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Did You Know? Secrets And A Give-Away

Well, come on in and settle down. Would you like a nice cup of tea to go with the biscuits…sorry, cookies? So, you good and comfy?

My secret is that I am a Closet Translator;).

My mum is German and my Dad was British. After his death my mum took my brother and me back to Germany. So I am fluent in German… although now when my mum comes to visit we speak mostly Germish. Anyway, when I was living in London a friend of a friend was looking for someone to do a cheap translation for an anthology. I contacted him and he said yes! (Neither of us had much of an idea what we were in for;). He sent me the short story and off I went, no clue what I was doing, but certain it would be easy enough to do. I wasn’t actively writing at that time, so let’s just say it was an eye-opening experience.

At the same time the friend who hooked we up with the editor opened her literary agency. She asked me if I knew of any German authors who I believed would do well if translated into English. Federica de Cesco is a Swiss writer who writes YA and adult romance. Federica is Swiss and married to a Japanese photographer. She has lived all over the world and tells stories about young women from different cultures all over the world and the challenges they face. She was an auto-buy for me, so I suggested her. We contacted the German publisher and I translated the first couple of chapters of one of her books…It was an amazing experience to translate her words into English. Unfortunately we had very little idea on what to do with it, so none of the English publishers were interested. It is still one of my dreams to see her books in English and share her amazing writing with the world, but I don’t believe that will ever happen. Lol, and her books are a little dated. One of my favourite books is the story about a young woman living in Japan. She uses phone booths and listened to her music on a portable CD player;).

Shortly after I handed in the translated short story, I bumped into an acquaintance who was an editor at a small publisher in London. I mentioned to him that if he ever needed anything translated from German he should let me know. A little while later he asked if I would translate, not for publication, but for him to be able to read the story, a book by a well-known German children’s author. And I did. Again, it was a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun.

So, that’s me, the Closet Translator stepping into the light;). What is your secret?

Comment here and on all of the other Secret posts for a chance to win a surprise basket from the four of us. Each comment on one of our post is a chance to win. The more you comment, the more entries you collect.

Fictional Horror ain’t my bag!

I like to think of myself as a practical, down-to-earth person. But, to be honest, horror movies, books, or even just concepts strip all that away, exposing my superstitious and vulnerable underbelly. Feeling that way isn’t something I enjoy, so I no longer indulge in that genre. As I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered reality is bad enough without terrifying myself with (hopefully) imaginary monsters or the kinds of horrors that might exist but (again, hopefully) will never touch my life.

jack-nicholson-the-shiningWhen I was younger though, I remember huddling under the covers, reading Stephen King’s Firestarter, The Shining, etc. I also saw the movie version of The Shining and was suitably horrified, although I still think the book was better.

And there is one incident with a horror movie I’ll never forget, because it was so funny, and also a favorite memory of my teen years and of my brother.

Langella

 

My parents often went off on vacation, leaving my brother and me at home to hold down the fort. This particular time, I think I was too young for my brother to go out and leave me at home alone, so we settled in to watch a movie my brother-in-law had copied to VHS for us. Turned out to be Dracula, the 1979 version, starring Frank Langella. Okay, so it isn’t the scariest version ever made, but there was something about the way Dracula’s eyes vibrated whenever he saw blood, and the sight of him climbing down a sheer stone wall, that terrified me. But I didn’t want my brother to know how scared I was, so I didn’t cover my eyes or anything…

Then the movie ended and, realizing I would have to turn off the lights and go upstairs by myself, in the dark, if I didn’t get out of the room first, I bolted.

So did my brother!

And the night ended with neither of us willing to go back and turn off the TV or the lights, all of which stayed on until morning. It was a mini case of mass hysteria, LOL!

Now, I’ll leave you all to your zombies, possessed souls and other assorted things that go bump in the night… while I watch my true crime shows about mass murderers, serial killers, etc.

Which one is more horrible? I don’t know…

No. No. No. I can’t do it!

business card logoI can’t do it. Name my most favorite ebook ever. I’m too fickle and love too many books to come up with an all time favorite. I’ve been reading ever since I can remember. My grandmother took me and my sister to the library every couple of weeks where I would sit in front of the shelves and make a large pile of books to check out. My favorite author back then was Dr. Seuss and all the Dr. Dolittle books.  Once I’m into a series I want to read all the books from the beginning to the end, and in order.

As I grew older, I switched to fantasy and read Lord of the Rings (of course) and The Hobbit and Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. I moved on from there to murder mysteries, never growing out that genre. As an adult, I love m/m romance, murder mysteries, yaoi and literary fiction. I don’t have much time for reading as before, which is sad, because there is nothing better than losing myself in a good book.

Peace and Love!

Viki Lyn

http://www.vikilyn.com
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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.

The Best Book Evah!

Hey y’all, remember me? Danica Avet? Yeah, sorry I’ve been away for so long, but between real life going all bonkers and shoulder surgeries and deciding to self-publish something…can we say I feel a little crazy?

And then I saw the topic for the next two weeks and lost a little more of my mind. The best book or ebook…How can I possibly choose? I mean, what are we basing this on? Because there are a lot of books I adore for different reasons. If you’ve ever seen Mallrats, you can just imagine me saying this like Brodie trying to describe his favorite superhero or whatever that was.

Is it based on emotion? Because there’s one that immediately comes to mind called The Reluctant Dom. I bawled my eyes out for this book, sobbing so much that a family member asked me if someone else in our family hurt my feelings. Hello? I do not cry because my feelings get hurt. But this book broke my heart and healed it and broke it again and made me like it.

But on the other hand, I’ve read a non-erotic

romance that left me in tears after the first chapter. It was the first edition of the book which I read in the early 90’s and I’ll never forget that emotional train wreck. I loaned the book to my friend and never saw it again and when it was re-released several years later, it wasn’t the same. They took all the raw emotion out of it, I guess to make it more palatable but I still recommend it if you enjoy books that leave you in tears. Redeeming Love is actually an inspirational romance and it really does make you wonder if there are greater powers at work. I’ll have to see if I can find a used copy to see if the original is as good as I remember it.

But if we’re going off of books that are funny, and I love my funny books, there’s none better than G.A. Aiken’s What A Dragon Should Know. Oh Gwenvael is easily my favorite hero ever. Because he’s so ridiculously conceited and funny and I just love how well he’s written. There’s some serious stuff going on in this book, the series actually made my mom cryy’all, my mom hasn’t cried for a movie since she watched Imitation of Life in the 60s. For her to cry for a book series…well, that should tell you how deep it can get, but I tell you now these books area  riot when they’re not being deep and dangerous.

And the horrible thing is? I’ve only mentioned three books that I truly love. There’s no way I can get to all of them. Let me just say that when I cleaned out my bookshelves a couple of years ago to keep only what I couldn’t get rid of…I was left with 600 paperbacks. From historicals to paranormals to action-adventure romance, there are way too many out there for me to point to one and say “That’s the best book I’ve ever read.” Heck, I haven’t even mentioned Kresley Cole and she, along with Shelly Laurenston and J.R. Ward are the reason why I became a writer.

But one thing is for sure, one day I’d like my own books to be on the list of “best book evah”.

Have y’all read the three books I’ve mentioned or any of the authors mentioned here? What’s your favorite book by them?

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: http://www.pinterest.com

pinterest 10 tips

For tips on how to use Pinterest:

http://www.themomcreative.com/2012/03/10-tips-for-using-pinterest-well.html

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

http://pinterest.com/janspringer1/

Hope to see you there.

Happy Pinning!

jan

Following the King

Becoming a writer isn’t easy. SURPRISE!!! I know you’re stunned. I was!

Reading is so simple, so wonderful, so engrossing, that I thought writing should be exactly the same. I should be able to lose myself in the world I created just as easily as I do those of my favorite authors. BUT, it doesn’t work that way. Writing isn’t just fun. It’s honest-to-god, back breaking, agonizing, sweat inducing WORK.

Finding the perfect words are hard. Creating the right characters is tough. Building a story is like building a multi-trillion dollar skyscraper–screw up your inner structure, and it’s going to come tumbling down like Jenga blocks.

When it comes to who my writing idols are, I wish I could make it look as easy as they do.

Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Catherine Coulter, Susan Donovan, all these women create stories that read so easily! They’re my favorite books to read, they’re fun, full of love, life and laughter.

But my all-time idol, the man who has inspired me over and over again since I was just a teenager, is the master of horror himself.

Stephen King got me interested in books other than my usual fare. Someone gave my grandmother a big box of books, and she gave them to me one day when I was staying with her for the weekend. There were lots of different genres in there–thrillers, contemporary novels, love stories. But the book that kept sticking out to me was DOLORES CLAIBORNE.

I read the first page countless times. The whole story was narrated! It was in first person! The story was told so deeply from her point of view, because she was telling the story as she remembered it. It was odd. Frightening at first, a little off-putting. But eventually, I got it. I realized how I was supposed to read it. And since that day, I’ve read that book a billion times. I worked my way through some of his other classics. CARRIE, PET SEMATARY, THE GREEN MILE, and MISERY, to name a few. God, I loved MISERY.

 

His book ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT inspired me to write my first mainstream novel (as Gina Lamm). And since then, his advice to write what you love, not what you know, has permeated my books, making them (I hope) much more driven and appealing.

So yeah. Stephen King is my writing idol. He writes 2,000 words a day, every day, no matter what. I need that kind of drive, that kind of persistence. And I know I can do it. He’s my inspiration.

Who’s yours?

It’s Magic!

The theme for the next two weeks is what makes my genre fun.

I’ve been writing on and off since I was fifteen. Some of those stories were contemporary with not a shapeshifter or vampire or witch in sight, but for the most part, if I were to look back on my work, there was magic at work somewhere. When you introduce that illusive “magic” to a story, the possiblities are endless.

It also helps when you’ve written your way into a corner. You know, the plot has absolutely nowhere to go because you’ve made it nearly impossible to save the day. How do you fix that? Create a spell/ability for your hero/heroine and voila! It’s fixed!

Not that I use that very often. *cough* I try to work things out in a more logical way…but eh. Sometimes a writer’s got to do what a writer’s got to do!

But probably the best part of writing paranormal (and sci-fi which I’m still working on), is that the possibilities are endless. When you write in a genre with rules you make up, you’re only limited by your imagination. And let’s face it, we wouldn’t be writers if we didn’t have an imagination.

I love braingstorming new ways to twist old myths. The succubus who wants to fall in love instead of feeding off of sex. The banshee who can’t cry. A lion shifter who’s also a rock star. A fashoin designer grizzly bear. Okay, so I really like weird angles when I write my paranormal stories, but that’s all part of what makesk them so much fun to write! I don’t like the same old, same old. Just ask my stylist. Every time I go to see her, I tell her “I want to try something different”. I’m the same when when it comes to writing.

How about on the reading end? I love reading fusion stories. You know, historical paranormals, or sci-fi erotica *cough*. Do you like the same? What’s your favorite paranormal race to read about?

My favorite books from childhood

So I’m going to skew the subject a bit. Instead of my favorite literary classics, I’m going to show you my favorite books from when I was a kid. This is a very visual post, ya’ll. I’m not so much with the words today.

Okay, apparently I had a thing for animal books. 🙂

If on a winter’s night, a traveler passes through a wrinkle in time to where the wild things are, can she ever leave?

Today’s topic is favorite literary classics. I can’t pick just one so I opted for books that I return to again and again because they continue to speak to the parts of me that need to listen and be heard. Like me, the choices are eclectic.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Meg Murray, the heroine, made alienation cool. An outsider in her family and at school,  she was my geek heroine before the word geek hit mainstream.  Not only did the story itself peak my interest, but for the first time, I felt that I was not alone.  I may follow my own drummer, but I needed to know that there was a whole band out there I might be able to join at some point.  I still read it when I feel the need to hear that other band playing.  I bought my daughter a copy when she was born.  I hope it gives her the same sense of belonging if and when she needs it.

If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

When a writer like Calvino, who ripped convention into shreds and pushed the boundaries of creativity, penned a homage to readers, it is a tale like no other.  In a feast of changing styles and narrative forms,  Calvino memorialized the relationship between writer and reader in a book that had me turning pages, giggling and thinking non-stop. It is the  book I have gifted the most to others over the course of my life.

No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

The play that brought us the line “hell is other people.”  I come back to it again and again as a reminder that our own choices and our willingness to change ultimately determines the degree of happiness we allow in our lives. Heavy? Yes, very but life can be.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

So not to end this on a down note, my last selection is a children’s book, that I adore to this day. In few words and elegant drawings, Sendak shined a star on rebellion as a font of creativity, unconditional love as our source of strength and the need of the explorer to have a home to return to.  Not to mention the importance of having fun.

What’s a classic to you–a book that makes you cry, smile, scream? Why do certain books deserve immortality while others collect dust in the basement or on the cloud? I love to hear from you.

Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine in romance fiction. You can meet the first heroine in Fires of Justice at Elloras Cave, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Dangerously Sweet

Guest Blog:  A. M. Griffin

 

Looking for the perfect dangerously good sweet to eat while reading Dangerously Mine?

In honor of my debut Ellora’s Cave release Dangerously Mine (available December 14th) I want to share my favorite sinfully dangerous sweets in the world, Rich Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars.

Some years back I bought Hershey’s Classic Recipes. It’s a sweet cookbook that should be burned with the rest of the books that the world has deemed a threat to mankind.

The particular threat that I’m referencing to is on page 14. If you like to skirt the edge of wiggly-jiggly thighs then I invite you to try this sinfully dangerous sweet.

IMAG1169

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 cups (12-ounce package) Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, divided

1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (can be deleted if needed)

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

1 ¾ cups (10-ounce package) SKOR English Toffee Bits, divided

 

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking pan.
  2. Stir together flour and brown sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg; mix well. Stir in 1 ½ cups chocolate chips and nuts. Reserve 1 ½ cups mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Bake 10 minutes. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over hot crust. Top with 1 ½ cups toffee bits. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture and remaining ½ cup chips over top.
  4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ toffee bits. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes about 30 bars

 

Dangerously Mine Blurb:

DangerouslyMine_msr - CopyAfter aliens invade and conquer Earth, Eva is transported to a distant slave trading planet. Escape and freedom are her only priority, but none of her martial arts training prepared her for what she faces. She finds herself enslaved to the warrior King Taio. Eva’s drawn to this sexy alien male who ignites her heart and body.

Taio is disgusted with the idea of owning a slave—until now. From the moment he sees her, he knows Eva is his for the taking. Torn between lust and duty, Taio knows nothing will stop him from protecting his little warrior.

Excerpt:

Eva pressed her face against the rectangular window in the training room, watching the lights of unknown origin whiz by. She stood in one of the training rooms Ship had sequestered for her. After lunch, she felt more than a little stir-crazy. She needed to work off some of the tension that coiled around her muscles. It took all her strength not to get up and leave the dining hall while Taio’s gaze bored through her back. Did he really have to keep sending those smoldering looks her way?

His lavender eyes locked on her whenever she entered a room. The intensity of his gaze made her body respond in a way that she didn’t want it to. No one would ever consider her to be a coward. But there was something about the way he looked at her that had her frightened.

And that tattoo on his face. Sometimes it intrigued her and other times it made her scared. Who would allow such an intricate drawing to be completed? The pain alone would have been enough to deter any sane person from getting it, alien or not.

His body was a whole different story. It was downright criminal to have a body like his. The man had a body that would make a nun want to sin. He was tall, unbelievably so, but he was all rippling muscle.

This vessel was full of men and the only one who would give her a second glance was Taio. The thought should have given her some type of comfort. Instead of beating off twenty men, there was only one she would have to worry about. There was no mistaking his intentions. Every time he looked her way, it was as if he were willing her clothes to fall from her body. Her only counterattack so far was to stay away from him.

But she did have to agree with Ship, being under the care of Taio was for the best right now. She was fed, the dining hall was open around the clock, which was a plus. Oftentimes she found herself standing in front of the computer, requesting the buro flank with nitlick soup after everyone else was fast asleep. These were the closest thing to Earth food she could find. They had the same taste as chicken and tomato soup.

She was finally clean. Although she would have loved to feel the caress of running water on her skin again, the ionized shower hit the spot. She had clothes, which, although they were tight, were at least clean. And most of all, she didn’t feel her safety was in any type of jeopardy, not at the moment.

She wanted to find Ally, but she had to face the hard facts.

She was far away from home.

In an alien world.

No money whatsoever.

Nowhere to go.

And alone.

Finally, pulling herself away from the window, she pulled a training bag from the corner to start her workout. Hand-to-hand combat always made her feel primal, the main reason she loved it so much.

Within minutes, her training suit clung to her body, the lightweight material not constricting her movements at all. Perspiration covered her from head to toe, her once tied-back hair hanging wet and loose around her. Her muscles thrived under the workout, coming alive once again.

Heavy breathing behind her caught her off guard. She flipped away, landing in a fighting stance facing the intruder.

Taio stood in the doorway, watching. He gave a curt nod her way, the acknowledgement doing nothing to make her feel relaxed.

“You have good skills, Eva.” He hooked his thumbs in the waist of his pants and leaned on the doorway.

Her name never sounded better.

“Thank you.” She relaxed and straightened, her eyes still watching him. This was his first time speaking to her since their ill-fated first encounter.

She didn’t dare move closer, especially since she still didn’t know his intentions. She didn’t move away either, fearing he would view that as a sign of weakness. So she stood her ground, her body betraying her in the worst way. Her heart sped up a little and her breathing became more labored. Now she found her nipples hardening as her name rolled off his tongue.

I know trouble when I see it.

Eva willed her body to fight against whatever “mojo” he was throwing at her.

Taio walked into the room and took a sword off a rack on the wall. He began flexing it, testing its weight. The gesture caused his arm and chest muscles to ripple with each movement.

Jesus.

“Who taught you fighting moves?” he asked.

“My sensei, he lived back home.”

“Earth,” he said as a statement, rather than a question.

“Yes, Earth. Ann Arbor, Michigan, more specifically.”

She eyed the weapons on the wall. She was trained to use various fighting weapons—sais, kamas, knives, nunchakus, bo staffs and swords. She could show him a thing a two.

She walked over to the rack and took another sword off the wall.

Shit!

It weighed a ton! No wonder he smirked when she picked it up. Even though she strained to hold it in both hands, she made sure not to let him know. She would give anything to smack that look right off his face. Instead, she concentrated hard on not dropping the sword. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. She dared not try to maneuver it as he had.

“A male taught you?” He sounded surprised.

“Yes. Thirteen Earth years of training.” Taio laughed and shook his head in disbelief. “It’s not unusual on my planet,” she said. “A male can teach a female how to fight or even a female can teach a male.”

He laughed harder and shook his head. “There could never be such a thing on my world.”

She turned away. “I earned a black belt, first Dan in Kyokushin Karate. On Earth I’m considered to be a great fighter.”

“Your people did not fare well in the war against the Loconuist. The fighting techniques of your species mean nothing to me.”

Ouch.

If the sword in her hands wasn’t so heavy, she would have swung it at him.

Asshole.

“We didn’t know how to fight them. We’d never encountered aliens before.”

“Then it is good that I will take care of you from now on.”

Her head snapped around. “I don’t need you to take care of me.”

“You were captured by the Loconuist and the Tresdonians almost killed you.”

She shrugged. “But they didn’t.”

He smirked. “Because I saved you.”

“Thanks, but I can take care of myself.”

“It doesn’t matter. You are my responsibility now. You are my slave.”

Her eyes, squinting and cold, fixed on his. “Ship told me those assholes on that planet gave me to you. I think you got cheated. I’m not a slave. Not yours or anyone else’s.”

“If this arrangement does not suit you, I could turn the vessel around and give you back to the Tresdonians.” He turned from her and put the heavy sword back on the wall rack.

Her heart began pounding in her chest. He wouldn’t… “No. I’m not going back there.” She held her sword tightly in her grasp.

“Then you are my slave.” He stalked slowly toward her. His eyes locked on hers.

“No.” She backed away from him.

This cannot happen.

“You are mine.” He took another step toward her. “You will need to get used to the idea.”

“Never.”

He stopped his advancement. They stood facing each other. Her breathing came out in deep and heavy breaths. Her heart thumped in her chest.

Abruptly, he turned and walked from the room. She blinked at the empty doorway. The cold surface of the wall was against her back. She held the sword close to her chest, shielding her body. She stayed there until her arms shook from the sword’s weight.

She was no one’s slave.

 

Enjoy! Griffin

 

Author Bio:

 

A.M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

Now available from Ellora’s Cave – http://www.jasminejade.com/p-10561-dangerously-mine.aspx

You can find out what else I’m working on by visiting: http://www.amgriffinbooks.com

Like my FaceBook page! http://www.facebook.com/amgriffinbooks

Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/AMGriffinbooks

 

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