My Bloody Valentine

We buy the cards, the candy, the flowers. We associate this day with love and sweetness.

broken heart - bleeding heart
Detail of the painted bleeding heart – symbol of love – in grunge style

But do you know the bloody history behind this holiday?

There once was a royal prick, who ruled as Emperor from 268-270. He was known as Claudius II or Claudius Gothicus. During his short reign it is told (unverifiable of course) that he banned marriage because he thought his Roman men were better off being soldiers than spouses.

The Priest Valentine defied the emperor and performed marriages in secret. He was beheaded for his crimes. In a cool move by Karma, herself, Claudius died of small pox, ending his reign of terror.

Even more interesting is that we celebrate this day in February because the Catholic Church was trying to “christianize” the pagan holiday, Lupercalia. Roman priests would sacrifice a goat and a dog, strip the goat’s hide, cut it in to strips and dip it in blood, slapping it on women and fields for coming fertility. Oh yes…that’s romantic.

Portrait of a horrible scary zombie woman. Halloween.

Don’t worry, the blood continues.

Our favorite gangster, Al Capone, grew tired of his feud with George “Bugs” Moran. A $50k bounty on his head was the final straw. Capone ordered the Moran gang to be decimated. On February 14th, Moran waited for his men during a whiskey run. As he waited outside, seven of his best men were being slaughtered inside. On the seven year anniversary, again on February, 14th, one of Capone’s assassins was killed inside a bowling alley by gunfire.

I’m sure my readers are a little freaked. I mean, really, an erotic romance author is just killing our lovey-dovey holiday?

I just love irony. So while you’re cuddled up with your loved one at your Valentine’s Day celebration, remember that you’re celebrating one of the bloodiest holidays in our history.

Readers becoming of age…

I wrote the other day about taking spawn on the Mother-Daughter date, which included a stop at Barnes & Noble.

Now, the spawn is now 19. She’s been reading erotic romance for a few years now. Yeah, it was awkward at first, but now we can talk about the books, characters, and the stuff that comes out of her mouth just kills.

“DO these people do anything BUT fuck?” My jaw hit the floor and I died laughing.

“Like…eat dinner, take a shower…take a poop. Something!” I continued to laugh.

“No one has this much sex.” Okay, so she’s a cynical smartass, but the apples does not fall far from the tree.

“Jesus, this chick needs a bag of frozen peas.” Yeah, when you’ve been screwing for 75 pages, your shit is just wrecked. But it’s fiction and she’s learning what she likes and does not like.

But our trip through the romance section was educational. I paid attention…close attention. These are our future fans. They’re coming of age, old enough to buy our stuff. Old enough to understand it and, I daresay, learn from it.

So she picked up a Harlequin paperback, held it up and said, “Really? How fuckin’ cheesy!”

The books that did grab her attention had updated covers, some had no people (i.e. Sylvia Day style) but most were bold. No torso only covers. No Harlequin-Fabio-Damsel-in-Distress covers. They’re not falling for the trend. Not in the least.

While my target market has been a bit older than my first born, it got me to thinking. These people are our up-and-coming fanbase. They’re not gonna go for something they think is “lame.” They’re going to blab on social media about what they think. They are VOCAL. They can make or break you.

People like my daughter have already passed up the YA novels. They’re not interested in teen angst, awkward young women, or gender specific roles.

They’re giving each other courage too. What my spawn didn’t notice (but I did) was that another girl her age was watching her. She was standing in the Sci-Fi section, looking at the romance books from afar. After my daughter picked up about the 13th book, the girl stepped over, grabbed a romance off the shelf and stepped back into the sci-fi aisle as she read the back cover.  It was a Shayla Black novel.

As I walked by her, I winked and said, “She’s a hellova writer. You should get it.”

Her face turned red as she nodded and hurried to the checkout line.

I’m happy I raised a young woman who isn’t afraid to stand in the romance aisle and grab a BDSM novel. She’s not abashed, ashamed, or embarrassed. What she is…is curious, and secure. She knows reading a BDSM novel doesn’t mean she’s weird. Hell, it doesn’t even mean she’s into BDSM.

She empowers others too. This is it…this is our future. We can learn from them, just as they can learn from us. And trust me, I’m paying attention.

Short Circuit Time by @Diane_Saxon

I had the pleasure of working with Diane Saxon on the Paranormally Yours anthology, so when she mentioned that she was releasing a book, I had to have her on my blog.  Here is her new gem below!

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Short Circuit Time by Diane Saxon

In the year 2086, Zaphira is alone, the last survivor of biological warfare on Earth. Before he died, her scientist father promised other survivors would come. Nobody has. So when a horribly mangled android shows up claiming to be her father’s assistant, Aiden, who has been sent through time to rescue her, she’s both frightened and astounded.

The last time she’d seen Aiden, she’d been sixteen, head-over-heels in love with him and had literally thrown herself at him, leaving her devastated by his rejection and him running for the hills. The following day, she’d been told of his death.

Eight years later he’s miraculously back, this time asking for her help. Without it, he won’t survive. But can she really put a dead man back together with tweezers?

For Aiden, everything has changed. There are no other humans, no government, and time travel has left his new android body unexpectedly weak and suffering from inexplicable genetic changes in eye and hair color, brought about by his molecular shake-up. Unbelievably, the scientist who sent him is dead, and he must rely on the scientist’s daughter to help him. A woman who he’s not so sure has his best interests at heart.

The last time he’d seen her, Zaphira had been a sixteen year old with a dangerous crush on him and he’d been rocked by the turmoil of his own feelings. Now she’s twenty four and literally holds his survival in her hands. Too bad everything he does and says seems to annoy her.

Trusting her might be his undoing. But he is left with no choice.

For Zaphira, getting used to the transformation of old Aiden to android Aiden requires a large mental leap. But when android Aiden starts to rebuild his human form to a new and improved standard, things start to get tricky.

The Aiden she loved as a little girl was her father’s nerdy assistant. The new Aiden is hot. But are her feelings as strong eight years later or are they simply a cherished memory?

Excerpt

Prologue

She narrowed her eyes and squinted at the skinny geek stumbling backward out of the passenger seat of her father’s car. She’d waited all day for the rumble of the engine of her daddy’s convertible. The old car had a distinct stutter and a sly rev she fantasized was because it had a mind of its own.

She smiled awkwardly, her mouth pulled tight across her braces and she pressed her fingers over her top lip to stop it from catching on the edge, rolling and making her look like a feral cat. Her face ached. They’d tightened the braces again and it hurt so much more this time. The smile dropped from her lips only to ping back up again as the geek caught his shoe on some piece of equipment in the foot well of her daddy’s car. He flipped backward, his gangly arms pin wheeling until he landed on his ass on the floor, minus his shoe.

He whipped his head up and she stepped back from the window hoping he hadn’t heard her girlish giggles. He wouldn’t be impressed. He was so much older and more mature.

Not many would believe he was twelve years her senior. Not with his thick russet hair falling in a boyish flop over his forehead, his fine gold-rimmed glasses perched right on the end of his nose.

Her heart fluttered in her chest as she chanced another peek.

His arms full of equipment, flushed to his hairline, he staggered toward the front door of her home. Adrenaline pumped hot through her veins. She took a few skips toward the hallway, ran back to the window to see her father’s car pulling away from the curbside. Her mother was out. She was the only one there to open the door. She darted back, hesitated, her pulse thrumming in the base of her throat.

A dull thud shuddered the door in its frame and she shot forward, wrenched it open before he did any further damage. His shoulder slid across the oak panel and he shot sideways through the entrance, his skinny limbs racing to keep up with the speed of his body, but to no avail. His foot skidded and down he went. The clatter of laboratory equipment skidding across the wooden floor filled her ears as did his quiet Irish curse.

“Bollocks.”

Stifling another snigger, she crouched to help, casting furtive little glances at him as he came to his knees, straightened his waistcoat and touched his fingers to his bow tie, ensuring it was still there.

“Hi Aiden.”

His deep frown almost made her stutter, but she knew he couldn’t sustain his annoyance. His small nervous cough made her smile.

“Hey.” The sound of his soft, smooth voice made her light-headed and she stopped what she was doing to gaze deep into his eyes.

He pushed his glasses further up his nose and glared at her. Unperturbed, she met his beautiful gaze with a lovesick one of her own.

“Do you need a hand down to the lab?” He dropped his gaze to her mouth. Her speech lisped embarrassingly through her clenched together teeth. She hated her braces, couldn’t wait to have them removed.

“No.”

Not wanting him to go yet, she piled another few items on top of the ones already in his arms and resisted the urge to stroke her fingers along the sleeve of his tweed jacket.

“Can I get you a coffee?”

“Zaphira…” he sighed, “Thank you, but no. I have work your father wants me to complete. I don’t want to be disturbed.”

Her chest ached. Just a little. The same as it always ached when he rejected her offers.

She bent to pick up Paco, her new puppy, snuggled her face into his thick fur and took comfort from his squirming, plump body as she hugged him close and let him lick sweet kisses across her chin.

Aiden paused at the lab door then glanced at her over his shoulder and her heart hitched again. There. It was there, the glint in his eye. The one that told her every time she was about to give up that there was a spark of interest. There was hope. 

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Buy Links for Short Circuit Time

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Kobo Barnes & Noble

All Romance Books 

Where to Find Diane Saxon

Author Website | Author Blog | Facebook  | Author Twitter | Goodreads Author |

Author Amazon Profile Page

About the Author

Diane Saxon lives in the Shropshire countryside with her tall, dark, handsome husband, two gorgeous daughters, a Dalmatian, one-eyed kitten, ginger cat, four chickens and a new black Labrador puppy called Beau, whose name has been borrowed for her hero in For Heaven’s Cakes.

 

After working for years in a demanding job, on-call and travelling great distances, Diane gave it all up when her husband said “follow that dream”.

 

Having been hidden all too long, her characters have burst forth demanding plot lines of their own and she’s found the more she lets them, the more they’re inclined to run wild.

 

Previous Books:

 

Loving Lydia -Atlantic Divide Book 1

Bad Girl Bill – Atlantic Divide Book 2

Finding Zoe – Atlantic Divide Book 3

Flight of Her Life

Flynn’s Kiss – Disarmed & Dangerous Book 1

For Heaven’s Cakes – Paranormally Yours Anthology

 

 

The Gas Test

I was recently asked what the difference was between love and infatuation.

In order to answer this question, one must channel their inner middle school self. That’s right, we’re going back to fart and booger satire.

I can see you. Your brow is furrowed. Your nose in wrinkled. You’re thinking, ‘what the hell does one have to do with the other?’

I asked the woman if she ran out of the room to fart or just excused herself after busting wind. Her face turned red and she refused to answer, so I can only assume she’s still running out of the room.

Infatuation is easy. You find the other person hot. You wanna have sex with them all of the time. Your stomach lurches when you get a text or a phone call from that person. In this stage, your relationship is about as deep as a kiddie pool.

I know, I know. Farts? But farts are funny. It’s a natural and normal bodily function. We all fart. It’s just your bum giving raspberries. Sometimes it even tickles. Sometimes it stings when it’s a really big popper and your asshole slams shut like a cell door.

I digress.

I took one of my children into the doctor for a stomach issue and the nurse told me after 12 years, she still leaves the room to fart. What the absolute fuck? Whether or not there is a piece of paper declaring you married, your partner is going to see you at your worst.

My husband has heard me talk out of my ass. He’s watched me puke my brains out. He’s watched me sick with the flu in the shower because that’s the only place I felt safe. He’s been with me through countless periods, cramps, bloating, bleeding and bitchy. He’s nursed me when I had 1st and 2nd degree burns and I was high out of my gord on pain medication. He had to take me to the bathroom because I couldn’t unbutton my pants with one hand bandaged.

He stood by me when I had my gallbladder removed and they broke my damned rib. He still loved me when I was running to the bathroom with horrid cases of the hershey squirts because after they remove your gallbladder, you have that side effect for awhile.

But after all of the horrible, disgusting, putrid and sometimes funny things my body does…he still finds me sexy. He still chases me around with his pecker. His dick has not held it against me that after the previous night’s chili has worked it’s way to my large intestine, I sound like a broken trombone.

Trust me, the guy farts. When I’m really lucky, he waits for me to get into bed with him first. And he has been the one barfing up meals from three days ago swearing that he’s dying. I’ve mopped the fever sweat off of his head, fed him soup, rubbed his gross feet and massaged his back when the arthritis in my hands hurts so bad I want to cry.

That is the difference between love and infatuation. A simple fart isn’t going to destroy love. It won’t destroy lust, even. To prove my point and possibly embarrass myself further, there was a night he was feeling a bit randy.  My tummy wasn’t feeling the greatest, but I love my husband. As soon as the poor guy got it in, I rattled his ballsack with a giant gust of wind. My stomach clenched with laughter (I have the unfortunate reflex of giggling when I fart. Still. At damned near 40. I can’t even blame a fart on the dog, because I laugh.) Anyway, when my stomach clenched, I ejected the poor guy’s manhood out of me like it was being shot out of a grenade launcher.

And, when I finally quit laughing, we went back to what we were doing. Because it’s just a bit of hot air, and we’re all full of it anyway.

Interview with KaLyn Cooper

I’d like to introduce you to KaLyn Cooper, my gun-slingin’, shine-makin’ fellow Liquid Silver Books author.

Anita Cox: Welcome KaLyn!  So you write romance.  Tell us why romance?

KaLyn Cooper: After thirty years of writing annual reports, brochures, promotional material and trade articles for corporations, I decided I needed happy endings.

Anita Cox: Do you write in any subgenre?

KC: Yes, Romantic Suspense. I like to call it Run and Gun with lots of Fun.

AC: What is the heat level of your books?

KC: Liquid Silver labels it a level 2 out of 4, spicy hot. It has explicit sex, no BDSM though.

AC: Tell us about you.  Do you have any passions other than writing?

KC: I’ve written all my life, winning my first creative writing contest in the sixth grade. I spent thirty years in marketing and public relations where I verged on creative writing for corporate clients but never crossed that line until a few years ago when I wrote my first romance story. As a military wife to Macho Marine, I’ve moved across the USA a few times and to Japan. Nineteen moves later I’m in East Tennessee. As for passions, I’m a gun-girl. I shoot skeet as often as possible, love to hunt birds, like my pistols for protection as well as target shooting.

AC: Let’s talk about you. Could you tell us the most interesting/different childhood experience that you had (or what was your unique upbringing like)?

 KC: When I tell people I grew up in New York I have to qualify it by adding Upstate before they ask me about tourist sites. My childhood home was in a very small town, on a small lake at the farthest point from New York City as you could get and still be in the same state. I had 56 in my high school graduating class. Although we lived in town, my parents owned a farm where we raised cattle for the freezer and horses we rode all summer long on trails and at horse shows. We had a ski resort less than five miles away to entertain us since the average snowfall was of over 25 feet per year. With one sister and four Alpha brothers by blood and a neighborhood of “brothers”, I grew up a strong woman. I guess that’s why romance appealed so much to me. My mom worked full time and went to school nights as soon as my youngest brother entered elementary school. We graduated from college the same year. As the oldest girl, I was tasked with Mom duties and regularly fed half the neighborhood boys at supper.

AC: So… you had an interesting family member who was influential to you.  Tell us about her.

KC: My grandmother lived across the street from us and ran a nursing home in part of their big old house. While young, I spent as much time at their place as my own testosterone-filled home. I learned to work for the money I was given and she was generous. There’s a reason I never became a nurse. She insisted I speak what she called the “high English” so I was one of the few children who knew the difference between “shall I, may I and can I.” At her insistence I wore greased hands inside white cotton gloves and walked with a book on my head when she thought I was slouching. I know she feared I was too much a tom boy, influenced by all the boys that congregated in our side yard to play football, cowboys, and Batman. Believe it or not, as children we played outside! AC: Oh yes, I remember those days!

AC: I find you quite interesting and unique.  Give us a Day in the Life of KaLyn.

KC: Our house is always filled with activity. We make wine, beer and moonshine, it’s legal in Tennessee. We shoot guns and in the summer have our own range. I have five raised-bed gardens so you may find me planting and plotting, but I’m not really talking to myself, I’m dictating into my smart phone. We live on the river that comes out of the Smoky Mountains National Park and try to paddle the river several times a month during the summer.

AC: OKay, let’s get into writing.  As writers, we pull from life experiences.  So I’m interested to know, what influenced your taste in men?

KC: Weekends of my youth were filled with horse shows and that’s probably why I don’t write about cowboys. We’d take the camper filled with my parents and all six kids, pulling a horse trailer with six to eight horses on board. We’d spend the weekend surrounded by every little girl’s dream; horses and cowboys. By the time I reached seventeen, I’d had enough of both. I traded my mare in for the horsepower found under the hood of muscle cars and my boots for high heels. I discovered bad boys were everywhere, thank God! I finally found there were a few good men and some of them drove fast cars. Macho Marine had a Road Runner that could pass everything on the highway…except a gas station.

AC: So what’s in the works? Any unfinished novels you might dust off and resume writing or reworking?

KC:  Explosive Combination is my debut romance novel but I have another in the pipeline hoping to see the presses by July. My work in progress should be ready for a fall publication date. I have two or three other stories started that may, or may not, make it to “The End” but they are more Chick-Lit.

AC: What is your writing “system” like, and how has it evolved over the course of your career?

KC: I owned ad agencies when the kids were little and did my best writing at night. I could relax knowing everyone was home safe and tucked in bed. I’d often write till two in the morning. Now, I’m up by seven-thirty and writing by eight in my jammies. When I get tired or stuck, I go shower. The steam usually helps me clear my thoughts and the end of the scene just pops into my head so I dictate it into my phone. Mid-day I try to become a domestic goddess and cook or clean or at least throw in a load of laundry. I run errands and do normal stuff. After supper and clean up, I’ll try to relax with a book, but often end up back in my computer chair reading over and editing what I wrote that morning. 

AC: We writers know that a good beta reader is worth their weight in gold.  Tell us about yours.

 KC: I have several beta readers for different levels of completion. For instance, Teresa Reasor, who writes romantic suspense based on SEALs, is always one of the first to read my stories. She is so good at catching plot problems and suggests the coolest twists. I have a neighbor who reads next because she’s an excellent proof reader and as we all know, we read over our mistakes. Then it’s usually ready for submission. My last manuscript took a total of six edit passes and I’m sure there’s still a mistake in there. 

AC: Do you think of yourself as a particular type of writer?

KC: I like writing factual fiction. Every book I’ve written so far is based in facts, often obscure facts that some people would believe were not true. Over the years I’ve learned that fact is stranger than fiction and some of this stuff is too good to make up. The fact it’s real is downright frightening sometimes.

 My work in progress is based on Mayan golden goddesses stolen by the conquistadors, a documented fact. I also like writing about foreign countries and I’ve been to Cancun several times. Isla Mujeres, the Isle of Women, is fascinating and its role in the discovery of gold which led to the colonization of America is mind-boggling…and true.

AC: What led you to tell this particular story?

KC:  Explosive Combination, my recent release, is based in fact. I was researching explosives for a different story and learned the following facts:

  • True fact: Scientists at the University of Michigan recently discovered that co-crystallization of two common explosives creates the most lethal, non-nuclear bomb on the planet, casually called Chaz.
  • True fact: In September 2012 Popular Mechanics magazine published the formula, which is similar to a process used in pharmaceuticals, to make Chaz. (Can you believe they actually did that? The link to the article is on my website.)
  • True fact: In 2003 the ATF was moved to the Department of Justice and became the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and created the ability to assemble an International Response Team.

My brain put pharmaceuticals, i.e. drugs, together with Colombia and the ATF’s international reach concerning explosives these days and the story was born. Add to that the fact that I was supposed to go to Colombia once upon a time.

Many years ago I was set to go to Colombia to oversee a photo shoot, both stills and video, for a client who offered dove hunting, deep sea fishing and mountain stream fishing to tourists all over the world. I’d worked in a trip to the emerald mines and a few days at a beach resort. But Macho Marine was headed to Command and Staff School which required a higher level of security, beyond his current top secret clearance. When the FBI agent asked us if we had plans to travel outside the U.S.A., I excitedly told him about my planned trip to Colombia. He closed his little black notebook and stood. Shaking his head, he announced, “If she goes to Colombia, you’ll never get this clearance and you’ll never be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Your career will end.” Needless to say I didn’t go. The client brought me boxes of pictures and thousands of feet of video tape. Thank goodness the suits and sunglasses never knew the client paid me thousands of dollars in cash which he handed to me while we quail hunted deep on his friend’s plantation in Southern Georgia. I never made it to Colombia but it’s on my bucket list.

AC: Which part of your story was the most difficult to write? Why?

 KC:Explosive Combination started as the first story in my Black Swan series but my agent said there was too much suspense and not enough r omance, to the extent she said it would be categorized Suspense with Romantic Elements. So I increased the romance and sent it back to her. Still not enough romance. “But the sex is good,” she told me. I added more romance but it still wasn’t enough for her liking since the other books in that series are closer to a suspenseful contemporary romance. In the end, we agreed to separate this book from the series which meant I had to completely rewrite it with new characters and eliminate the references to the characters in the series. What a pain! But I did it, found a few new twists and Explosive Combination was born. I’ll let you in on a little secret; there are still mentions of a few characters from the Black Swan series.

AC: If you had an unlimited advertising budget, how would you “get the word out” about your latest release?

KC: I’d make it a nation-wide Groupon and then I’d make a TV commercial and place it during Blacklist. I love the Elizabeth Keen character. She’s such a strong kick-ass woman at work and yet has this feminine side, very much like my female characters.

AC: What kind of elderly woman will you be?

KC: When I get really old, I want my kids to shake their heads and ask, “What the hell is Mom up to now? Do we need bail money…again?”

AC: If your next birthday party were going to have a theme based on one of your books, what would it be.

KCExplosive Combination is the perfect book to celebrate my May birthday. First, we’d all need to have a destination location that’s warm. I’m thinking the Caribbean. Then, we’d host an international contest to find the correct model/actor be Rafe, my hero in that book. And before you ask, of course it would involve a Speedo contest on the beach while we all sit under umbrellas sipping fruity drinks. Then contestants would be required to join us, individually, for meals. We need to judge their personalities and attributes up close and personal, don’t you agree? There needs to be dancing, too. Lots of sexy, body-rubbing dancing. As a shooter, I’d need to be sure each contestant could shoot better than me so we’d have to find a range and go shooting. Every night we’d have fireworks that lasted a long time. Ready to pack yet? AC: YES MA’AM!!!

AC: Okay, so now let’s get down to the nittygritty. Tell us where we can stalk find you and your book.

 

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BIO

KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense. Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination. She, her husband, and bird dog live in Tennessee on a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the shooting range or on the river.

 

 

 

ExplosiveCobination600x800[1]BUY LINKS

Print: Use discount code PYQ4X6YR for 10% OFF – Only at https://www.createspace.com/4626245

Buy from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Explosive-Combination-KaLyn-Cooper/dp/1495252698/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393394718&sr=8-1&keywords=Explosive+combination

eBook: Preorder from LSB at 20% OFF only at http://www.lsbooks.com/pre-order-coming-soon-romance-books-c322.php

Will be available March 3rd from Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, iTunes and where eBooks are sold

OTHER LINKS

Website: www.KaLynCooper.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kalyn.cooper.52

Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/kalyncooper/

Twitter: @KaLynCooperbooks