Tag Archives: hot paranormal romance

Werewolves or Shifters? What’s In Your Romance?

Fantastic Fridays

wolves, bears, and jaguars…oh my

I’m happy to announce that I have the rights back to my first three hot paranormal romance novellas, Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods.

In 2015 I’ll be working at re-vamping and re-branding the series. They’ll still be the hot, twisted fairy-tales they’ve always been, but with new covers, new blurbs, and possibly a new series title. I love these books. They are fun, sexy romps through the wilds of Colorado and they are chock full of romance, intrigue, and hot alpha werewolves.

Or do I mean shifters?

When I first wrote these novellas the paranormal romance readers hadn’t latched onto the shifter label as hard as they have now and I used werewolf to describe my beasts, even though my characters shift into full wolves and not scary Boris Karloff wannabes. Grr!

But, a year or two after my books became published it became clear to me that the romance community had issues with the word werewolf. They saw it as the half-man, half-beast from the horror movies. And, if I were writing a paranormal with a scary half-man, half-beast, it would still work. But I’m not. I’m writing about sexy shifters who become full fledged amazing animals. Wolves and bears, and maybe I’ll be venturing into jaguars. (I’ll have to tell you about the super sexy Latin lover I just met. Mmmm.)

Sorry, got distracted. Back on topic…

Now that I’m re-vamping these books I have to consider several issues.

Are they dated? Do they need new edits? And what sort of changes should I make?

I don’t think they’re dated, but I will definitely read through to make sure I don’t have any glaring issues with technology. One of the things I find funny about watching old movies is how fast we’ve changed in our technology. Just look at how the shape and size of the cell phone has changed. From a bulky thing wired into your car, to a huge rectangle, to something so tiny you could easily hide it in a bra, now back to larger bulky rectangles. Who would have predicted they’d get bigger and not smaller?

As for new edits: I think I had pretty decent editing from my previous publisher, but I know my writing has changed and grown. When I re-read through them I think it will be very hard not to tweak my own words and style. I have to decide if I should or not. Would you? If you had the chance to re-write something like that would you take the time? Or would you let it stand as it is. Many e-books are voraciously re-written, even without republication, but that’s not true of classic print novels. Should we re-write?

Back to the question.

So that leads me to the werewolf vs shifter thing. I think, given the current climate of the paranormal romance world, I’m going to seriously consider changing werewolves to wolf shifters. And werebears to bear shifters. I never liked the word werebear anyway. It’s awkward to say. And those aren’t total re-writes, merely a twitch to a wrinkled skirt.

So…

What’s your opinion? Are you a sexy shifter reader? Do you care if it says sexy werewolves? Or do you think horror movie heroes and scary villains instead of hot, hunky, alpha wolves?

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE. 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

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Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under Fantastic Fridays, Goldi and the Bear, Little Red Riding Wolf, Snow and the Seventh Wolf, werecreatures

Goodreads Giveaway Prince by Blood and Bone-excerpt #1

Moonday Mania

a blog for the writer in all of us

Catching up: Squee! I love releasing hot, new, paranormal romance books, and I doubly love that Prince by Blood and Bone, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court, is finally out!

At least in e-form. Print is coming soon, but you can enter here to win one of the first print books off of the presses.

This is my third Goodreads Giveaway, and I think they’ve been pretty successful. The first one for The Dark Huntsman was a huge success on Goodreads, and got my fantasy romance into new reader’s hands. Then I did a second one for International and US, and had one winner from each. It was fun to ship my book off to Brazil and know someone on the other side of the hemisphere was reading it. This one is US only, but add it to your Goodreads shelf now, and look for the International Giveaway in May. 🙂

The official blog:

Prince by Blood and Bone is my fifth published book and unlike my Twisted Tales,  it’s fantasy romance: a genre that crosses the border between the complex world building of the fantasy, and the fast-paced, let’s-get-to-it feel of romance. In romance, you want to have your hero and heroine get together as fast as possible, but in fantasy, you need to set the reader up for the tone of the story. Where is it going to take place? Is it a new world, or one we are familiar with. You can’t just throw the reader into a meeting, without giving them a scaffolding for your characters to sit on.

But you do want to have things move fast.

That’s why in Prince by Blood and Bone, you meet Bryanna first in the mundane world of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her world has already fallen apart and can’t get much worse. At least she thinks so.

Of course it can, and it does. And as her world falls apart, the fantasy world begins to grow.

Here is a taste from chapter one:

Bryanna curled her head onto her knees and let her long blond hair fall over her face, effectively blocking out the burn of the Albuquerque sun, but completely failing to warm the cold, lump of loss in her belly.

Failing too, to shut out the arguing in the kitchen behind her.

“Mama, I’ve tried and tried to have a vision about Trina. You know I have. But it isn’t coming through, and I don’t know why!” Cassie’s frustration sounded loud and clear through the open screen door. “We need to move on, we’ve been here too long and we’re putting ourselves at risk.”

“No.” Their mother repeated. As if saying it over and over again would force Cassie to listen. “Trina knows we’re here. If we move locations, she may never find us. We need to give her more time. It’s not like you’ve received any visions of danger.”

There was a moment of silence. And then her mother’s voice quavered. “Have you?”

“Mama, it’s been months,” Cassie said. Even though Bryanna didn’t want to hear what came next, she found herself holding her breath and listening, digging her fingers into the crumbling concrete of the stoop beneath her. “Trina stayed back to confront the faery queen’s spy. She would have found us by now—” Another long moment of silence that lasted far too long before Cassie finished the dreadful thought. “—if she’d survived.”

Bryanna lifted her head. The hot wind gusted, drying out her lips and blowing a stray tumble weed down the middle of the empty alley behind the house. It wasn’t only the tension strung tight under their words that kept her outside, it was the subject itself. The loss of her cousin Trina had driven a wedge into their already stressed-out family. Now, not only had they stayed too long in one place, they risked losing what held them together.

Small, hot, infested with creepy New Mexican bugs, and located in a rotten neighborhood, the squat adobe house had to be one of the worst places her family had ever used during the last fifteen years of running. Bryanna poked a stick into the wide crack splitting the bottom stair of the back stoop and tried to focus on the sun, the heat, even the dusty smell of burning pavement. Anything but the rising argument going on inside the house.

Trina had never joined them at the safe house. Never contacted them. Never called.

“Mama, she’s dead.”

“No. I won’t believe that.”

Tears clogged the back of Bryanna’s throat, and she felt like she choked on wet cotton.

She was supposed to be over this. She had to get over this. She was twenty years old now, and loss had become just another part of her sucky life.

It had been years since she’d cried like this, but losing Trina made her once again vulnerable and small—the lost little girl whose father had died and whose world had blown apart. The same little girl who’d had to leave toys and friends behind as what was left of her family fled the wrath of the queen of the faeries.

She stretched out her long legs in their short-shorts in an effort to add more color to her naturally pale skin. There was nothing for her to do. No decision for her to make or argue for. She agreed with both of them. They should stay. They should run. Either way, no one would listen to her.

“You said Trina would be alright.” Her mother’s voice cracked. “You said she’d be fine.” Bryanna tightened her fingers into balls, her nails digging into her palms hard enough to draw blood.

“Things change. What I see will be accurate, but only for a short while. Mama, something’s happened to her.”

“I don’t believe it.”

“Whether you believe it or not, we need to move on, or risk the queen finding us.” Right or wrong, Cassie always spoke as if the more firmly she said the words, the more right she was. “We’re the last of the MacElvys, and we’ve survived the queen’s purge only because we’ve been smart. Staying here is suicide.”

An ant crawled over Bryanna’s bare toe, cruising across her chipped, hot pink nail polish. The thought occurred to her that she should do something about the sorry state of her pedicure, but right now she didn’t care. Right now none of them cared about much besides the growing knowledge that Trina must be dead.

While her mother and older sister battled it out in the kitchen, Bryanna leaned back and tilted her face to the sky. They’d make a decision, and she’d follow along. And anyway, even if she had a dog in this argument, it would take more energy than she’d had since Trina had gone missing to fight for her opinions.

Cassie’s voice tightened. “Something’s wrong. I have that heebie-jeebie thing crawling up my back.”

“Nothing’s felt right without Trina.” Months of pent-up grief rushed out of Theresa’s mouth and her voice cracked. “She’s my baby, just as much as you girls are. I’ve raised her since she was little. I can’t give up on her. I won’t.”

“I know, but…oh!” Cassie’s voice cut off in mid-argument. Even the dry wind held still in the empty alley. This was it.

“Bryanna, hurry!” Theresa shouted.

Bryanna pushed off the warm, sunny stoop, and raced up the stairs. She wrenched open the creaky screen door in time to see her sister’s eyes roll back into her head and her tiny mother springing to catch Cassie’s long limbs as she collapsed.

Cassie’s body jerked and went rigid.

The voice of prophecy emerged, thin and reedy and foreign. “The ogre hoard is coming. Flee! Now!” Her head lolled back, the riot of golden red curls blocking Bryanna’s view of their mother’s face. Theresa’s body bent under Cassie’s weight, and she struggled to keep her from hitting the hard Mexican tile floor.

Bryanna hesitated, the metal of the open screen door burning her hand.

“Run Bryanna, grab your kit.” Theresa laid Cassie down on the floor. “This one hit her hard.”

Bryanna edged around her prone sister and sprinted down the tiny hallway to their room and her nearly empty bag of pre-spelled herbal remedies. When she got back to the kitchen, her mother had Cassie propped up with a pillow. Cassie blinked her eyes and moaned.

Theresa held a wet cloth to her daughter’s forehead, smoothing her long, red hair back and crooning soft soothing words.

Bryanna put on a kettle of water for the herbs before rummaging through her kit. “I think they’re getting worse,” she said. She pulled out the herbal tea they used for Cassie’s fits. “We’re almost out. This is one of the last packages of herbs I spelled last summer.” She exchanged worried looks with her mother. The spells had taken hours and the tea was almost gone.

Theresa’s brow knit. “I don’t want to put pressure on you, but…”

Bryanna bowed her head and pushed the bitterness out of her words, “I’ll try to help her.”

She was a failure as a healer, and her family knew it. She was too young, too inexperienced, too inept. She should have had someone to help her with her Gift. Should have had more than some scraps of notes and the occasional words of wisdom from the few healing witches who had let them stay. Should have had formal schooling. Trina had had Theresa to show her how to be a green witch and Cassie’s visions just came, everyone knew the Goddess favored psychics, but Bryanna had nothing.

No mentor, no training, no skills.

She spread her feet wide, closed her eyes, and inhaled, attempting to block out Cassie’s panting and their mother’s anxiety. She’d gleaned what she could from the one or two books that had survived their nomadic lifestyle. None of them had done much more than give advice on how to heal minor bumps and bruises. Psychic migraines weren’t in the table of contents.

This wasn’t working. She was too distracted by the pressure of her mother’s expectations. She couldn’t focus on her breathing, couldn’t relax enough to open her Gift and draw power. Her sister needed her, and she was failing.

She took another deep breath and searched for serenity. A trickle of calm slid over her aura, coating her in a thin layer of peace.

“Get a bowl,” Cassie panted.

Bryanna jolted. Her eyes flew open as her centering fractured.

Her sister’s sheet-white face went an odd shade of green. Before she could react, her mother placed a bowl beneath Cassie’s chin and lifted her up. Bile spewed from Cassie’s mouth and the smell of vomit rose.

She turned away. Useless. She was useless.

Even if she got focused, she couldn’t do much more than take the edge off of Cassie’s pain. She was no better than a cup of her own herbal tea.

Theresa wiped Cassie’s mouth. “Shhhh, sweetling. We’ll get Bryanna’s tea down you, and in an hour or so, you’ll be right as rain.”

“There’s…no…time.” Cassie tried to sit up, grimaced, and sank back, clutching her temple. Her green eyes were anxious. “The ogres are coming. Now.”

“Don’t be silly.” Theresa shook her head. “You’ve always managed to keep us one step in front. There’s time.”

“No! I saw them.” She clawed at her mother’s hand. “They’re here.”

Bryanna lifted the faded yellow curtain and looked out the kitchen window. She frowned.

Small, run-down bungalows lined the deserted alley. Nothing out of the ordinary, just dusty dry yards, battered chain link fences, and another stray tumble weed kicking its way down the strip of dirt separating the houses. She went to the living room. The view out the front window seemed just as empty. She realized she couldn’t hear anything. No kids, no cars, no people.

The tiny hairs on her arms lifted.

She let the front curtain drop. “There’s nothing there, Cassie.” She returned to the kitchen, crossed to the screen door, and pushed it open, taking another long look. Cassie was never wrong. The ogres would be here. Bryanna had never seen a premonition hit Cassie so hard, so fast. There was no way they could move her like this. She couldn’t even lift her head without barfing, how could they possibly get her into the van and drive?

“Mama,” whispered Cassie, as if she’d heard her sister’s unspoken thoughts. “Mama, there isn’t much time. You both have to go.” She rolled into a ball on the hard tile floor, her drawn face hidden under her bent arm and loose curls.

“We aren’t leaving you.” Theresa’s voice shook. She clutched Cassie’s free hand, desperation and fear in her eyes. She spoke quietly, her voice tight. “Bryanna, make sure the doors and windows are locked.”

Bryanna ran. With time, maybe she could center, and concentrate, and draw Cassie’s pain. But Cassie said there was no time.

As she closed the kitchen door, she spotted a whirl of dust forming in the alley behind the house. The small spiral was obliterated by a lurid, purple mist that shimmered in the hot sun. The mist grew as tall as next door’s dead fruit tree, and blocked the view of the neighboring houses.

Fear slid up her back and her heated skin went cold. She’d never seen one, but she didn’t have to, to know they were screwed.

“There’s a portal forming in the road!”

She raced from window to window, shutting and locking every one with sweat-slick hands, knowing it was pointless. The strong arms of an ogre would make short work of the thin aluminum frames. She wished they’d been able to afford a rental with protective grates of cold iron over the windows, like most of the neighbor’s houses had. Iron was protection from gang-bangers, ex-husbands, and the fae.

“Bryanna, go to my bedroom and bring me the box from my bottom dresser drawer,” Theresa said. “Hurry.”

“Why…?

“Just go!”

She ran to her mother’s bedroom and struggled with the sticky drawer, digging through socks and scarves, flinging them on the floor in a mad rush. Her mother had transported the box from house to house, carrying it as if it were capable of blowing up in her hands. Never letting anyone else touch it, forehead furrowed and tense.

Bryanna’s hand hit silk-covered wood. Even through the protective cover, a quiver of power thrummed under her fingertips.

She took a deep breath and pulled back the heavy, black silk. Strange runic carvings blurred and danced. She blinked rapidly until their movement settled down, before picking it up. Electricity shot into her palms and she dropped it back into the drawer. Wiping her tingling hands on her shorts she stared at it, a snake nestled among her mother’s black, white, and purple socks.

An infinitesimal pop hurt Bryanna’s ears in a sudden drop of air pressure. She darted a look out the bedroom window. The purple-grey mist had grown larger and darker, coalescing and opening into something she’d never wanted to see, the swirling maw of a portal.

“Bryanna!”

She grabbed the box, ignoring the electricity shooting through her palms and up her wrists. She raced up the short hall and into the kitchen. Cassie’s drained skin seemed even paler, her feathered eyelids were closed, and under the old, wool navy blanket, her long limbs shook.

Theresa eyed the box. “I never thought we’d be this desperate.”

Bryanna crouched down next to her mother on the floor. “What is it? What does it do?” She put the box down, relieved when her hands stopped tingling.

A huge roar sounded outside. Then another, and another, until the sound of ogres was so loud that Bryanna could barely hear her mother.

“Whatever happens, hold on to your sister.” Theresa stood up. “Come along, Cassie, it’s time.” She pulled her sick daughter up off the floor.

Cassie leaned on her mother. “Go without me. I’ll hold you back.” Her skin flushed green and she whimpered.

“Nonsense.” Their mother passed Cassie over to Bryanna and she staggered under her sister’s full weight. “Here you go, we’ll be out of here in a jiffy.”

Theresa opened the box. From the crimson, satin-lined interior, she pulled out a silver chain formed of inch-long ovals. A golden globe, the size of a large apple, swung from the chain. She pulled the necklace over her head and a soft, shimmering light spread out from the pendant.

The glow brightened. Bryanna blinked at the glare and cradled Cassie’s head against her shoulder, sheltering her sister’s sensitive eyes.

Whomp!

The kitchen wall shook. Chunks of ceiling fell, peppering them in dust and drywall. Bryanna stretched out her fingers and tugged the faded gingham curtain aside. The hairy face of an ogre smooshed against the glass, its brown, leathery lips spreading out wide.

She jumped.

Fingers still tangled in the curtain, she held her scream down deep in her throat and clutched her sister as more roaring ogres, clubs gripped in hairy fists, poured out of the misty tendrils of the portal and filled the alley. She managed to open her mouth and make her lips and tongue move, the words slow and choked. “Whatever it is, Mama, we’d better use it now.”

“Hold tight girls, and pray it works. It’s really only meant for one.”

Bryanna firmed up her grip on her sister, swallowed at the rank smell of Cassie’s breath, and shielded her from the chunks of old plaster raining down from above. Her mother wrapped her arms around them both, pressing the tingle of the globe between them. The glow grew bigger, enveloping them in a sphere of golden light. There was a slight dizzy feeling and the quiet pop of a bursting bubble.

Then the falling ceiling, the old kitchen, and the bulbous nose of the ogre crashing through the window, disappeared.

Check back next Monday for the second excerpt of chapter one.

Purchase Prince by Blood and Bone today: Amazon AllRomanceEbooks Barnes and Noble Kobo & Ibooks

Hungry for dark twisted fairy tales of fantasy and seduction? Strong heroines and supernatural heroes come together, take on evil, and fall in love.  Subscribe to my new release only mailing list to receive announcements when my latest in my steamy fantasy romance series Tales of the Black Court is released.

 

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Filed under Fae, fairy tales, Fantasy Romance, Moonday mania, Prince by Blood and Bone, witches

Brrr! Hey, baby, it’s cold outside!

Moonday Mania

a blog for winter readers and writers

It’s cold out here in Colorado. An actual bitter cold, the kind we rarely experience— and  it kind of came as a shock. It’s a reminder that, despite the warm fall we’ve had, winter is actually coming. I know we have to wait until late December to proclaim that winter is here, but when it is consistently chilly and it snows, let’s face it, winter is here and it’s time to write some hot, paranormal romance, and warm up!

Snow on mountainsIt’s too cold to enjoy yard work, and there isn’t any, really. Except for shoveling snow. It’s almost too cold to enjoy walking the dog. The other day we barely got in a twenty minute walk after the sun was fully up. My fingers were freezing and I couldn’t feel my thighs. The dog was disappointed, but she’d stay out until she got frostbite, that’s the way Labs are, so we cut it short and headed home with promises for another walk. Which didn’t happen because I was caught up in my edits.

That’s right. While I may not want to be outside trimming the house for the holidays, or even walking the dog, what I do want to do is write. And write. And…bake cookies.

But I have books to finish, so the cookies must wait.

I usually outline and start writing all my books in the fall and winter, so it isn’t surprising that snow turns out to be common in most of my books. The house is cold and all I want is to sit in front of the fire and eat cookies, all winter nesting things. I’m wrapped up in sweaters and afghans and scarves. Even thinking about a swimsuit gives me the shivers.

My twisted fairy tale series, TWISTED TALES:COME INTO THE WOODS  originally was supposed to have each book set in a different season. LITTLE RED RIDING WOLF was early fall, SNOW AND THE SEVENTH WOLF was winter, and GOLDI AND THE BEAR was supposed to be set in spring. And that did happen. Sort of. Goldi’s story was outlined and written in October through January. Most of it during November and December snows, so I kept writing in snow… and snow storms. And while it is set in the spring it’s also full of snow.

While Colorado has beautiful sunny days in the winter, we do get snow in the spring. It’s part of our change-it-up attitude, you never know what the weather will be so plan for everything and enjoy it all. Spring is our snowiest season, in fact many Easter egg hunts get ruined by snow in Colorado.

It’s was when I realized that I never write summer books. By summer, I’m editing. All the actual writing and scene setting is finished. So I’ve decided that I need to write my next big book in July, get some good sweaty heat in there. Okay,we’ll it won’t be my next Tales of the Black Court, BROKEN MIRROR, because I will once again be outlining and writing that one in the middle of winter, but the one after that, the next book will have to be a hot summer read!

What do you like to do when it’s cold out? Do you curl up with a good book and some hot chocolate? Do you bake? Leave a comment and let me know!

Save the date! We’re having a Facebook Party on December 14th, 3-6pm Colorado Time! Join Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal authors for games and giveaways. Click HERE to sign up and participate, it’s going to be a fun way to spend a cold winter’s afternoon in December!

Thanks to WanaCommons on Flickr for the photo and to photo artist, Melissa Smith!

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Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania

I’m a Hot Paranormal Romance Author and you wouldn’t BELIEVE who I Write Like…

Moonday Mania

who do you write like?

So we all know what I write. Spicy, hot, paranromal, twisted fairy tale, romance. So which author would my writing be most like?I had to find out. There’s a great site called I Write Like   where anyone can post a sample of their writing and through the magic of their algorithms you can see which author your writing style is most like. So I had to go and see who I wrote like (duh!).

I chose some scenes from my latest WIP, Prince by Blood and Bone, the sequel to my book The Dark Huntsman that releases next month. The first one was an action scene and the second was a love scene. Both of them came up:

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

So I wondered if I tried a third scene what would come up. Using the very first scene in the book, click HERE to read, I now had:

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Wait a minute! I write fairy tale romances. Don’t I? How did I end up with such dark authors. Horror even!
Curious to see if this held true for The Dark Huntsman, I chose three more scenes. Two action, one love scene. Anne Rice came up AGAIN for the love scene, and for the action scenes I now had:

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!


Who I had to go look up. This is what came up:

  • Charles Michael “Chuck” Palahniuk is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is best known as the author of the award-winning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a feature film. Wikipedia

Freaky huh! I write romance.

Don’t I?

So, I wondered if my lighter, spicy, new adult, fairy tale romances, Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods, would come up the same. Enter Goldi and the Bear…

I write like
Agatha Christie

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Anne Rice

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Arthur Conan Doyle

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

So, I guess my lighter fairy tales are a little lighter. If you think Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christe are light. But not much. And if you like sex á la Anne Rice, (well…and who doesn’t?) then I’m your gal!

Have you ever analyzed your writing? It doesn’t have to be fiction, it can be anything. The analyzer doesn’t care. Wonder what my grocery list looks like? Maybe Dean Koontz? Who do you write like?

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Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey, writing craft