever the opportunity arose.

The other two crewmen, Hadreal and Narndo, echoed his words. Missing was Sorin, the captain's mate. Strange he wasn't there to celebrate his lover's acquisition of a new ship.

As he tried to drain the cup, Patrea's uneasiness thickened, clogging his throat. He fought against choking on his drink.

The captain drained his cup then set it on the table. He sucked his top lip under the bottom then released it with a smack. "I hate to put a damper on a good celebration but I have some serious issues to discuss."

The hair on Patrea's neck rose. A flush of heat washed over him. One hand clenched into a fist. The other wrapped tightly around the metal cup. Irrational hate threatened his control.

"I have information about an Angellum project that bodes very ill for our people." Teo motioned toward the seats around the table, but no one moved to sit. "A couple of weeks ago, my mate Sorin was kidnapped by angels."

Patrea sucked in a sharp breath. His nails cut into the palm of his hand. Knuckles whitened on his other hand as he gripped his cup harder.

"He doesn't seem injured." Hadreal echoed Patrea's thoughts.

Teo shook his head. "He was captured. The angel Jenkins was looking for was part of a group of Angellum rebels. They were trying to stop Angellum scientists from experimenting with Virkolan DNA. She was mortally injured defending my mate."

Trembling shook Patrea's arms. He planted one fist against his thigh to hide his shaking. Pressing the cup against his stomach, he pushed hard to stop the roiling unease. Grateful his voice didn't crack, he asked, "Why would they do that?"

Teo's gaze flitted from man to man before locking with Patrea's. "They were trying to design an angel who could inhabit the lowlands."

A collective gasp rocked the room. Voices cried out in various stages of indignation and disbelief.

Angels couldn't survive at lower altitudes for more than short periods of time. They lived on mountain peaks or floating cities hovering over Virkolan territories, dropping to the lowlands only to torment or kill Virkolans and their food beasts.

"They failed." Teo's voice rose above the din as he signaled for silence with an upraised fist. "Mostly."

"What the fuck does ‘mostly' mean?" Hadreal's voice growled as he took a step forward.

"They created a hybrid creature, but the Virkolan DNA was evidently dominant. He is loyal to us, not the Angellum."

"You let it live." Patrea's voice wasn't so steady this time. His nails bit harder as warm liquid seeped into his palm.

Voices rose in fury, each clamoring louder than the next. Questions, accusations belted out like projectiles from a weapon.

"What the fuck…" "Angels…" "Didn't sign on…"

Teo's bellow reached above the fray. "Silence!" His dark gaze glittered with a hint of steel. "He's harmless. He's newly hatched and his loyalty's imprinted on Sorin."

"He's here. On board." Patrea wasn't really asking a question. He knew the answer as his tension ratcheted up to a feverish pitch.

"Yes." Teo planted his fists on his hips. "As Sorin's offspring, he's a member of my family and therefore a member of this crew. You've sworn loyalty."

Hadreal shook his head. "Under false pretense."

"How so?" Teo's hard gaze landed on Hadreal.

Some of Patrea's admiration for his older crewmate seeped out from under his anger.

Hadreal stood his ground and didn't flinch under the intense scrutiny. "We didn't know you had an angel in your ranks."

"He's more Virkolan than angel. And he's still young. Mentally anyway."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Koris sounded more curious than upset.

"He hatched full grown. Maybe all angels do or it had something to do with being a hybrid. He doesn't talk much. Though he's learning fast."

"I heard something like that." Narndo had kept his mouth until now. "About angels hatching grown or nearly so."

"Where is it?" Hadreal asked."In the corridor with Sorin, waiting to meet the rest of my crew."

By Shayla Kersten
Copyright © SHAYLA KERSTEN, 2010
Ellora's Cave, Available now!

Terra offers sanctuary to Angellum and Virkola. Unknown to the natives, a truce exists there. To Terrans, the two species exist as myths. One is a frail winged creature from religious texts. The other, a demon of the night, living off blood. Both are far from the truth...

Sorin thought sanctuary was the answer to their problems. Terra with its plentiful creatures, full of fresh blood and off limits to the millennia long war with the Angellum--who wouldn't think it paradise? Except paradise comes at a high price. Claiming a bounty on a renegade angel hasn't ended up the way he planned.

Teo loves his ship, his life in space, but he loves Sorin more. The plan seems sound but the bounty is a fraud and now the price is on him and Sorin. He'll make the best of the rest of his life with Sorin, even if it were only a few weeks.

But when hope appears from an unexpected source, both men grab chance by the wings.


"You and your fucking bright ideas!" Teo dodged behind a stack of crates as heat sizzled past his leg. The acrid smell of ozone raised the hair on his neck. Popping out from behind his cover, he squeezed off a burst of return fire. Sweat matted his hair and kept trickling down his forehead and into his eyes. The thin atmosphere made every breath a chore. He rubbed his coat sleeve across his face but the water-resistant material just moved the sweat around and added grit to the mix.

Sorin rested his ass against the wall. The heavy bundle draped over his shoulder forced him to lean forward. His ragged breathing spaced out his words. "If you...would have landed...closer we'd be in flight by now."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah... We've had this argument already." Thin air and hard exercise was a bad combination. "Sensor blind spot here...other side not. Almost there." Teo didn't bother to look for a target. Sticking his hand around the corner, he fired a fast volley. He jerked back as another blast from their pursuers smoked the corner of the crate. "Move!"

With a deep breath, Sorin pushed away from the wall. He resettled the burden on his shoulder then took off at a fast trot. Even as big as he was, Sorin struggled with their prize.

"Better him than me." With a final random blast toward the men chasing them, Teo followed his shipmate.

Even if this crazy idea weren't Sorin's, he'd be doing the muscle work. Sorin was taller than Teo by at least six inches and his body broader. He was bigger than any Virkolan Teo had ever met. Almost considered a giant, Sorin brought a certain amount of prestige to the ship, and to Teo.

Heat singed Teo's right arm. Gritting his teeth against a yell, he switched his blaster to his left hand and returned fire. No sense in giving their pursuers the satisfaction of knowing they'd hit something.

As they rounded a corner, the warehouse door gaped open like a giant mouth. Dawn lightened the darkness to a heavy gray.

"Damn..." Teo wanted to be off planet before first light. Less likely for the angry mob behind him to see any identifiable markings on his ship. The entire mission was gone to hell. He should have known better.

The small smuggling and cargo jobs they'd scrounged up lately had barely paid enough for provisions, but at least they hadn't had anyone shooting at them.

"Move it!" Teo stopped at the corner. Sorin would need at least a few seconds lead to get the ship's hatch open. Firing off a couple of shots, Teo chanced a quick peek around the corner.

Even in the dim lights of the warehouse, the Angellum were easy to see. Their milky skin almost glowed. With no room for lift, they'd furled their wings, leaving a small vee of white feathers jutting skyward to frame their heads.

A shudder sped down Teo's spine. He'd never been so close to the Angellum before. His war efforts were spent on the Compensa. While it looked like a small trader, he'd retrofitted it with weapons. He laid claim to bringing down an enemy troop transport. A small one but it counted. He'd also taken out three of their long-range scouts. Although those were mostly self-defense. Smuggling decent weapons to Vikola was his most valuable contribution to the eons-old war.

Teo fired another volley, scattering the creatures. A flurry of return fire slammed into the wall. Wood splintered under the impact. Scorched wood added to the odor of burning air.

The low-charge warning on his blaster beeped. "Fuck!" Ready or not... Teo squeezed off one final shot then sprinted toward the warehouse door. His lungs burned from lack of oxygen. Muscles all over his body screamed for more. He darted through the door then made a sharp left. Blaster fire peppered the wall near the opening.

The Compensa squatted thirty-something feet away. The ungainly ship looked like a fat-bottomed gasa squatting on a nest. The wide bottom normally held cargo. Today, the door gaped open to an empty hold.

Another few yards... Lightheaded, Teo stumbled, feet dragging. you...

"Come on, asshole. Don't you dare quit on me now!"

Who you calling asshole? Indignation increased his resolve. Kick your ass... Gasping for air, Teo dove for the open hatch.

Blaster fire flew over his head in both directions. Sorin stood over him with a long gun, returning cover fire as the hatch slid closed. Thuds marked the Angellum's continued volley. Sorin kicked an oxygen tank toward Teo.

Grabbing the mask, Teo inhaled deep for the first time since they left the ship over an hour ago.

"Come on, flyboy. Let's get this bitch out of here." Sorin grabbed him by the arm, almost dragging him toward the door.

"Where's your load?" He'd be pissed if Sorin lost it after all. Teo glanced around. The heavy canvas bag was stuffed into the open enviro-suit closet.

A secondary hatch slid open. Teo ran into the corridor. "You get that secured." Reenergized by the oxygen-rich mix in the main part of the ship, Teo climbed the short ladder to the helm right above them. "I'll get us out of here."

Slamming into his seat, he grabbed the flight yoke. His left thumb hit the standby button on the left control, freeing the yoke and the engines. His right thumb pressed the comm control. "Hang on!" He took a deep breath. Yanking hard on the yoke, Teo took the ship straight up. The back blast from the engines pointing down on full thrust should take care of anyone too close.

Acceleration sucked him back in his seat. High gravity forced the air from his lungs.

"Fuck!" Sorin's yell echoed through the comm, making Teo smile.

Serves him right after this mission. Then again, if his mate was correct, this could be their last mission. Once they delivered their booty, they'd have enough credits to retire to Terra.

As the atmosphere thinned, the welcome sight of black space greeted him. Teo wasn't sure he wanted to retire. He knew he'd miss this. He'd been reared on a ship, with nomadic mothers seeking solace from the war in the quiet of space. And what about the war? Running off to the sanctuary of Terra made him feel like a traitor.

However, Sorin was a dirtsider. He still had bouts of space sickness on occasion, but at least here he was safe from slavery--or worse--by the Angellum.

Vicious creatures, the Angellum had occupied parts of the Virkolan homeworld for nearly two millennium. Pockets of Virkola stayed, fighting a war of resistance or just eking out an existence in hiding. Others fled for the stars, entire families stuffed into ships too small with nowhere to go or cold space stations--living off dried provisions or meager prey. A few other planets had outposts where Virkolans were able to live, but they existed because the Angellum let them. Most assumed it was because there was no room for angels to fly.

Virkolans were a peaceful people, they didn't have many weapons to fight off invaders. Since they hunted with the intention of taking their prey alive, most of their weapons were nonlethal.

Teo had done his part by smuggling real weapons to the resistance. He'd met Sorin on one of those trips. It had taken a lot of convincing to get him to leave with Teo. And Sorin's clan wasn't happy losing the gentle giant.

He grinned as he set the heading for the rendezvous. The convincing had been a lot of fun. Finally Sorin had agreed. Now they were bonded, living apart wasn't something they'd even consider. And Teo liked making Sorin happy.

For whatever reason, the Angellum ignored Terra. The few who lived there stayed hidden, living as legends and myths. Since Terrans had very short lifespans, beings like the Angellum and Virkola were easy to believe as folklore.

As the ship's sublight engines kicked in, a noise from below warned Teo of a visitor. Flipping the ship on auto, he pulled his weapon from the holster. Pain screamed through his wounded arm.


"Yes." Sorin's voice floated through the open flood hatch. "You were expecting someone else." Sorin's head popped up. "I brought you something to eat. Plus, I need to treat your arm." He shoved his medkit across the floor then came up the ladder to the helm.

Teo's good luck had someone with a healer's skill fall in love with him.

One hand carried a small, heavy plas-board box. Scratches and small growls indicated the occupant's irritation. "Here." Sorin held out the cage.

"I don't need that." Even though it would help healing. "We don't have many live ones left."

"I know, but once we're finished with this job, we won't have to worry about it. We'll have plenty."

If they finished this job. A sense of foreboding had hung around since Sorin first got word about it. Supplying arms to the resistance was one thing. Quite another to deal with the Angellum themselves.

While the creatures displayed a pale, ethereal beauty, their souls were as dark as space. And twice as cold. They'd invaded Virkola without any provocation. Even now, no one knew for sure why. Envoys sent to talk were returned dead, shredded into pieces by vicious claws. Virkolan slaves might have an answer, but no one ever escaped captivity.

The Angellum ruled Virkola from the highest mountains or sky cities. Not easy places to escape. Or attack. Of course the height wasn't a problem for the winged angels.

"Just take it. You need the strength. I can't keep this bucket of bolts flying with you laid up in the infirmary."

"Well, that's not exactly true."

While Sorin knew the basics of flying the Compensa, he wasn't very good at it. Taking off and flying straight were about his limits. Landings had been...interesting.

"Ha, ha. Drink."

Teo took the offered meal. Maybe it would get rid of the rest of his lightheadedness.

"Let me see that arm."

"I can't do both at the same time. Make up your mind which."

Sorin's left eyebrow rose in a delicate arch. Sure sign of the beginning of an argument. "Eat first."

"Thanks." Arguments could be fun because they were usually settled in bed. Then again, between his aching muscles and the searing pain from the blaster, he didn't know if he'd be up to sex. Best not to irritate his mate when he was in no shape to distract his ire.

Teo opened the cage. The small, ugly creature protested with a flurry of squeals and squeaks. Teo wrapped his fingers around the dark brown rodent then lifted it to his mouth. Teo's fangs slid free. A quick bite on the soft underbelly filled his mouth with blood. Sucking hard, he drained the rat. He slipped the carcass back into the box. He and Sorin would eat the meat later when they were settled in flight.

Rats were never enough to sate a Virkolan but it helped stave off a range of illnesses brought on by lack of fresh blood. The jolt would help Teo heal but not much more than that.

If this deal went down the way it was supposed to, they'd be able to retire on Terra...called Earth by the local population. It was said that Terran blood was almost intoxicating. And some people were pleased to let them feed. Although Teo couldn't think of the specifics, humans had another name for Virkolans. Even had legends about them and their origins--all of them so far from the truth it was funny.

Shayla's places:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Music For The Writer's Soul: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

I love Starbucks. Anyone who follows my blog or my Twitter/Facebook accounts will know I spend a lot of time writing in Starbucks. So much so that two stores in Little Rock know my drink. Sunday, the barista had my cinnamon dolche soy latte (no whip) ready when I walked in the door. She saw me drive up.

Starbucks gets me away from the distractions (cats/dogs) and temptations (nap/TV) of home. I put on my iPod and I can block out the world while I pound out the words. Plus there's coffee. And these little cards called "Pick of the Week". Starbucks and iTunes teamed up to introduce people to new musicians by giving away select music. I grab a new card each time I'm in a Sbux. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up one by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. Or just Gurrumul. I've seen it both ways.

Okay, I have no idea how to pronounce his name past Geoffrey. I can't even understand his lyrics but his music is melodious and relaxing. Sometimes lyrics get in the way of the muse. I usually treat music like white noise, just something to drown out unwanted distractions. Gurrumul's song would seem to be perfect for that but the first time it played on my iPod, I had to stop and listen.

Music truly soothes the savage breast. Gurrumul's tender vocals and the slow melodious guitar accompaniment made me smile. But at the same time, my throat tightened as my eyes filled with a hint of tears. I didn't have a clue as to the meaning of the song. The emotion of his voice touched me. And that's what I call music for the writer's soul.

Next payday, my iPod will be enriched by more of his amazing music.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Report Card: EDJ-1; Shayla-0.

funny pictures-Weekend iz almost gone...  ...SIGH...

So the Evil Day Job won this week. I'm officially back at work full time. Yeah for the increased bank account. Boo for the decreased writing time. As I expected, I didn't get much done in the way of writing.

My day job involves a daily commute of 110 miles round trip. Take a nine to ten hour day at work, add two hours of commuting, and Shayla is one tired girl when she gets home. The plan was to write at lunch since the bestest boss in the world was also my lunch buddy. Monday was her last official day so of course, we lunched! *cackle* And Friday she came back to the office to finish up some stuff. Her new job works "four tens" (Monday-Thursday, ten hours a day). Lucky her, she has a three day weekend every week! But she agreed to be available to us on Fridays for transitional stuff for a little while. So we lunched on Friday!

Reality hit and I only managed to write at lunch on Wednesday and not much. Too many interruptions. There's a little coffee shop not far from the office. I might have to retreat there to get anything done.

Saturday was spent with Momma and Lil Sis. We did a shopping and sushi day. Haven't done that in a really long time. We had fun. I needed fun after the last week!

Today, I hit Starbucks to get some writing done. I'm 5k into a new TN cop story but I just couldn't concentrate on it. I haven't heard anything from Harlequin Medical Romance on my proposal so I didn't want to work on that one. I ended up starting a short freebie story for Ellora's Cave's Naughty Nooners. I decided to do an epilogue of sorts for Icing On The Cake. A lot of readers wanted a more concrete "happily ever after" than the original ending. Not that I could have had an HEA when the two characters only knew each other for three days. The short story will be set about three months later and show how the relationship has progressed. Or not. *cackle* I actually managed nearly 1200 words.

So it looks like weekends will be the bulk of my writing time until I get used to the long days of a full work week. But that's okay. I just need to be more disciplined on the weekends.

This week's goals:

1) Try not to make myself insane waiting to hear from Harlequin Medical Romance. They are supposed to respond by the end of the month, which is Tuesday. So what if everyone I know heard back in two or three days and I've been waiting over a week. Okay, I'll shut up now. *cackle* Patience isn't a virtue I've ever learned to embrace!

2) Write something. Force the bitchy little muse into the mood regardless of what she wants to do!

3) Snoopy dance on Friday with the release of SHROUDED ANGEL, book two in the Angel Moon Trilogy!

Available at Ellora's Cave, September 3, 2010

Terra offers sanctuary to both Angellum and Virkola. Unknown to the humans, a truce exists there. To Terrans, the two species exist as myths. One is a frail, winged creature from religious texts. The other, a demon of the night, living off blood. Both are far from the truth…

Because of the Angellum, Patrea, a Virkolan, has spent his life afraid of loss. When darkness descends on his ship in the form of a strange angel, Patrea feels he can’t stay on the Avere. But departing would mean leaving behind the only light in his life—his bunkmate Hadreal. He needs to find the courage to tell Hadreal how he feels.

Hadreal has always felt more than friendship for his younger bunkmate, but bitter past experience keeps him from acting on his feelings. When a new danger brings them closer, he decides it might be time to live again. But now his chance at happiness may end before he’s able to sample it.

Sometimes it takes a brush with death to make life worth living.

More info and an excerpt here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Report Card: Mission Accomplished...

Kind of... I thought this week would be a complete non-writing one. Being sick really puts the muse in a bad mood. Not to mention the writer. But evidently the meds kicked in better than I expected. I actually made it to work most of the week. My only day off was Thursday and it was planned. Plus I used it to meet Cynthia D'Alba and Brandi Evans to write!

I pretty much gave up on the Harlequin Medical Fast Track Submission because I wasn't happy with the synopsis and I only had 800 words on the chapter. And I was sick. *insert whine* Enter my friend, Elle James. She scolded me in the worst way about not stepping up to the challenge. So I shrugged off the sickness blues and left the pity party behind.

Thursday afternoon and evening I firmed up the synopsis. Friday, I managed a few hundred words on the chapter after work. Saturday was my DSRA meeting which ended up lasting all day. I got home around five. Took a nap, then wrote until midnight. Knocked out about 1600 words. Getting the rest done was looking good because today was a designated writing day.

Since I was out of coffee creamer and the nearest store with my favorite kind is in Little Rock, I scooted out of the house this morning and hit the coffee shop. Nearly 1700 words later, I was more or less finished with my one chapter proposal. Well, except for self-edits. I ran to the grocery store--still needed creamer--then headed to the house.

I spent the evening running through self-edits and comments from Elle's emergency read. Hey, she nagged me into getting it done, she can at least read it! *cackle*

At 7:55PM, we had lift off. Or send off. I hit send on the query, synopsis and chapter. And immediately felt the usual nausea. LOL Seems I'm not the only one who experiences the "OMG I just submitted something" trauma. A few people on Tweeter confirmed it as a common ailment among writers.

So for better or worse, the Medical Romance submission is gone. The fast track deadline is Tuesday so I'm in well under the wire.

My goals this week will be low. Things are changing at the evil day job. The most bestest boss in the world has found a betterer job and is leaving us. *sob* She's not only my boss, she's my friend and one of the biggest supporters of my writing career. I will miss her terribly. I don't know what will happen long term, but I may end up back to work full-time for at least a little while. That leaves me very little time in the evening and weekends to write.

Not that I'm complaining. Full-time at the day job will bring a welcome increase in my regular take-home pay. Royalties are too unpredictable for a writer to count on a set amount. It's always nice to know the bills will get paid on time.

My goals for this week:

1) Get back to work on my next TN cop story. Shooting for 2k
2) Try not to get an ulcer waiting to hear from Medical Romance. We're supposed to hear something by the end of August if we made the deadline of the 24th! Some people have had answers in as little as two days. I won't be that lucky! *cackle*

Have a fabulous week, folks!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blogging at The Rainbow Studio!

Talking about my upcoming release, SHROUDED ANGEL--book two in the Angel Moon trilogy!

Stop by and say hi!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Report Card--the Sickbed Edition...

funny pictures of cats with captions

Well, this week didn't go so good. I didn't feel well most of the week. I blamed it on a hectic schedule at the evil day job, helping Granny with grocery shopping and doc appointments and taking Momma to a doctor appointment. During the week, I might have managed a couple hundred words but I had high hopes for the weekend.

Then Thursday came along. The tiredness I'd been feeling became almost unbearable as I took Momma to the doctor Thursday afternoon. I tried to tell myself it was the high heat--yet another week of 100+ temperatures--and not much sleep. I tried to ignore the scratchy throat and slight cough.

Friday was miserable at the evil day job so Saturday I headed to my doctor's office for clinic walk-in hours. I really didn't need the doctor to tell me I had bronchitis. Ugh... I just needed him to supply the drugs. *cackle* And he did. The most expensive cough medicine ever. Half of the prescription was nearly $60! But what the hey, it's laden with hydrocodone and I slept like a baby Saturday night. And all day Sunday. Strong stuff. I'm scared to take it tonight. *cackle*

I feel a ton better. Just sleepy all the time. I plan to go to work tomorrow but we'll see if I last all day.

So needless to say, this week was a bust on the writing front. I don't have a lot of hope for this week either. Bronchitis tends to drag me down so progress on anything this week will be slow.

I still need to write a couple of blog posts. I'm guesting at Liquid Silver tomorrow and at the Rainbow Studio on Thursday. I'll post links here later.

Hope ya'll had a great week without illness or injury! Have a fab week!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Music for the Writer's Soul: Dean Martin

Yes, my musical taste are rather varied. *cackle* My momma loves Dean Martin. Always has. I remember his music streaming from the stereo from the time I was very young. And today, I have many of his songs in my collection.

Music can be such an inspiration for my stories. It doesn't have to be much. A mood, a phrase, a tempo...

A few weeks ago I was listening to one of my favorite songs by Dean Martin. Sway is the English version of the Spanish song ¿Quién será? written by Pablo Beltrán Ruiz. ¿Quién será? was originally written as a dance song and even if you can't dance--like me--it has you to swaying to the music. With Dino's melodious voice, he makes the lyrics about as sexy as airplay would allow in 1954.

And the rhythm sent a plot bunny running all over my brain. Gay dance club, hard bodies... You'll have to wait for more. The project is down the list of things to write but it's there.

Buy at Amazon

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Report Card...Ooo! Shiny!

funny pictures of cats with captions

A running joke between my mother and me is "shiny". We both distract easily. We aren't sure if it's a sign of age or if it's just part of our nature. We see something "shiny" and we forget what we started out to do and go off on a tangent.

Well, I did a "shiny" this week. I made progress but on a completely new project and in a different direction.

Harlequin Medical Romance is fast tracking new submissions. Senior Editor Sheila Hodgson had announced it on the Harlequin blog on July 26th. I heard about it early this past week. It seems their slush pile dried up and they need submissions and fast. They've set up a special email address and guidelines for fast tracking submissions from new authors.

The evil day job kept me busy all week, as normal for the first week of the month, but my weekend was devoted to writing! All things writing! Yay!

I met with Cynthia D'Alba on Saturday to brainstorm story ideas for the Medical Romance line. Since I hadn't read any from the line in a while, I bought a couple of ebooks off eHarlequin's website and read them Friday and Saturday night, just to see if they've changed since I read them. The answer is not much. I'll probably get several more over the next week.

Medical Romance is short--50-55k--so they don't take much time to read. Unfortunately, they aren't sold in stores in the US so it's ebook or wait for the mail. I love ebooks but I don't have an ereader. Since I've gone back to work, it's not easy to read them on my computer. I sit in front of a computer all day for work. Trying to do it in the evening as well doesn't work.

Cyndi and I spent a good part of Saturday brainstorming two stories then Heather, a book reviewer we know, stopped by to say hi. We had a great chat then all headed our separate ways.

I spent the evening expanding on the basic idea for my book. Today, I tightened up the storyline in a loose synopsis and started working on chapter one. Between the two days, I ended up with almost 1600 words. I probably wrote more like 3k but I delete and revise a lot when plotting a new story. But 1600 words is 600 more than my 1k goal! Yay! Progress!

I don't know if I'll make the fast track deadline of August 24. The guidelines request a synopsis and first chapter of a completed manuscript. Although Ms. Hodgson did make a comment later indicating the manuscript didn't have to be finished. But I don't know if she was speaking directly to the person she was answering. I'd rather go by the official guidelines. However, I can always send something to the slush pile after that date. Can't be any worse than sitting in Intrigue's slush pile! LOL

Oh, speaking of Intrigue... The proposal I submitted four months ago must have gone astray. A friend of mine put me in contact with her editor to inquire on the status. The editor was a doll and had me email her the proposal. So now I know it's in the system. More waiting time.

Unfortunately, some of my waiting time ended in a rejection from Carina Press. Although I didn't receive any editorial feedback, I want to read through it before I submit it elsewhere. It's been four months since I submitted it. A fresh look might reveal issues I need to correct. I'll probably leave it on the back burner until I finish with the Medical Romance idea.

So this week's goals?

1) Finish chapter one at least. I have a couple of people available to critique it. I'll be looking at theirs as well.
2) Read entries in a contest I'm judging.
3) Survive the heat... Although we're only supposed to kiss the 100 degree mark this week. Not run all over it like last week. One day we hit 107F. Absolutely nuts...

That's a lot of goals for the week considering my two days off this week are already scheduled with Momma and Granny stuff. Tomorrow is Granny stuff. Probably won't get home til late afternoon so I doubt I'll get much done. Thursday, Momma has a doc appointment in the afternoon so I should be able to get some writing done in the morning. But anything is progress! Just gotta keep pushin'!

Have a fab week and stay cool!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Music for the Writer's Soul: Meatloaf

Meatloaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, on first look doesn't seem the type to inspire romance. Heavyset, long scraggly hair are the first physical impressions. But then he sings. He doesn't have a perfect voice but the passion is unmistakable. And that's sexy as hell.

While working on Rocky Horror Picture Show, Meatloaf began collaborating with songwriter, Jim Steinman, on the album Bat Out of Hell. Jim Steinman's lyrics are amazing. I suffer from jealousy at his ability to craft a phrase every time I hear his songs. Add Meatloaf's intense vocals and no wonder Bat Out of Hell became a huge success.

It released in 1977. I was seventeen and fascinated by the music. Especially--like all teenagers at the time--with Paradise By The Dashboard Lights. *cackle* Who expected the twist at the end of the song?

The album wasn't an overnight success. Probably because the songs were so long. Unusual in a world where most songs were cut to 3-4 minutes of radio play. And in the dark ages before MTV, radio play meant success. But the album has stood the test of time, becoming one of the most sold albums in the world.

When I returned to the States from duty in Germany in 1982, MTV had been out maybe a year or two. In the beginning, MTV was all videos, all the time. No reality shows, no talk shows. Just videos. And I loved it! Any time I was home, MTV was on. And Meatloaf's videos hooked me even more. His videos weren't just watching a performance of a song. They were mini-movies with a fabulous sound track.

While Meatloaf's career had plenty of ups and downs--addiction, ill health, family problems--his music continues. His varied career includes movie and television credits as well.

One of my favorite videos--and songs--is Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are. The song is about loss of a friend, loss of youth and even loss of virginity. The story is haunting, the video is beautiful and Meatloaf's performance is sexy. Now that's romantic inspiration.