Saturday, January 30, 2016

Release: Street Magic!

Darlings, darlings, it's finally here! Street Magic is out to gambol about the world like a little, super-horny bunny (Can you imagine if bunnies were any hornier? Christ on a cracker, they'd overrun us in a week.).


Sometimes magic tricks are more than mere illusions. Street magician Axel Rye understands that better than most—his magic is real. If a mundane ever learns the truth, the Magisters will show no mercy. Getting close puts everyone at risk, which is why Axel knows he's in it deep with his latest crush.

Nick works in a tattoo shop on Axel's favorite busking pitch. If there's one thing Axel has learned, it's that magicians and mundanes don't mix, but he can't seem to stay away. It's only a matter of time before his magic is exposed, and his budding romance might lead to an even bigger problem. Drawing the wrong kind of attention might be the last mistake he ever makes, and it will put his powers, his lover, and his very life on the line.

You can snatch it from Amazon and All Romance Ebooks, of course, or from Storm Moon Press directly.



EXCERPT:
I knew better. The mundanes weren't supposed to know a thing about us. Technically, I suppose, I hadn't broken that rule. Yet. When they saw me pull the correct card out of thin air or guess their name, they called it mentalism or sleight of hand. Or called it nothing at all, which worried me more than anything else. But worry over nothing. They didn't know that this was magic. They didn't know anything about the other part of the world—my part of the world. But not every magician would agree with me. I knew better, and yet I still walked among them and displayed my skill.

I let the cards run from one hand to the other, and then nudged one out. I could still feel a tiny trace of the woman's energy clinging to it, right where her fingers had touched when she grabbed it. "Is this your card?"

She leaned forward and scooped it up. "Oh, my God!" She held it up to the crowd behind her. They'd seen it. I hadn't, but I didn't need to. The mundanes couldn't control their energy; they left spots of it everywhere they went.

I plucked the card from her grip and slid it back into the deck. A few well-placed taps and slides along the surface of the cards banished all traces of her energy from them. They felt clean again. I almost sighed. I'd gotten a large crowd with the card tricks, including a few regulars I knew how to work. Which meant a lot of energy cleaning for me. But magician or not, bills had to be paid. I'd put up with the hassle and just... persuade them to drop a little extra into my hat. That persuasion had already netted me twice as much cash as I probably would have gotten otherwise.

After a few more final tricks, I slid the deck inside my coat, into the pocket I'd extended to hold all my supplies, and then tipped my fedora and smiled. "It's past my bedtime, folks." The streetlights flickered to life above my head, but I could still hit some of the later crowds. I also knew enough to let everyone think they were the last—think they were special in all this. I spun on my heel and walked away. Once I got around the corner, I turned into an alley. I'd used it often enough that I'd finally left a transport sigil scribed on the asphalt. It glowed to my eyes, but was invisible to the mundanes. A circle of complex swirls, intertwining symbols, combined for one effect—instant movement.

I put both feet in and felt the tendrils of warm power sliding up my legs, tightening. I closed my eyes and pictured my destination, the cramped shops along the rough pavement, the bars, and the useless, dead street lamps.

And then I let go. The power enveloped my body. When I'd first started traveling this way, I'd tried to fight against it. But that had only resulted in getting lost, spat out in the wrong place. It was tight, with all that power surrounding you. You couldn't breathe, couldn't think.

But it was only a few seconds. I sucked in warm, oil-scented air and opened my eyes. Not a glamorous part of town, not rich and corporate, but they liked me well enough, here. Well enough that I maintained a sigil. I slid out from between two tiny brick shops and glanced over my shoulder at the familiar glow of the sigil behind me. Money wasn't the only reason I'd put it here. The other reason was a tattoo artist on the corner.

I marched down the street, drawing attention. The zoot suit always drew looks, though less so in places like this. Not a whole lot drew attention around here. Every other shop along this street was a bar, each with its own theme, its own d├ęcor, its own energy coating the doorway, glowing through the windows. Traces everywhere, illuminating better than the street lights ever could.

I got to the corner and leaned against the signpost, James Plaza hovering above my head. One-handed, I shuffled the deck of cards, teleported back out of my pocket by a touch to the brim of my fedora, and scanned around me. The street running perpendicular to James Plaza had once been active. I'd seen it in old photographs and newspapers. A few people around here were old enough to remember it. But now, it was just foot traffic, all the entrances and exits closed off by concrete dividers. The one at this intersection bore layer after layer of graffiti.

I sighed and scanned around me. A few people, all lost in their own thoughts and conversations. Which didn't work for me. I worked a little magic over the cards, amplified the sound of the shuffling, and stepped it up. The cards glided together in higher and wider arcs every time until, finally, I saw attention shift over to me. I let them all fall back into place on my palm, a neat stack once again, and waited.

A young woman approached me. She wore a red and gold corset and matching miniskirt, but nothing else. Steampunk bar on the far corner. She stopped about a foot away and I offered her my deck and my best smile. "Pick a card."

She snorted. "And then what? You flip the deck upside down while I'm not looking so you can pretend to be magic? Fat chance."

I pressed the whole deck into her hand. "Now pick a card. Don't tell me what it is." I watched as she shuffled the deck. People like her made this part of town so profitable. When you broke down the walls of their skepticism, they paid.

"I've got one."

She offered me the deck, but I shook my head, put my hands up in front of me. "You hold onto that. I just need one finger." I tapped the deck with my index finger and hooked onto her energy. She'd shuffled, so all the cards carried tiny traces of her. But one in particular held her essence to it.

When I jerked my hand back, one of the cards came with me. I flicked it into my palm and flashed it at her. "Is this your card?"

Her mouth opened just a little. "How did you do that?"

"Magic."

Friday, January 22, 2016

New Book Announcement: Street Magic


Huzzah, darlings! Raise a glass, because it’s time for a new book!

After a long and somewhat turbulent path to publication, Street Magic is finally about to hit shelves. Well, digital shelves, at any rate. Close enough. It’ll be available, and that’s enough reason to crack a bottle or two of the good wine, as far as I’m concerned. The really good wine.


Sometimes magic tricks are more than mere illusions. Street magician Axel Rye understands that better than most -- his magic is real. If a mundane ever learns the truth, the Magisters will show no mercy. Getting close puts everyone at risk, which is why Axel knows he's in it deep with his latest crush.

Nick works in a tattoo shop on Axel's favorite busking pitch. If there's one thing Axel has learned, it's that magicians and mundanes don't mix, but he can't seem to stay away. It's only a matter of time before his magic is exposed, and his budding romance might lead to an even bigger problem. Drawing the wrong kind of attention might be the last mistake he ever makes, and it will put his powers, his lover, and his very life on the line.

So keep an eye out on your favorite retailers, and over on the Storm Moon Press store. The book releases on January 29th!

Raven

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

Oh, my darlings. I’ve finally recovered from the New Year festivities, and I figure this is as good a time as any to fill you in on just what you can look forward to from me. Aside from drinking wine, that is. I can’t foresee that changing any time soon, so not to worry on that front.

Currently, I’m nearing the end of Heart of a Pirate, which is the first book in long-running fantasy/erotic romance series. It’s an idea I’ve been in love with. It’s sort of like the ultimate in exotic locales. A far-flung world with strange religions, strange creatures, and an awful lot of bare chests along the way, of course.

A bare chest like this:


I mean, just look at that. Glorious, isn’t it?

Beyond that, however, the future is a bit more nebulous. I intend to write the next book of that series (Heart of Absolution), which excites me even more than the first one. And after that, I’m toying with ideas for a new urban fantasy or paranormal book. I’m not quite sure what it would be about, but I enjoy writing things like that. Set here in real-life land and all. Well, nearly real-life land. Close enough that I can write sarcastic, pop-culturally-up-to-date characters. It tickles me.

Also at some point, Street Magic will be coming out. It’s still a little up in the air as to exactly when, but it’s been a long time coming, and I hope it’s well worth the time spent waiting. I’m not allowed to show the cover yet, but I promise you’ll approve.

I also have some more ideas floating about in my head. Little snippets of things, singular scenes. They might see fruition this year, or they might not bear anything for another decade. You just never know with things like that. But I’m continually working and thinking, be sure of that. It would take a hell of a lot to stop this old biddy writing about man flesh.

On a less writing related note, I’ve also decided to take less crap from people. I know what you’re thinking, this raving bitch doesn’t take crap anyway. Well trust me, I do. And this year, I vow to care just a little bit less. I think a lot of people could do to take on that particular challenge. Other than that? Drink more, laugh more, cuddle more with the dogs, drink more, have more sex, have better sex, drink more, travel more, work more, sleep better.

Also drink more.


What about you my darlings? Anything you intend to tackle in the coming year? Let me know and, as always, love yourself. Just maybe not in public.

Raven

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself

No, I’m not talking about love or elf-respect (Whoops. Self-respect. But that typo is so on-theme for the season that I had to leave it in.) or anything serious like that. Besides, if you could just give those to yourself, everyone would already have them.

Elf-Respect. Hehe.

No, I’m talking about something you can actually do to maybe make your day a little brighter. At least your Monday through Friday.

Now, I’m a big fan of Buzzfeed. It’s not like it’s that unique to be a fan, but I am. And they have a great service: Dude a Day. A newsletter that delivers a new dude to your inbox five days a week, complete with a little spot of cute text to accompany it. There aren’t many things I look forward to throughout a normal week. I look forward to whatever show I’m watching (With Into the Badlands over and done with, that’s on hiatus until Once and TWD come back on the air.). I look forward to reading my webcomics (Gunnerkrigg Court for the win!). But every weekday morning, I seriously look forward to my dude. They’re all lovely, and even if you don’t like one day’s selection, you get five a week. Times 52 weeks. That’s 260 dudes every year, plus a few for the rare weekend postings (Like the Twelve Dudes of Christmas they just finished off.).

I actually keep a folder of them. I don’t need them filling my inbox, but I like to keep my favorites for later perusal… and for later stealing, so I can use them to inspire a hero or two. With all names changed to protect the innocent, of course.

So, amid all the giving, if you’re looking for something to give yourself, consider giving yourself a Dude a Day. I wasn’t disappointed, and I doubt you will be either, darlings.

Happy holidays, and many glasses of wine, to you,

Raven

Thursday, November 5, 2015

REVIEW: Game On by Olley White

I found this book for free on Amazon and, as much as my mother told me not to judge a book by its cover, I totally did.



But it’s a damn nice cover.

The Good:
This is a cute story. Like, really, really cute. Also very British, which is understandable… since it was written by a British author and set in the UK. It doesn’t bother me at all, but fair warning for anyone who picks it up: if you’re not familiar with British slang and colloquialisms, you may want to brush up on them before you crack this book open. Or have Google at the ready.

The premise is also very appealing to my inner geek. Two people meet playing an MMO, hit it off, and eventually agree to meet in real life. I love that. More nerd love is always a good thing, in my opinion. I also enjoyed being surprised. See, when they were online, Max thought St3ff was short for Stephanie… not Stefan. That wasn’t a shock. The shock was the outcome. You see, I figured that it would turn out, since that’s sort of the status quo. But I also figured I would hate it. Straight guy and gay guy get together? Highly unlikely. But it worked out. Somehow, the author made it work in such a way that I actually believed it. It required Max to be very open to his own sexuality, but that worked out exceptionally well. The part I thought would be the weakest ended up actually being good.

As for the story, it held together from beginning to end. It was all very sweet, not much drama. Not exactly my cup of tea, but even I enjoy something light and sweet from time to time. Game On definitely fills that place in my library. Like I said above, it’s cute, and there’s nothing wrong with cute.

The Bad:
I don’t have a ton of complaints, but I have some. As I said above, it wasn’t very dramatic. That led to the occasional goofy moment that ruined the experience a bit for me. There was a dance scene at the end, a roller disco, and some moments inside the MMO. They weren’t a major issue, just not my preference. I like darkness with my love stories. Always have.

I also had issues keeping the characters straight in my head. I found them very similar to each other, so when they were talking, I found myself having to go back a few times to figure out who was saying what. It’s an issue I’ve seen a lot in M/M romance. A lot of times, the differences between the two heroes are physical only. It makes for attractive heroes, but it becomes confusing quickly. That was the case here. There were differences between them, but only very slight differences.

The other little complaint I have was the final love scene. It was a paragraph. I honestly didn’t see the point in putting it in at all. The book could have been a romance sans sex, and that likely would have improved the quality of it, in my opinion.

The Ugly:
This is a problem that might not bother everyone, but it was very large for me: proofreading. This book badly needed a proofreader to go through it. Commas were used in place of periods, words were misspelled, and the grammar was just a big issue for me. Not so big as to ruin the enjoyment of the book, but noticeable to me. Noticeable enough that I was pulled out several times. There were several sentences where the grammar changed the meaning, which is a problem even if you aren’t anal-retentive about spelling and grammar like I am. But the book managed to be cute enough to overcome those issues, which is saying a lot for me.


All in all, Game On is a really sweet little love story. Especially for free, I’d give it a chance.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Guest Post: Hidden Shifter by Abraham Steele

Abraham Steele's new book Hidden Shifter is out! The seventh instalment in the Fated Date Agency series is a standalone gay paranormal romance with all the angst, adventure, and steamy action you could ask for. Read on for an excerpt and an exclusive giveaway from Abraham!


Hidden Shifter excerpt:

“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.”

I’d already been sitting on the edge of my leather couch waiting to hear who my fated mate was. Now I pressed the phone to my ear as if it would make an explanation come faster. “Bad news?”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hillwell,” Praya said again. “Your fated mate is… dead.”

The phone fell out of my suddenly-limp hand. I slumped against the couch, unable to move. It sounded like the woman was still talking, but I didn’t have the strength to pick the phone up and hear what she was saying. She’d already told me everything I needed to know.

My fated mate was dead.

For a moment, I just let my mind wrap around the facts. My fated mate was gone before I’d even had a chance to meet him. I’d never known him – and now I would never know him. Still struggling to breathe, I pushed myself to wrap my fingers around the handset.

“Mr. Hillwell?” the matchmaker asked. “Are you still there?”

Was I? It was a good question. “I’m here,” I finally said. “There… there must be some mistake. My mate can’t be dead.”

“I know this must be shocking for you,” she said. “I can call back later and give you your mate’s information, if you’d like. I think you could still make it to the funeral.”

A fist seemed to squeeze my heart. Going to my fated mate’s funeral would be bad enough if I’d actually lived with the man. To go without having known him felt even worse. I didn’t know if I could take it.

This definitely was a shock, and I was about to ask Praya to call me back as she’d suggested. Then it hit me. If I could still make it to the funeral…

“When did he die?” I asked.

“I’m so sorry, Mr. Hillwell,” she said quietly. “He died yesterday.”

A strangled sob came out of my lips. If I’d just written to the agency earlier, I would have met my mate. It had been open for years now. Practically every alpha and omega I knew had been written in, been matched, and fallen in love. Shifters across the country had already found happiness.

But me? No, I was always too busy. My work was more important than finding the man of my dreams. The money was stacking up in my bank account, and there was no time to feel lonely. When I did think about the coldness of my bed at night, I just put off writing to the agency. There was always more time.

That time had run out.

Somehow I managed to speak. “How did it happen?”

“He was in a car accident,” Praya said.

She sounded sympathetic. I tried to picture her – she sounded middle-aged, but what did she look like? Was she behind a desk? In a white lab coat? Her hands would definitely be folded, and her lips would be pursed. It probably wasn’t every day that she had to deliver this kind of news. Well, it wasn’t as if it mattered.

“You can look up the details, if you’d like,” she said. “His name was Idris Greene.”

The name alone sent a rush through me. Idris, Idris… They said names could influence your personality, and in this case I thought it was true. Knowing his name brought me a tiny bit closer to him. I could almost feel the man I’d been meant to spend my life with.

“I’ll… I’ll look him up,” I murmured. “Thank you.”

I walked with heavy steps through the halls of the home I’d made for myself. The elaborate furnishings and expensive tapestries seemed to mock me. The two men with arms intertwined in a five-thousand-dollar painting shook their heads. I had bought myself a yacht – a yacht! – yet I hadn’t found time to write to the agency. What was all of this worth if I had no mate?

Praya should have matched me earlier. She should have reached out to all the unmatched shifters. There were so few of us left at this point – I was sure she could have done it easily. If she’d put in some effort, done her job, I would have had some time with my mate. Maybe he wouldn’t have died if he’d been here with me.

How could fate have done this to me? Why give me a mate just to take him away? Stopping short in the middle of the hallway, I clenched my fists and screamed up at the sky. My cri de coeur was raw, primal – a howl of suffering.

When I could scream no more, I dropped my hands to my sides. Doing it had given me a kind of relief, and I saw my situation with new clarity. I had done this to myself. I couldn’t deny that. Praya had operated her business as expected. The stars had given me the same treatment as everyone else. It was me who had held off on writing to the agency.

I took in harsh breaths, knowing that I could only blame myself. Why had I waited so long for the right moment? When was the right moment supposed to be? I’d finally done it now that I was closing in on thirty. I’d done it calmly, as if writing to the agency was no different from ordering take-out. I’d only been mildly curious about what I was going to get. If anything, I’d worried slightly about how finding my mate would screw up my current life. I had it pretty good – or I’d always thought I did.

What good were all my stock trades now? They’d seemed so urgent before, and yet I’d never thought the few extra dollars in my bank account from each time I’d said “later.” Love had been waiting for me, and I had shoved it aside...

———

For your chance to win your choice of the first six books in the Fated Date Agency series, just comment with the title of the book you would want to read.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Eight Dudes for Your Friday!

Hello hello, darlings! In order to whet your whistles for Silverfall, I thought I'd offer up a little... let's call it inspiration. Or we can be frank and call it a bunch of dudes I want to bang. But I suppose I'd be wiling to share with you...

(I don't have copyright on any of these images. If there's any issue with a copyright holder, I'll gladly take them down.)


Those eyes, though...


I think his body is ready.


I'd very happily lick that tattoo back.


Sand in a few crevices would be more than worth a roll on the beach with him


I find long hair can get in the way, but I'd make an exception for him.


Quick bathroom selfie?


Yippee-aye-oh-ki-yay!


I do love a man who reads...