Monthly Archives: August 2013

Biting My Nails And, Oh, So Curious! Ginn Hale – The Rifter Series #fantasy #amreading

I had a plan to write about some older series I have loved, like, say, Frank Herbert’s Dune or L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, but recently I started reading The Rifer Series by Ginn Hale and it has consumed my heart and brain!

Book One

The Rifer is a fantasy series set between earth and another plane. It  leaps through time and place, building a world that I can see clearly in my mind with every word. I had read and loved both Wicked Gentlemen (need a sequel!) and The Lord of the White Hell (1 & 2)  so I am not surprised that The Rifter series had gobbled up my brain, but I suppose I am surprised at the extent that I feel Hale has improved in her skills. The jumping through time, the building of the world, all feels quite masterful, like this kind of thing has started to come to her like breathing. There are so few places where you see the author at work.

I am emotionally invested in all of the characters. They all have so much to lose and she’s placed them in such utterly impossible situations. I am most driven, however, by my insatiable curiosity. The leaps through time, the interactions between different characters in different time lines all makes me desperately hungry for the information to put the pieces together. If, for you, part of a good reading experience is the sense of being compelled to go forward, of feeling constantly in a state of, “How? But why? Is this going to be fixed? Oh, god, my heart!”, then this is the kind of reading experience for you.

I am only in Book Three (Black Blades) currently, so I fully admit that with seven books to go everything could go to shit and what looks like masterful world-building could become a total disaster, but, uh, I’m an optimist, okay? And I’m feeling sure this series is going to rock my world and my heart. I suspect you should let it rock yours, too.


By the way, the books are available on Amazon, but they are listed there out of order. So, be sure to read them as follows:

1. The Shattered Gates
2. Servants of the Crossed Arrows
3. Black Blades
4. Witches’ Blood
5. The Holy Road
6. Broken Fortress
7. Enemies and Shadows
8. The Silent City
9. The Iron Temple
10. His Holy Bones

The story skips around in time so much that if you don’t read in the right order, I imagine it would actually be possible to not realize it for quite some time! I solved that problem by buying it directly from Blind Eye Books. It is available in both ebook and print form. I have a feeling this will be one that I re-buy just to have the print books!

Oh, and another favorite series of mine, though I admit to being a bit biased, is the one I write with Keira Andrews! Our Tempting Tales Series, but of course! The latest of which, a stand alone sexy m/m re-imagining of The Twelve Dancing PrincessesLove’s Nest, is available on Amazon, B&N, All Romance EBooks, and Ellora’s Cave.

Also, if you’re interested in Love’s Nest, August 16th is the last day to comment over at Stumbling Over Chaos for a chance to win a free copy of Love’s Nest!

And, lastly, if you’ve never read Ginn Hale’s other work, do check it out. She’s got a gift for making me love her books. And look at this! Who wouldn’t want to read something written by a woman wearing these glasses?

Ginn Hale

Keira Andrews and Leta Blake write fairy tale inspired m/m erotica and romantica with Ellora’s Cave. Check out Love’s Nest, available on Wednesday through Ellora’s Cave! And also remember to look at Earthly Desires and Ascending Hearts, the first two books in the Tempting Tales series, available for purchase at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Ellora’s Cave.

Serial Lover

Give me a good series done right and I will love you forever. Getting lost in a book is one thing, to get lost in a whole different is something else; special. Classic ones like the Belgariad and Pern are ones I love to reread, like revisiting an old friend. But I like making new ones as well.

The Alien series by Gini Koch. An automatic buy, though I’m somewhat behind. I love its contemporary feel mixed with sci fi, its kick-ass heroine and the encompassing story arc. I do struggle with the more political ones, but that’s me.

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. Another must-buy. This series is urban fantasy and throws just about every mythology in the mix. I love Atticus, but more I adore (as do most readers I think) his talking dog Oberon. The magic system is solid, the writing crisp and witty, and the plethora of gods somewhat mind-boggling. Fun, fun, fun.

Allison Pang’s Abby Sinclair series is another urban fantasy I’m getting into, along with Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose. I read and loved Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds and ache to read Mockingbird. I still love reading stand-alones, but I have to admit to being a serial lover.

Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.

My Love/Hate Relationship with Series


  • The Never Ending Series – this is nothing but a blatant money grab and a disrespect for character arc. In order to sustain this series, an author has to master the art of throwing lots of shi…er…stuff at the fan while NOT advancing the actual story line.
  • The I Was Just Kidding Series – you know this one. Sing the refrain with me. This is the series that sets up a deep, rich world, replete with rules we can all understand. And then the author gleefully nukes those rules in subsequent books. Yes. You are thinking of the same person I’m thinking of whose movies are listed if you look this egregious series type up in the dictionary. He’s not the only, or even the worst, offender. Just the poster child for immeasurable fan rage.
  • The Top That Series – this series starts out well enough, but alas, it falls victim to its own success and becomes a Never Ending Series. At that point, the author, in an effort to make each story better than the last, puts the characters in increasingly ridiculous situations in order to top the last novel. Eventually, this leads to I Was Just Kidding seriesdom.


  • Harry Potter – for recurring characters across a set period of time, who51oSZOESQ6L__SL160_SH30_OU01_SX135_ remained true to their arcs and to their personalities throughout. Humor, danger, stakes – this series got 90% of everything right. The gripes with series that I have I blame more on the editors not actually editing than on anything else. Also, the gripes, they are minor in the face of the awesome. Yes, of course the twins are my favorite characters.
  • Firefly (Shush! I know it’s a TV show! I know it was canceled years ago. Don’t mock my pain!) – Excellent use of recurring characters in conflict with one another, trapped by differing sets of circumstances. Smart dialog. Choices I could believe people might actually make given the options at hand. Love the slow turn up of pressure that living on the edge of ‘never having enough’ and ‘wanted by more than the law’ brought to the story.
  • Linnea Sinclair’s Dock Five Series – For two of the books, there were recurring characters, but then the stories branch out to other members of a family. It gives the series a great range of flavors (in that you see things through a number of different character lenses) all while getting to remain in the richly textured world (and the conflict therein) that’s been built. It’s not quite like getting to start a whole new series each time I pick up a new book, but it’s close.
  • Star Trek (novels – don’t much care which flavor) – I love these because it’s a testimony to the strength of established characters. Star Trek novels are rarely written by the same author more than two or three times. There are HUNDREDS of these novels out. Yet if you pick up one of those hundreds and begin reading, you’ll instantly recognize the characters and the world. Granted, there are some mighty strong controls in place to make sure no one does anything really silly.

I think I’ve already talked about the childhood trauma of never being able to find a complete series? We won’t rehash that old wound. Just suffice it to say, thank the internet for my new-found ability to buy ALL THE BOOKS in a series in one go. That, all by itself may be my greatest series love.

Series Love: Read, Relive, Rejoice

Sexy muscular man isolated on blackWell, my beloved MANhandlers, this week’s little bit o’ sexiness is here, ready for some serious appreciation. Gorgeous, isn’t he?

There is a simple truth in my life: I’m a literary series whore. Yes, yes. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I’m a total Alpha leader in the SLUT regime. (SLUT = Series Lovers Uniting Together). I read my first series in college and was hooked. The book? Outlander by the infamous Diana Gabaldon. Again, I know it’s shocking. I blame her for my series love, and rightly so.

Three of my favorite series of all times are Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld (LotU) and Larissa Ione’s Demonica and Lords of Deliverance series. Why? Recurring characters done well. When I get into a series, I’m almost obsessive compulsive about it. I have to real All the Books. But there are some series I just can’t get into. I won’t name names because it’s pointless — it’s just my taste and says nothing about the quality of the authors’ works. Knowing I’m going to get a little nutty about reading everything in a series (and in order, thanks), I tend to be a little snobbish about the series I pick up. But Gena and Larissa? Doesn’t matter what they write — I’ll read it. And if it’s in a series, new or old, I’m all over it.

Pile of books on a black backgroundThe greatest thrill for me in reading a series is meeting secondary characters who, at some point, get their own books. It’s like literary foreplay, isn’t it? Teasing and tempting and yet waiting for the big payoff? And when it gets there, and it’s done right, it’s so worth the wait! I typically go through and re-read the series when a new book is coming out, just so I’m emotionally connected to the players. It’s just my modus operandi. The appeal that a series is so well-written that I can read and re-read it and still receive ridiculous satisfaction? That’s a long-term love affair right there.

As for writing, I’ve found series flip my switch. I fall in love with the characters in a much more intimate way and want to play in their world agains. I love to create secondary characters readers want stories for (hello, Darius fans!). My aim is to scratch that itch at some point. Always.

I’m seriously interested in finding out whether or not I’m on a sparsely populated island of series lovers or if the world is rich with them. Give me a shout out and let me know what you think about the value of series. Cheers!

What works and doesn’t work in a book series?

I’m in the process of developing a series (maybe two), which has prompted me to ask the question, what works and what does not, in a book series.  Since its series theme week here at Darker Temptations, I’m sharing the thoughts I’ve been tossing around on the issue.

I love a good series.  When done well, they reel me in, because I get so invested in the world and the characters in it, that I can survive a bad book or story and am willing to forgive a transgression or two or three (I will give up eventually) but may come back years later.   Here are the things I identified that work for me.

Characters who own your heart (but their stories must deliver)

Take some of the most popular.  J.R. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood.  By the end of the first book, Wrath and Beth’s story,  I was in love with all the brothers, wanting for them to finally find their happy ending.  So I read, a lot of them, and enjoyed some of them.  But I found the world to be only so, so.  When Phury’s story disappointed, it was almost over for me. Phury had my heart breaking in half through so many books with his unrequited love for his twin’s love  that sometimes I read many of the books for him alone.  When he was matched with Cormia who I found to be pretty bland, like his story, I drifted away.  I may go back, but with the series, it was the people, more than the world.

A World that Draws You in

My absolute favorite series, also one of the more popular, is Nalini Singh’s Psy/changeling world.  I just love the universe she’s built, the interplay between the various changeling packs, the changelings and the Psy, and the humans who are slowly being integrated it all.  Each grouping is a world within a world, with its own well-crafted rules and relationships.  Not all the stories worked for me, but the world she created keeps drawing me back and there are still a lot of characters I want to see matched up with their HEA. Vasic, Aiden, and Alice anyone?  I’m hooked and I’ll stick with it to the end.

Original, Creative Plots in Each Story that Move the Whole Series Forward

Another thing to watch out for that does not work for me is  the reusing of story lines across a series. Lora Leigh’s breed series hooked me into paranormal erotic romance so I naturally turned to her Elite Ops to check it out.  Each book had more or less the same plot as the one before. I read three and stopped.  I’m also not a really big fan of her female characters either but that’s another post.

Closure (within a reasonable period of time)

And finally, and this may be my issue, but the series has to come to an ending with full closure.  Harry Potter and a series organized to end in seven years and seven installments is public relations brilliance and reader heaven for me.  I stopped reading the Breeds (although I will read Cassie’s story when it comes out)  and never made it past the first book in Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake series because there were already 20+ waiting afterwards and they were still coming.  I need a series to conclude.  And a planned ending is all the better, because it makes each book all the sweeter.

What about you all. What works and does not work for you in a series?

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. Meet Jocelyn, a single mom who gets a second chance at love in her newest book Next Move available from Ellora’s Cave and Amazon


Hi, my name is Tina and I am a bookaholic.

Indeed, my biggest time suck are books. My TBR piles are taller than I am. But those aren’t my only problem.

I re-read! Indeed, I am one of those people who re-reads a book she has enjoyed. Over and over and over again. And I will read it cover to cover, not just the good parts.

The other week I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy of Battle Magic, a book by well-known and fabulous YA author Tamora Pierce. I gulped it down and then checked my book shelf for other books set in that world. I promptly re-read one and then ordered eight more books I read years ago, but didn’t own. They were quick reads, but they still kept me occupied for a whole evening.

Obviously there is no way I can put these books down and write myself. The world would come to an end if I don’t finish this particular book in my hands;).

Another example is Relentless by Lauren Dane. As soon as I finished the book I once again walked straight to my shelf and pulled down the rest of her series.

Once in a while I manage to restrain myself and actually make it to my desk, but it can be a vicious battle.

As an author I need to read books inside and outside of my writing genre. But sometimes I go just a tad overboard…

What about you? Do you have a book series that makes you drop everything or an author who sucks you into their writing and doesn’t let go?

Internet Time Suck – Luv my Pinterest!

I don’t know how I survived without my Pinterest. Does anyone else have this problem? LOL

My pinterest name is janspringer1 and I am a pinterestaholic. There, my deep dark secret is out!

pinterest logo

I love pinning pictures onto boards. My favorite is collecting photos with similar color themes. Black Beauty, Sapphire, Emerald, Shades of Chiffon, Gold, Silver, Tiffany Blue and Copper Love, to name just a few of my color boards. My boards include themes such as birdhouses, autumn, leather & latex, man candy, christmas, the walking dead, kiss kiss and bondage, again, to name a few. At last count, if I counted right, I have more than 250 themed boards and I have the pleasure of following 2,700 pinners and am being followed by 1,800 pinners.

For my writing, I find the pictures are an inspiration. They inspire me to get ideas of where a story is going. My heroes and heroines are retrieved from my Man Candy and Heroine boards as well as from whomever is pinning hot looking hunks or interesting women at the time. I use pictures to decorate my heroes and heroines’ rooms in their houses, the cars they drive, bedrooms they make love in and even lovemaking positions.

If I see something I like, I will like it and/or pin it and I am thrilled when someone “likes” one of my pins too.

Pinterest can be found here:

pinterest 10 tips

For tips on how to use Pinterest:

If you’d like to follow one, several or all of my boards, my pinterest name is janspringer1

Hope to see you there.

Happy Pinning!



woman black and white film noir lookMerenda is an Italian term used by my relatives that means a group of women meeting for afternoon tea and gossip. Just change it to coffee, and pretty much that’s me, meeting my friends at the local coffee shop. We talk for hours, throw the tarot, work on our sketch books and sometimes go shopping. I can’t seem to get away for at least three hours once I’m there. My family and friends come first in my life so I don’t find it a problem I have to solve in order to write more. I choose not to write as many books, and that’s okay.

Merenda has to be in my DNA – from the time of my great grandmother, the women in my family have gathered to share gossip, laughter, as well as their sorrows. I come from a strong line of women who held the family together by sheer determination and will. They were an incredible support group for each other, as women often are.

Happy Reading!

Viki Lyn

Once Viki Lyn wrote her first male/male romance, she was hooked. Now she gets to write about two sexy men as heroes instead of one.

What inspires – the reality that romance between lovers is a hope more than a guarantee. Her stories are sexy, but it’s always romance that drives the story to its final happily-ever-after.

Viki has worn many hats, working in corporate finance to owning her own art gallery, but writing has been a long lasting passion.

Viki Lyn: Award winning author of male/male paranormal and contemporary romances. You can find all of Viki’s books at the following sites: Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and GLBT Bookshelf.

Thou shall not kill.

For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.

As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.

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