Monday, July 29, 2013

Feel like getting naughty with me in Vegas?

Now that I have your attention...

I will be participating in the Naughty Mafia Rocks Las Vegas event mid-August, as part of the Sunday Sinners Signing event. I will join a host of other amazing writers so we can mingle with readers and bloggers in what promises to be a pretty epic weekend.

I will even be bringing copies of my newest book, "Unstoppable," to sign and sell as an exclusive "pre-release". If you've been waiting for word on "Unstoppable," the next book in the Jace and Jordi "Fierce" trilogy, your wait is almost over. And I'll have more details on that coming really soon.

Though I'm no Vegas Virgin by far (Steven and I got married there in August 2001,) this is my first signing event. Seeing your friendly faces is just the welcome I need to make it spectacular. So grab a ticket and come on out. I'll be bringing a small sampling of my books to sell (The Complete Groupie Trilogy, Groupie and Fierce,) along with any extras I happen to have laying around the house. If you have a specific request, you can leave a comment below or message me directly through Twitter or Facebook.

And, as soon as I have confirmation, I may have some more exciting news coming shortly. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for all the latest!

If you can't make it to Vegas, never fear. Anyone who posts a comment is eligible to win any books/swag I have left over after the trip. Tell me your favorite book, favorite couple, favorite scene, and I'll reward one commenter with signed books and goodies.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In honor of #SDCC...

Weird things are afoot in Stone Gully - the town built by a meteor. It is where sullen 12-year-old Alice Thorton finds herself after the death of her beloved father. The only thing left that means anything at all to her is his prized Joe Dakota comic book collection and a ratty old pair of rare 3-D glasses. These, along with an equally rare comic book, are about to open a portal between the real world and a two-dimensional one, unleashing chaos only quick-thinking geeks can combat.

You used to call them geeks. Prepare to call them heroes.

"Comic Squad" Excerpt, Chapter Five

Back in her bedroom, Alice lay tummy-down on the bed, and dove into her new – yet nefariously confiscated – comic book. Sure, she'd broken some rules to get it. But Dwight stole from her first. As far as she was concerned, turnabout was fair play.

Just as she withdrew the 3-D glasses from her overalls, a knock came at the door. Before she could answer, Barbara cracked it open and peaked in. “Can I come in?”

“You already are in,” Alice pointed out.

As Barbara opened the door wider she caught sight of Alice's reading material. “Oh, Alice, I thought we'd talked about this. We decided you weren't going to spend so much time on your comic books.”

“You decided,” Alice countered.

Barbara leaned against the door frame. She was tired. She was always just really tired. “They're a waste of time,” she said as she rubbed her eyes. “They're not real.”

Alice gave her a pointed look. “They're real to me.” Then, “If Dad was here, he'd understand.”

Barbara spotted the family photo by Alice's bed. Her daughter's barb hit its mark. Suddenly overcome with a vulnerability she couldn’t afford to show her daughter, Barbara left the room.

Alice slid out of bed and headed over to the door, where she watched through the crack as her mother disappeared into her own bedroom. Within minutes Barbara was out again, a novel and towel in hand. She disappeared into the bathroom, closed the door behind her, and began running her bath water.

Alice closed her own door and ran back over to pounce on her bed. She sent her father's image a grin. This one's for you, Daddy, she thought as she slipped on the glasses.

She opened the book, and, much as the comic store, shards of light spilled from inside. Bright color crawled up her arms and over her face, and Alice's scream was lost in the howl of the wind.

With Joe Dakota safely tied up in one of the examination rooms, Dr. Horror was free to put the finishing touches on the green potion. Using tongs, he delicately poured it from a beaker into a test tube, and secured it with a cork.

Twitch picked up the beaker to examine the strange, glowing fluid.

“Put that down!” Dr. Horror barked. Twitch was quick to comply. “It's the only batch in existence. All I need is for some nitwit to pour it out… or worse yet, drink it.”

Outside the room Alice suddenly found herself hunched down by the door, the 3-D glasses hanging by one of the straps of her overalls. She looked inside the room, and gasped when she saw Dr. Horror and Twitch, and the bubbling tube of green.

“What would happen if someone drank it?” asked Twitch.

Dr. Horror smirked at him. “You ever dissolved snails with salt?” Twitch nodded. “It's like that.” Dr. Horror spilled a drop of the liquid on the lab table. It bubbled and smoked and sizzled right through the metal surface. “Only it hurts.”

“So what's it going to do to Joe Dakota?”

Dr. Horror chuckled. “Joe who?”

“Joe Dakota. You know. That big, strong guy who comes along and messes up all your plans...”

“I know who, you twit. But after tonight, I think he might be more of a what.”

Alice flattened back against the wall. A million questions flooded her brain at once, the most important of which was how to get out of there without getting caught. The second most important: how to get out and take that strange and dangerous potion with her? She grabbed the magical glasses.

One thing was certain; she could do neither without them. She tucked them into a pocket for safe keeping.

She peered back around the door to find both Dr. Horror and Twitch standing with their backs to her. She knelt down and quietly duck-walked across the room, then hunched down beside their lab table. Listening for their steps going in one direction, she managed to go in the opposite direction, remaining hidden from their view as they turned for the door.

“Come,” Dr. Horror told Twitch, “let's make sure that Joe is safely secured for tonight's main event.”

They departed the room, leaving the beaker and test tube on the table. When she thought the coast was clear, she peered over the edge of the table, her heartbeat so loud it thundered in her ears. She found herself staring directly into the creepy, bubbling, green fluid in the tube.

She gulped as she reached for it, hesitating only slightly as she spotted the deep hole that one drop had burned into the table’s surface. She’d read the books, she knew what Dr. Horror had created this stuff to do. Just as the original formula had reinforced every cell inside Joe Dakota’s body, reinforcing them with the power to rejuvenate at the least little hint of destruction, this new formula was created to do the opposite. Injecting this potion into a human body would cause each cell to break down and combust. The destruction would be quick and total. That was why she knew she couldn’t take a chance and leave it behind. Just as her hand touched the tube, lightning filled the room and thunder rattled the windows; Alice nearly came up out of her overalls.

Finally, before she could lose her nerve, she grabbed the tube and stuffed it into one of her many pockets and prayed the cork would hold.

She sprinted to the door and checked to see if the hall was clear. She crept out slowly and quietly with no idea where she was heading, but determined to make sure that potion never went anywhere near Joe Dakota.

Back in Stone Gully, Barbara relaxed in the tub, unaware that her daughter was in any danger, other than turning her brain to goo reading a silly comic book. She reached for her own book and tried to do a little escaping herself. After a page or two, she threw it aside in frustration. There was no need to read brain candy like a romance novel; she'd given up on those dreams years ago. As for mystery, suspense, or horror, nothing was more frightening than trying to raise a child and pay a mortgage she could no longer afford… or even rent for a rat-trap like the one they now called home.

There was really nothing fiction could offer her she that didn't get plenty of in real life. Like Alice, she had had enough.

A nearby Joe Dakota graphic novel caught her eye. After a slight hesitation, she reached for it, opening to a panel with a hallway similar to the one her daughter was now navigating.

As Alice eased along the corridor, it dawned on her that her footsteps weren't the only sound in the empty hallway. With every step she made, another step echoed her own. She gulped as she spun around to take on whoever … or whatever… was behind her.

Instead of Twitch, like she feared, it was a very contrite Dwight.

“You!” she exclaimed. Dwight quickly covered her mouth with his hand and dragged her into a nearby supply room.

She wiggled free. “Let go of me!”

“How did you get here?” Dwight asked.

“The same way you did. Through the comic book using the glasses you stole!”

“This really isn't the time to start assessing blame. In case you haven't noticed, we're stuck in a comic book.”

“Which we wouldn't be, if you hadn't stolen my glasses. We have to get Joe Dakota.”

“He's a bit tied up at the moment...”

Alice's eyes narrowed as she looked at him.

“Like I said, maybe not the best time for pointing fingers here.”

Shadows passed across the frosted glass of the window in the door. “Someone's coming,” she whispered. “Hide!”

Dwight nodded and ducked into a nearby closet. Alice scrambled onto the bottom of another lab table, where she came face to face with a green, five-eyed rabbit suspended in murky water. Just as quickly she shot out from under the table and headed for the closet. As she ducked in, Twitch opened the outer door, holding a jar with a three-headed rat.

He reached below the table Alice had vacated and stored his jar next to the other one. As he was about to leave, Dr. Horror hollered from the other room, “Get me another lab coat while you're in there.”

Twitch opened the closet door to find Dwight and Alice staring at him wide-eyed. Dwight handed him a coat. “Thanks,” Twitch replied.

“No problem,” Dwight responded.

Twitch closed the door, but a beat later his eyebrows furrowed. He turned to open the closet again… only this time there was nobody standing there. With a shrug, he left the room, closing the outer door with a distinct click.

In the closet, both Dwight and Alice wriggled free from the lab coats in which they had hidden.

They ran to the outer door, only to find it locked from the other side.

“Great,” Alice hissed. “We're trapped. What did you say happened to Joe Dakota?”

From somewhere across the galaxy, Alice heard her mother, “Alice? Are you awake?”

Alice was confused, but elated. If she could hear home, she could get home. “Mom!” She pulled the 3-D glasses from her pocket.

“Give them to me,” Dwight instructed.

“No way! They're mine!”

“It's the only way to get out of here,” he pleaded. Just then they heard keys jangle in the door. Both Dwight and Alice made a grab for the glasses, ripping them completely in half.

“You idiot!” Alice hissed.

Through the door they heard Dr. Horror grumble, “Can't do anything right. I wear a medium, not a small.”

“I have an idea,” Dwight told her, before he put his half of the glasses on his face.

With only the slightest hesitation, Alice mirrored his action. They clasped hands. Full color faded to black and white; light gave way to darkness.