Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest Post - Imogene Nix


Today I'm handing over the reins and the studded riding crop to Imogene Nix, who's not only a fellow Aussie, but also a fellow QUEEEENSLAAAANDAAAAAH! 


Imogene's latest book, "The Illuminated Witch", is making the rounds right now, and she's very kindly taken the time and effort not only to manifest one of her characters in the flesh using nothing more than baking soda, four eggs and a jar of expired sea monkeys, but she's gone as far as interviewing him for us.

Take it away, Imogene. And if you could give it a light dusting before you bring it back, that'd rock. Cheers!

* * * * *



Character Interview Javed 

Imogene wanders in, dressed in her uniform black pants, boots with exceptionally high heels and flowing black blouse. She is followed by a handsome man in his mid thirties. He’s quiet and respectful as well as immaculately dressed in an Armani suit with a stark white shirt, which highlights his Arabic heritage.
As Imogene sits down in an over stuffed chair, he takes the seat next to her. She drags an old battered notebook out of her bag and flicks through until she finds the page she’s seeking. Then she looks up.
“Thanks for meeting with us today. Javed here struggles to get away at the moment as the next is settling in.” 
“Things are busy at the moment.”
Our host nods. “Imogene, you’re sure you are happy to run the interview?”
Imogene smiles broadly. “Of course! It’s truly my pleasure.”
She turns to Javed who visibly relaxes.
“Javed, you’re the master of the first new house in a century. It’s one of those events that stand out. Can you tell us why you were chosen to lead it?”
Javed shakes his head and appears somewhat bemused. “The honour that the Council have done me leaves me humbled. I had no expectation that something like this would happen. Off the top of my head, I could name maybe a dozen other warriors who would have better served a nest in their own right.” He is patently uncomfortable with the topic of conversation.
Imogene cocks her head to one side. “And yet, they chose you.”
With a smile, Javed inclined his head. “In shaa Allah.”
Imogene laughs lightly and gives a tiny shake of her head. “Alright then. Tell me about the day you met your partner, Celina.”
He smiles. It’s broad and his eyes glint with remembered emotions. “I was flying into the nest offices with Hope when we landed. It was just after dusk, the time we usually start to get about. I noticed her instantly. The red hair, and her pallor. I think it was that initially. Plus there was a prickle, a bit like an electric charge that filtered through the air. Now, I know that was a wisp of magic escaping her. Anyway, when she collapsed I caught her. She’s been mine ever since.” He gives a deep rumbling laugh.
Imogene presses forward. “But you didn’t know, at that time, that you were destined to be together?”
“No. That came later.”
“But for everything that’s gone right, there is still a looming thread.”
Javed’s face shutters at this point. “There is.”
“You have plans to defeat him?” Imogene leans back into her seat.
“We do, however, as I’m sure you’ll understand, our tactics must remain hidden. After all, the fate of so many hangs in the balance.”
Imogene nods and flicks through the notebook in her hand. “Okay then. One more question then I’ll let you go.”
“Of course.”
“You were turned…”
“A long time ago. During the crusades. My sire was a knight and I was changed against my will. I had gone only into a public house to save my friends, when he took me. I don’t remember much of what happened. Afterwards, Phillipe schooled me in my new life. How to survive. How to learn about the new world I inhabited.”
“But you went home?” Imogene waits as Javed draws a deep breath.
“I did. I was married and like any person, I wanted to go home. To see my wife. But I couldn’t. She couldn’t accept the me that I’d become. I had to let her go. I carried that pain for a long time. Celina made me understand though, that I had to be tempered in order for the steel of my conviction to harden.” His gaze carries a far away look for a moment then he snaps out of his memories.
“Ahh…” He glances at his watch. “I must be gone. I have a meeting with my banker and my Yeux Secondes. You will excuse me?”
Javed stands, brushes his pants and bows deeply to both Imogene and myself, before walking brusquely away.
“He’s an amazing man. I’m so honoured to know him and Celina.” Imogene’s murmured words are met with the closing of her notepad. “I too have to hurry off. I’m meeting Celina in an hour and I still haven’t eaten.”
She gives me a brief hard hug and a kiss on the cheek, before whirling in a cloud of Chanel No.5 and heading for the door. She turns back, her hazel eyes glinting in the light. “Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.” Then she’s gone.

* * * * *

The Illuminated Witch
Blurb:

Celina has always been alone, until the new Master, Javed, draws her close. But danger and passion are never far away. 

After years of struggling alone, Celina—a witchling of immense power—must find her place in the world of vampires.

But while Javed is building a new nest—the first new one in a century—and struggling to overcome his own demons, an ancient evil stirs.

Now with Celina in danger, time running out and the demands of a fledgling nest, can their love possibly overcome every obstacle?

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief reference to incest.


Buy Links:


Excerpt:

Celina grabbed her aching head. Another headache, just like the day before, but perhaps it was more violent. Her stomach lurched uncertainly and she rubbed her belly while it heaved and roiled. It was only four in the afternoon, too early to head home, but she glanced around the office, looking vainly for an escape.
“Hey, Celina? Can you cover for me tomorrow? I’m going to call in sick ‘cause I’ve got a hot date tomorrow night,” Sylvia, her cubicle mate, whispered to her excitedly.
Celina closed her eyes. Great. Just what I need. “Honestly? Syl, I don’t know. I’m not feeling so great.” She mumbled a little, knowing what Sylvia’s reaction would be.
“Have you been to see the doctor yet?”
Celina swivelled in her seat and cast a dark glance at her workmate. “I’m going to call—” Her words ended abruptly as the lights dimmed and went out. “Damn… This is like the third time this month. What the hell is going on?” The heat of the office space swelled as the air conditioning failed. The cloying scents of a multitude of perfumes and hot sweaty bodies in the summer wave closed in on her.
Celina’s tummy jostled once more, demanding her attention. She rose, racing unerringly to the bathroom, making it just in time to empty the contents violently into the toilet. The clunk of the door somewhere behind alerted her to the fact that she was no longer alone. She sighed loudly. Sylvia had followed her, she knew. The sound of wood banging closed reverberated off the walls. The ensuing echo splintered her thoughts.
“Celina, you have to see the doctor.” There was concern in Sylvia’s voice and Celina shied away from it.
Celina leaned limply against the wall of the stall, the dim security lighting flickering in and out. “Yeah, I think you’re right.” She didn’t want to face it, but the headaches had become an almost everyday occurrence in the past few months. One she’d tried to ignore, but with little success. But something had to be wrong. Her stomach quivered at the possible reasons.
She pushed away from the wall and headed for the sink, turned the tap and was rewarded by the sound of running water. Celina scooped the liquid up, washed her face and swilled some around in her mouth, trying to banish the sour taste. Her knees shook like wet noodles beneath her.
“Okay, I’ll ring in the morning and see how soon I can get in for an appointment.” A sound from outside caught her hearing, a thudding noise, as if someone was testing the door. She wouldn’t be able to hide from the problems for much longer and right now, she really needed some air. “We’d better get out there.”
“Yeah. Okay.” She heard the concern in Sylvia’s voice. “Will you be okay to get home?”
They slowly made their way through the door and back into the office, where the blast of heat and the waft of body essences made her want to gag again. She struggled through one shallow breath then another.
“I’m planning on going straight home anyway.” Celina shuffled towards her desk and groped around in the dark, hunting for her phone. She grasped it in her damp hand and pressed the screen, waiting for it to lighten sufficiently to see her desk. She spied her bag and opened the desk to find her keys. “It looks like these are going to be out for a while. Can you…?” She indicated the light fittings, then towards the office at the end of the row, hoping Sylvia would understand.
“I’ll go tell the supervisor. You go on. Head home and take some painkillers.”
With a small nod, which she quickly regretted as a pulse wavered through her throbbing skull, Celina headed to the emergency stairs. As she passed desks she saw others grabbing up their items, including laptops. No doubt they obviously thought the same thing.
 Finally she made her way down the fourteen flights of stairs. On the way she heard many voices, some shrill and others filled with laughter in the darkness. Here and there she caught glimpses of light, probably from mobiles, illuminating the gloom.
One foot after another she plodded down the steps, her head aching viciously and finally, light glowed ahead and a breeze started to clear the stuffy wooliness from her head.

* * * *

Javed shook his head. The missive he held in his hands filled him with emotions he hadn’t experienced in hundreds of years. He knew what it was. It was confusion. The sense of having the carpet jerked out from beneath him. His hands felt clammy.
“So… That’s your destiny, there in your hands.”
His hand shook and the sound of parchment moving back and forth filled the air. He held not just his destiny, but also that of so many others.
He glanced at Xavier, his master, and Hope. They were two very powerful vampires as well as his friends. “I don’t know what to say.”
Hope rose and glided towards him. “You don’t have to say anything. We will say it all. Your leaving us on one level makes us sad, but you will be a master in your own right. You’ve earned this.”
Javed wanted to sputter and stop her words, but he couldn’t. The intent of the letter was clear. On the night of the next full moon, Cressida would grant him his own nest. He would be elevated to the position of master.
If that wasn’t enough to accept, there was the knowledge that there hadn’t been a new house in over a century.
There was so much to do. So many decisions to make and all of them would fall on him. He would need to choose a Yeux Secondes, the human who would oversee the financial and day-to-day aspects of the nest. He would also require a second, a guardian who would stand at his side. A fellow warrior, in whom he could place his trust, one who would help him build a safe haven in their house. He would need witches to help protect the vampires and followers… Where the hell do I even start with that?
“You’ll need a house. Somewhere for your people to call home.” Hope grinned and he saw the lurking humour she couldn’t quell. “I know of an interior designer, if you want their details?”
He rolled his eyes, remembering the problems she’d had with her parents before she had been turned and the way she’d arranged for the entire block of units to be furnished. It had taken her one night to order and arrange for the delivery of all the furniture. Unlike the immense task her mother had proposed.
 But her smile died away as her own memories must have surfaced.
“I don’t know about that, but if you’re offering help, then I’ll accept it. I don’t have a clue where to start.” He moved back to the armchair and slumped into it. “I don’t usually concern myself with those types of problem.” He allowed his head to drop into his hands and muttered. “I don’t think I’m ready yet.”
A soft touch on his shoulder captured his attention. “Cressida thinks you are. Otherwise she would not have petitioned the Councillors. Now come on. You need to start planning. We have one month to arrange your investiture…”

* * * * *


About Imogene:

Wife, mother and nutty bookstore owner all describe Imogene Nix, but the real secret is Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance with a hefty dose of Romantic Suspense is what she adores. Dedicated to high quality romance, with a dollop of erotic interactions, Imogene has dipped her toes into Science Fiction, Contemporary Rural Romance and Paranormal Romance featuring feisty headstrong female leads.


About The Illuminated Witch:
The Illuminated Witch is the second in the Blood Secrets Trilogy. The first, The Blood Bride, was an ARe and Totally Bound Best Seller.


How to follow Imogene:

Website: www.imogenenix.com 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Speaking Of Cover Art Stuff...

Last week I decided to try out an idea that had been mulling around in my pretty head for a couple of months.

For a while now I've been making those 3D boxed set covers, and getting a bit of a name for myself doing so. But I had been pondering doing a little bit more. Taking it a step further. Upping the ante, as it were.

With the boxed sets as they have been, there's often a reasonable amount of "dead space" on them. Especially when you get one that has 8 or more spines to incorporate. In order to fit it in the normal 2:3 ratio (width:height), you inevitably end up with white stuff up the wazoo. So to speak.

I'd resigned myself to that being just one of those unavoidable facts, as was the case with this cover, for example.



But then I figured that maybe it's NOT unavoidable. Why, indeed, could we not get a little creative with all that space?

So when one of my regular clients, Jason Halstead, asked for a 3D boxed set for his "Wanted" series, I thought it was the perfect way to test out my idea. And this is that idea made real.


This was the first one I made. There's a second one coming out soon (possibly even already out) which uses a slightly different realisation of the same concept.

Now, it wouldn't work for every single boxed set out there. Off the top of my head I imagine that sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal would be the most appropriate genres for this kind of thing, though on a case-by-case basis, who knows?

One thing's for sure, though—I'm excited! I think there's quite some potential here for all kinds of fun shenanigans! Keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Censorship Victory!

Yay me! And yay for Carl East as well. Carl is a successful and well-known author of erotica and erotic romance, who's not afraid to tackle taboo and edgy material.

Over the past month or two, I made three particular 3D boxed sets for Mr East. These were originally entitled "The Erotic Dickgirl Bundle", and numbered 1, 2 and 3. Not to everyone's taste, sure, but Carl has really carved himself a niche with this genre, and all power to him.




Anyway, the first round of censorship trouble came courtesy of the titles. So we ate a little humble pie and switched it to "The Erotic Futagirl Bundle".

But then the censors struck again. Apparently she wasn't quite wearing enough clothing for their liking. I dunno...it's not like you could see anything ACTUALLY naked, though clearly it's implied.

So we tackled it a different way. At first we thought about just running some text across her breast and genital areas, but neither Carl nor myself was too keen on it. So instead I went all surgical! I Photoshopped some knickers on her! Like so...


And we received word that it's been accepted. Woohoo to us! And just to show the work in greatere detail, here's a larger version of just the first cover...fake knickers and all!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Complication - Cover Reveal!


My buddy and co-author, Katie Salidas, has another new book coming out on April 14th. This one is called "Complication", and it's the second book in the Chronicles of the Uprising. The first book, "Dissension", was released a few weeks back. This girl is busy, lemme tell ya!
Anyway, here's a quick sneak-peek at the cover and blurb! Don't wear them out with your eyes, now! Cover art is by yours truly, by the way...

* * * *

* * * *

Blurb:
Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Magistrate, Mira travels west, toward the coast. With three weakened human fugitives accompanying her, she searches for the mythical land of Sanctuary. 
After encountering a pack of wolf shifters, headed by the charismatic—and brazen—Stryker, Mira learns that Sanctuary is real after all.  Caldera Grove: home of the Otherkin. Hidden in the mouth of a dormant volcano, it has protected its residents from humans since the early days following the great cataclysm. For Mira— a vampire— Caldera Grove is a land of peace; an escape from the relentless persecution of the humans who once enslaved her, and an end to the daily struggle and bloodshed of being a gladiator. 
For the humans accompanying her, Caldera Grove means death. Humans, greedy and untrustworthy creatures, are destroyed before they can penetrate its borders. 
To plead her case for entry into Caldera, Mira must abandon her companions, albeit temporarily, and follow Stryker into the heart of the city. What she finds within Caldera Grove presents her with an unenviable decision between her own desires for freedom and peace, or honor and the human companions who risked it all for her.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Too Busy For Love

Well, my lovely friend Tamsin Baker just might be! She has ANOTHER naughty book that's just been released. This one's an all male story of lurve and lust, and comes to you courtesy of Escape Publishing.

-----




Too Busy for Love
By Tamsin Baker

Blurb:
He needed a job — he never expected to need his boss. 

Thomas's life can be pared down to one principle: Be as successful as possible by being as single-minded as possible. But his commitment to his goal is tested upon returning home to his mansion and finding his gorgeous new gardener in his library. 

Luke is a student, and his new job is perfect: decent income and a place to study that's quiet, peaceful, and stocked with useful resources. The last thing he expects to find there is a stunning man who offers to open up all the doors that Luke has yet to be brave enough to peek behind. 

Thomas is happy to wait for Luke to come to him, but when he does, Thomas has no intention of holding back...

Excerpt:
I’m studying architecture and you have some pretty awesome textbooks. I was just making some notes.”
Thomas nodded mechanically and sat down in the chair opposite Luke. This was not what he needed— to find out his gorgeous, young gardener was intelligent too. Crap.
Talk! Just talk to him. “How long have you got to go?” He choked out. 
Luke groaned theatrically and rolled his eyes. “Two long years. But I’ll get there.”
Thomas smiled at the artless way Luke had of moving and talking. But the question was, was he gay?  Were his smiles a come-on, or the act of a guileless young man?
Luke’s blue eyes sparkled. “You’re home late, sir.”
Thomas opened his mouth and said something he had never murmured to a staff member before, “You can call me Thomas if you like.”
Luke cocked his head in an adorable way, his blue eyes showing surprise and pleasure.
“Sure...Tommy.”
Thomas couldn’t stop the moan that escaped his lips at the sound of such a nickname from this gorgeous young man.  A name he had banned all previous lovers and friends from using. He didn’t like the sound of it, it sounded common. Well, it used to.
“I don’t usually let people call me that.”
Luke stood up and smiled. “Really? Why not?”
Thomas stood up also and moved forward so that they almost nose to nose. His need to touch this guy was an almost painful yearning. Luke’s eyes widened in surprise but the pupils dilated in arousal also. Thomas followed his instincts and pushed forward.
“Because it sounds like something my lover would call me.”
Luke blinked several times but didn’t move back.
Thomas took that as assent and lifted his hands to cup Luke’s jaw. His skin was soft, with the faintest feeling of bristles against his palm. He brought his face a scant inch closer.
He felt Luke’s gasp against his lips but pressed forward and moaned as their skin met. Luke’s lips were soft, juicy and full of potential. He stepped closer so that their bodies were touching, Thomas’ cock hardened as it rubbed against the younger man. He groaned again and coaxed Luke’s lips open.
Luke opened to him slowly and Thomas took advantage, tasting and licking the inside of Luke’s mouth. Enjoying the softness, the way Luke’s tongue hesitantly met his.
The soft moan Luke emitted caused Thomas’s body to harden unbearably, and then Luke was pushing him back with a gentle hand.
Thomas’ head was swimming as though he was drunk and he staggered back a few steps so that he was in the centre of the room again. He was dizzy with pleasure and was throwing caution to the wind. He knew he should have spoken to the head gardener first to find out what sort of employee Luke was. He should have talked to his lawyer, but he didn’t. He just opened his mouth and said what he wanted.
“I’m gonna have a bath. Wanna join me?”
Luke’s mouth fell open as his eyes scanned down Thomas’ body. Thomas knew his erection would be obvious in the dress pants he wore. It was hard and uncomfortable, but he didn’t care. Luke needed to see what was on offer. 
He reached up and pulled his tie down, part of his seriously lust-fogged brain wondering if he was about to be sued for sexual harassment.
“Well?” He raised an eyebrow at the beautiful boy still staring at him.
He threw his silk tie down onto the chair, shrugged off his jacket and began unbuttoning his shirt. His stomach tightened in excitement as he waited for Luke to make the next move.


About the Author:
Tamsin Baker is an Aussie girl who only discovered erotic romance twelve months ago. Before that she read sexy romance, skipping the plot and looking for the ‘good bits.’ Since then she has written and obtained twenty contracts of varying lengths for her erotic romance and erotica novels. She absolutely LOVES reading and writing it! She has two other jobs, kids and a hubby too – but writing is a passion that she has to indulge for fear of insanity.
M/M is a passion of hers so even when she writes ménage, there is always an M/M story. She particularly enjoys writing Female dommes, but she loves experimenting in all genres. She is learning to write and read more, one step at a time. Soon, she’ll have stories published in every sub-genre of erotic romance – well that’s her aim anyway.


Author Links:


Buy Links:

Amazon: 

ARe:

Escape Publishing:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stranded Domme by Tamsin Baker


It's with great pleasure that I hand over Willsin's World to my talented, witty, smart (and downright gorgeous) friend, Tamsin Baker. Tamsin has just released yet another in an ever-growing catalog of books.

* * * *



Blurb:
Natalie is a professional Domme, in total control of her emotions and her life. When her car breaks down outside of a small town, she is rescued by a quiet gentleman with all the strength of a good submissive. They have a wonderful night where Natalie breaks her own rules, yet doesn’t regret allowing Mick into her bed. When Natalie returns to her real life she feels the lack of her country gentleman and invites him to her club. She offers him a play collar and shows him off to her friends. All is in order for Natalie, but Mick is feeling less than enthusiastic about being kept on the outside of Natalie’s heart. They need to find a balance quickly, or their budding relationship will soon be over.

Excerpt:
She laughed, properly laughed. Her breasts wobbled and she flushed pink. What an incredible sound. He couldn’t help the smile which spread across his face at her obvious pleasure at being with him. It had been a long time since he had experienced this feeling with a beddable woman.
“Oh I know that, Mick. You and this situation is definitely an exception for me.”
The doorbell peeled and Mick forced himself away from the beautiful woman in his kitchen and retrieved the Thai food.
He stopped a step outside the door and took a deep breath. Was he ready for this? Not really. Was that going to stop him? Hell no!
He stepped back into the kitchen and found her setting the table with plates and cutlery.
He lifted the bags of food onto the table and reached for a bottle of red wine.
“Red okay?”
She looked up from her self-appointed job and smiled.
“Perfect.”
He focused on pouring the wine as he imagined the way the wine would run off her skin. How much he would enjoy lapping it up off her body. Fuck, he was getting hard again.
They sat down to eat and had a very pleasant meal. Discussing work, family and all their common interests.
She was wonderful to watch. Animated and lovely. The fact that she wanted him was still rather bewildering, but he wasn’t going to question how he had gotten so lucky.
“Tell me how you came to be a professional Dominatrix, Natalie.”
His question had caught her off guard, Mick could see that, but he wasn’t backing down. He wanted to know.
She pushed her plate forward to indicate she was done and sat back in her chair.
“It was quite simple really. I had a series of failed relationships and I was so focused on work as I got older that I didn’t make the time for any new ones. I met a male Dom at a party one night and he suggested I come see a new club that had opened. I went and loved it. Every bit of it. So I joined, so to speak. I made the decision to train as a Domme after a few years and I’ve never been happier.”
Mick listened to her story then sat back in his chair, shocked. Was that all there was to it?
“Was it really that simple?”
Natalie giggled and reached across for his plate.
“You’re finished?”
He nodded and she stood up to put the dishes in the sink.
“It really was that simple, Mick, sometimes your life just chooses your path for you.”
Wasn’t that the truth.
Then Natalie disappeared and Mick saw the Domme rise up. She straightened her spine and walked over to him, her green eyes alight, hungry.
“Now, my pet, are you choosing to play tonight? Because Mistress needs a bath.”
Despite the casual clothes she wore, Natalie was breathtaking.
Mick forced himself to nod. He knew that this might be his only chance to experience something like this. If Fate had been so kind as to literally drop her into his lap, he wasn’t saying no.
She would expect certain behavior though and he thought quickly about what a subservient person might do.
“I will go run it for you.”
She smiled indulgently at him, her long painted nails clicking along his marble bench top. The sound caused his nipples to harden. He loved it when his lover used her nails on him.
“Do, and be naked by the time I get there.”
He gulped and turned, not wanting her to see his panic. He was not a young man anymore.
Natalie moved behind him and her hands stroked his back as he stood there unable to move. Her nails were long and pressed down firmly through his shirt. He shivered, yes, just like that.
“I know you are feeling uncertain, my pet. Don’t be. If you focus on me and I focus on you then everything will be perfect. You may call me, Mistress.”
Mick took a deep breath and cleared his mind of all the insecurities flooding in. He could do this. He wanted to do this.
“May I call you, My Lady?”
He wanted to be special, remembered after tonight. He didn’t want to call her something that countless others had also.
She continued to stroke his back and her deeper Domme voice whispered to him, “Yes, please do.”


Friday, February 7, 2014

"Dissension" - Available Very Soon!


[Cross-posted at Coffee-Fueled Erotica]

Howdy folks. Willsin here.

I asked Katie if it would be okay with her if I made the announcement about her book being released on February 11th. She looked at me funny (okay, so I asked her over the interwebz, but I could sense her looking at me funny), but she agreed when I explained why.

Essentially, this is my take on the whole shebang. All writers seem to think of their books as their "children". Having been fairly heavily involved in the behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty for this book, this one feels like my niece, at least.

"Dissension", marks a stylistic departure for both of us. New ground, of sorts. For me as a cover artist, it allowed me to explore a grittier side of graphic design. Only once or twice had I worked so "dirty", and never had I worked on a paranormal dystopian fantasy cover before!

But the bigger departure was Katie's. With a hugely successful series already behind her (the Immortalis series...if you haven't read it yet, folks, get on that train!), it would have been the easier path for her to stick with those characters, that situation, that world, and keep on weaving those tales. Hey, perhaps more books in the series will end up happening.

Katie, though, chose to listen to her muse. A new world, and new characters, unfolded itself - one still involving vampires, but that's really the only factor that Dissension has in common with Immortalis. This world, the world of Iron Gate, is uncompromising and—here's that word again—gritty as hell.

So I say "hats off" to my buddy and sometimes-co-author. Any writer will tell you of the fear they feel when deviating from that which they're truly known for. No, it's not life-threatening, or even truly dangerous...but it's a real fear, nonetheless. Not to mention that a whole lot of the work Katie put in was while she was either heavily pregnant, or dealing with a brand new baby and a suddenly-jealous toddler!

But that's enough waffle from me. I'm keeping you from the juicy bits!

* * * *


Dissension – Chronicles of the Uprising: Book 1



The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost. 
But not all survivors were human. 
In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators. 
And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising...and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever. 
Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision - to become Mira’s patron – changes more than just Lucian’s perception about vampire kind.  The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted – a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers. 
Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both?

* * * *








* * * *


Dissension – Excerpt
©Katie Salidas 2014
Rising Sign Books LLC

The roar of the crowd, all twenty-five-thousand people in attendance, rose to a thundering crescendo when Mira delivered a bone-crunching blow to her opponent’s ribs. Standing only five feet tall, she might not have appeared a formidable warrior, but the thin, spiky-haired waif of a vampire could hold her weight and more when put to the test. Amplified by the superb acoustics, the sound of bones cracking echoed through the Superdome arena. The defeated, a red-headed male vampire staggered, punch-drunk, and then dropped to his knees. Dirt and sweat coated his face but could not mask the fear in his icy blue eyes. His was a look Mira had seen so many times before. Her opponent’s immortal life had finally come to an end, and he was ready to take the final deadly blow.
Above her, Mira knew the fifty-foot mega screen showed her hapless victim in brilliant resolution, ensuring that all who were attending, and those watching from the comfort of their homes, could see these last gruesome moments in crystal clear high-definition. 
Mira gazed down at her opponent’s blood-soaked face. Though he was her enemy for the moment, she did not relish having to end him. No one should be forced into the arena and told to kill or be killed. It wasn’t right. But it was what was demanded of her, and given the choice between her life and someone else’s… well, there really was no choice. No matter the cost, Mira was a survivor.
She glanced up to the large private box overlooking the arena. A well-dressed man in deep-purple robes sat, enjoying what appeared to be a dinner of filet mignon and roast potatoes. Even here, in the dusty arena below, Mira’s enhanced senses picked up the tantalizing scent of very rare, bloody steak. She could hardly believe that a human could not only watch the murder about to take place, but also sit and eat the dead flesh of a once-living being while doing it. From the smell of it, the poor beast was practically still bleeding on his plate. Who was truly the more savage creature? 
Over the crowd’s roar, an announcer introduced the well-dressed man, Lucian Stavros, Regent of the Iron Gate. Lucian gently and purposefully slowly set down his knife and fork. He took another moment to wipe his face clean and then smiled, acknowledging the roaring crowd. 
Chants of “Death, death, death,” rang out from the throng as a single unified demand. 
The Regent listened for a moment, making a show of putting his hands to his ears to hear screaming hoard’s request, and then held a hand out, with his thumb pointed to the side.
As if the next moment were the most important, the anticipating mass hushed. Eerie silence filled the arena as everyone watched for the Regent to make his decision.
From her vantage point below, Mira saw the steely look of determination cross the Regent’s face. If she didn’t know better, she might have thought he took this decision seriously; but then, he was human, and they never cared much if her kind lived or died. Lucian Stavros took a cursory glance down at Mira. Their eyes met. It was only a brief moment, but in that short time, Mira saw him waver. 
Could it be true, she wondered, or was it just a trick of the light? No human actually cared about the lives of vampires. The moment faded, and the fleeting thought left. 
Mira saw the Regent’s decision. He turned his thumb down. Death!  
The crowd went wild. 
The last hope for her defeated opponent had vanished; Mira had to finish him. “Sorry,” she whispered to the half-dead vampire on his knees before her. Though her fangs tingled at the prospect of tasting his final dying moments—her reward, if you could call it that, for living through another battle— she did not enjoy what she was about to do. Like her, he was a slave, forced into servitude to the humans as they saw fit. He had not asked for this, and neither had she. But, despite what either of them wanted, it was the will of the crowd, the humans, that had to be served.
Aiming to sever the carotid artery with her fangs, Mira dove at her opponent’s neck. His death would be quick. At least she could afford him that luxury.