Romance Writers of America® – New England Chapter Present!

2013 Annual Book Fair for Literacy – Open to the Public 3:30‐5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013 Burlington Marriott, Burlington, MA

I’ll be signing copies of Phoenix Rising and (possibly) GeekMom! Please come by and say “hi,” and no purchase required! Love to meet some of you.  The emblem below is not an official emblem of the book signing. I just thought it was appropriate. So maybe it’s my emblem for coming week. :)

This is a joint signing, with writers far more well-known than myself <g>, so come by and take a look!

The authors!

Julia Quinn, Zoe Archer, Caroline Linden, Marie Force

Donna Alward, Amy Atwell, Liberty Blake, Terri Brisbin, Megan Caldwell, Jamie Cat Callan, Lisa Carlisle, Ashlyn Chase, Loretta Chase, Nina Clark, Colleen Connally, Kady Cross, Kate Cross, Anna DeStefano, Marissa Doyle, Ella Drake, Cara Elliott, Megan Frampton, Rozsa Gaston, Lena Goldfinch, Pepper Goodrich, Sammie Grace, Lisa Verge Higgins, Hannah Howell, Christina James, Corrina Lawson, Kate Locke, Sarah MacLean, Meg Maguire, Wendy S. Marcus, Lesley Mathews, Cara McKenna, KJ Montgomery, Laura Moore, Victoria Morgan, Miranda Neville, Cathryn Parry ,Judy Phillips, Stephanie Queen, Tiffany Reisz, Teresa Noelle Roberts, Jordan K. Rose, Nico Rosso, Karen Stivali, Frances Stockton, Barbara Wallace, Penny Watson, Samantha Wayland

Sponsored by NEC RWA in partnership with The Book Oasis in Stoneham, MA. A portion of all proceeds are donated to the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation. For more information, go to: http://www.necrwa.org/

All trademarks, registered trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners.


 

superhero novels, superhero romance, Phoenix Rising,

Coming Tuesday!

Phoenix Legacy, the third story in the Phoenix Institute series and the direct sequel to Phoenix Rising, releases Tuesday, November 13. So, with PR, Luminous, and Legacy, I guess I’m officially a series writer. :)

You can see the official blurb in an earlier post but I thought a short except might showcase the book somewhat better. This is because I’m the type of reader who ignores those blurbs when in the bookstore and flips right to the book to check it out.

Philip Drake pulled into the entrance of the bland suburban New Jersey condominium development just as many of his neighbors were leaving on their morning commute.

Feeling perverse, he gunned the ’67 Charger, making more noise than necessary. He might live here but he’d never be one of them.He smiled as the Charger took the corner on a dime. Old, but not feeble. Like him.

Though the car looked its age, standing out, not in style anymore. Unlike him.

He had wanted to experiment with the limits of his newfound conscious healing ability. Instead, he’d de-aged his body to at least a decade younger. Days of trying to reverse the process had convinced him he was cursed to look like this for a long time. Maybe until he died, whenever that was.

He was too damn old and cynical to look under thirty.He’d never get his gray hair back. He would never grow old, either, at least not naturally. Still, given what he was, it was always possible someone might kill him in the meantime. That was a comforting thought.

The book will be available at my publisher, Samhain. Just follow the links on the title or the cover. It’s also available at Amazon for Kindle and B&N for the Nook too. I’ll be posting a few more excepts over the next few days leading up to Tuesday!

Sorry for the delay in the announcement! The contest winners have been notified and prizes are on their way. Thanks to everyone who commented!

The delay was caused by a cat. Who decided to throw up all over my MacBook Pro keyboard. Yeah. The MacBook still works after a day in a bag with rice BUT the keyboard is fried. Apple gave me a couple of approved repair guys locally so I’ll see what they say. But this sucks.

It’s a three-year-old Macbook and not under Apple Care any longer and, sadly, they wouldn’t cover cats gakking on keyboards anyway. I’m worried because the tech at the Apple store told me the liquid can slowly kill the logic board underneath the keyboard. Dammit. I love the cat but, jeez, Smokey. Couldn’t you gak on the carpet like every other cat?
superhero novels, superhero romance, Phoenix Rising,

Today is the day! Phoenix Rising is out in paperback!

I received my author copies a few weeks ago and took time to sit down and fondle them a bit. New book smell! Nothing else like it!

So, contest!!

Comment below about what you’re currently reading! That way we can talk about books and recommend them to each other too.

THREE PRIZES, THREE WINNERS, chosen by random number from the comments.

1. A print copy of Phoenix Rising.

2. Ecopies of Phoenix Legacy, the sequel coming on Nov. 11th. , Phoenix Rising,  and Luminous, the short story set in the same univers.

superhero novels, superhero romance, Phoenix Rising,

3. A $10 Amazon certificate.

I will close entries in one week, at midnight on October 9th. Make sure that there is a way I can reach you if you want a prize, preferably via email. I’ve found Facebook messages tend to get lost.

As I held my book in my hands, I started to think of all the different influences on the series, especially the first book. The first, obvious, one is my love of Marvel’s X-Men, as the heroes in my books are born with their powers, as are the mutant X-Men, and the eventual goal of those running the Phoenix Institute is to provide a safe haven for mutants and teach them how to use their abilities safely.

But that was the general concept. As it took shape, it became more my own idea. For one, I restricted all the abilities to ones that could be explained by psychic powers. That means telekinesis and telepathy.

Alec Farley, the hero of Phoenix Rising, is a telekinetic but also a firestarter, as starting fires is just another level of moving things around with the brain, albeit at a molecular level. There are many variations I can use. The hero of the upcoming Phoenix Legacy has TK but it’s limited to the ability to heal himself. He can literally order his body to repair damage I’m currently working on the third full book in the series and the heroine can walk through walls, which is due to her psychic ability to control the molecules of her body.

Telepathy, on the other hand, could also take many forms. There are: simple communication/ the ability to mentally order people around; to cast illusions by making someone see what isn’t real; and to make what is real invisible. (See Luminous.)

It would be boring to write such powerful people without giving them weaknesses, so each strength has an appropriate drawback. Alec’s fire can escape his control. My self-healer can’t solve blood loss. My telepath can only control so many people for a short period of time. My ghost walker can only carry something with if it’s smaller than her own body weight.

Something else I borrowed was part of the setting. I feel in love with one of Nora Roberts’ Harlequin stories involving one of her big families. I loved the story about a young artist who lived in a lighthouse in Maine, especially the setting. I had just visited Maine and it resonated. So I took that idea, “borrowed” a real house set up on a hill over looking the harbor in Maine, and put that in the book.

And Beth…the first stirrings of the character that became Beth, the heroine of Phoenix Rising, took place back in 2004 when I was talking to Karen Harbaugh at RWA National in Dallas. She talked about how few leads of Asian descent there were in romance stories. I said maybe people write what they know. And she said that was no excuse. If people could research Regencies and historicals, they could research a character’s background too.

I sat down to write Phoenix Rising and Beth took shape as a Japanese-American. It’s not that I said “I’ll write a minority lead,” it was more “I’m writing a very unique character and this background adds to it.” I saw her as just Beth, whose background I had to get right as I had to get Alec’s background just right. But I received a few comments about people happy to see a non-white lead in a book, so that was nice.

And, last but not least, I owe a debt to the great writers of books I devoured in my childhood. Alec Farley is my own tribute to the wonderful Walter Farley, who wrote the Black Stallion series. I keep and treasure those books to this day. Alec Ramsey is the hero of the series, so I just swapped his last name for the author’s last name.

I only hope, in some small way, that I can touch reachers a tenth as well as Walter Farley’s stories touched me.

superhero novels, superhero romance, Phoenix Rising, A man too dangerous to live. A woman whose survival depends on forgiving him.

The Phoenix Institute, Book 2

Philip Drake is immortal by virtue of a psychic power that heals all but the worst injuries. He’s needed every bit of it as a black ops agent, a life so violent that the line between pain and pleasure is tangled up in his head.

When he walks away from the CIA, the last thing he expects is to discover someone stole his DNA to create a race of super-healers. And that the expectant mother is a woman from his past who’d consider it her pleasure to spit on his grave.

One moment, Delilah Sefton is listening to a seriously hot, seriously deranged man giving her some half-baked explanation as to why she’s pregnant with no memory of how she got that way. The next, armed men swarm into her bar, and she and Mr. Sexy-Crazy are on the run.

Safety at the Phoenix Institute is only temporary, but it’s long enough to put the pieces together. A madman plans to steal her son in a plot to take over the world. And to stop him, she must learn to trust the baby’s father—a man she blames for her greatest loss.

Warning: This novel contains fast cars (that are driven), numerous guns (that are shot), a hero who prefers pain over love, and a heroine determined to fight for those she loves.

 

Never underestimate the power of a determined friend, in this case, one Jill Purinton.

Not to mention the power of a geeky encounter.

First, I have to announce, I have a new agent, Eric Ruben. I wasn’t looking for new representation but through a chain of events one after the other, which included a geeky conversation, I have one. I’m very pleased, especially as we’ve already bonded over our love of New York Comic Con.

And to make this more fun, this happened during the annual meeting of Romance Writers of America in Anaheim last month. Which meant I got to celebrate with my fabulous roommates and talented writers: Christine Merrill, and Katy Cooper, and the aforementioned determined friend, Jill, pictured above.

Another friend, the lovely Kim Ivora, took us on outings to Anaheim, especially to this great place that served breakfast and gelato! What could be better? And my friend Chandra Years played  walking talking Disney app for me and Chris at DisneyLand.

Back to Jill’s being the most determined friend ever…

(more…)

Luminous, superhero romance, Jim GordonHi!

Been crazy lately.

In the last month:

1. The GeekMom Book was submitted to our editor, hitting the February 1st deadline. Hopefully, publication this winter.

2. I sold Phoenix Legacy, the direct sequel to Phoenix Rising, to Samhain. That will be out in November.  It’s stars Philip, from PR as the hero who’s having a little trouble coping with immortality and a little more trouble coping with the people trying to kill him and someone from his mysterious past.

3. I got the finished pages of my first comic book script. More to come on that in another post but for those who read PR, it’s a four-page story of how Philip rescued Beth from the bad guys when she was a little girl. It has AWESOME art. I will post a page soon.  :)

4. I finished the final edits on Luminous (see above) an urban crimefighter superhero novella that will be out in May. It’s set tangentially in the Phoenix Institute universe but has all-original characters, including a hero inspired  by the Batman: Year One version of Jim Gordon, my favorite cop.

5. Got the final edits for the *print* version of Phoenix Rising, coming out in October.

That’s just my book publishing life. :)

And now that I’m back from dropping the minion off at school, here’s the first page to a four-page comic story called “Promise.” It will be in released in May as part of an all-women issue of The Gathering from Greyhaven Comics. The art is by Cassandra James of Australia, who is absolutely awesome.

Greyhaven comics

When I was writing Phoenix Rising, I often used some famous comic book splash pages for inspiration, especially as my Alec Ramsey’s firestarting abilities start to go completely out of control near the end.

It worked in prose but I couldn’t stop wishing for George Perez or Marshall Rogers to appear in my home and illustrate it. :)

Which brings me to the contest. Answer this question in the comments below: what scene from your favorite book would you love to see drawn or illustrated, either in a comic or a poster?

A winner will be announced Monday morning and will be chosen by random number generator.

To set up the sequence:

Alec and the military-style assault team assigned to assist and protect him are chasing terrorists on the Newark docks. Problems arise when the terrorists begin escaping via tugboat. Alec’s trying to stop it with his telekinesis and a wall of fire.

***************************************

The fire screamed at Alec, rolling into a ball of raging heat, wanting to consume what was in its path, more powerful than any fire he’d handled before. It wanted to incinerate the entire tug, including the bomb. But he had control. This is what he’d trained to do all his life.

He created a wall of fire on the far side of the tug, trying to make it retreat. More shouting. Again, Hans calmed the others down and the boat kept moving. Alec had to let some of the fire spin away, lest it hit the bomb. They’d called his bluff. Shit.

The tug chugged into the harbor, taking it farther from Alec’s range and closer to a big, shadowy shape out on the water. Another ship. No way he’d be able to stop the bigger ship if they loaded the bomb on it. Sweat poured down Alec’s neck and back. His breathing grew quicker, his eyesight blurrier from the smoke of the burning dock.

Hans was the calm one. Get him and the rest would panic. Alec broke off a small ball of fire from the flames above the tug and sent it crashing into Hans’ chest.Hans screamed, stumbled backwards and fell into the water. Steam hissed and was quickly snuffed by a wave.

The tug stopped moving, dead in the water. Yes!

A shadow fell over the tug. Their pickup. The transfer wasn’t at the docks like intelligence said, it would be on the water. Kowalski, who’d berated them for their mission questions, had been wrong. If Daz didn’t go after the CIA fuck, Alec would.Daz yelled out loud. Alec ignored it.

Daz’s voice buzzed in his ear from the radio. Alec tore off his helmet. Tears ran down his face from the smoke. His knees grew weak. The fire almost escaped from him, almost roared into the bomb. Dammit, I can control this. What was wrong with him? He knew better.

He dropped to his knees and pushed the fire back to the tug’s bridge. Another man was yelling now. Alec saw the face illuminated in the firelight and recognized Demeter, the fanatic. He should crisp him too, but if he let the fire go even a little, he’d lose it completely. Hell.

He raised a hand and created a roof of flame over the boat. There! Let them try to move the bomb with that there. He grinned, panic gone, and stood. He blinked and saw the flames around him had grown.They whispered to him, embraced him, until he was weightless, free, just like the fire. Nothing could hurt him, nothing could defeat him, especially not some second-rate terrorist cell.

“Firefly!”

I ’m busy, Daz.

Alec blinked and finally registered the twenty-foot wall of flames directly around him. The fire he’d created had joined with the flames from the sniper’s body and grown into an inferno. F-Team was trapped between the warehouse and a shipping container and the flames were closing in. They’d be incinerated.

In the distance, a horn sounded, close to the tug. Fuck! Daz yelled his name again, voice more desperate.

Okay, easy. Take control of both fires. He could finish the mission and save F-Team at the same time. Piece of cake.

He spun around and around in the flames encircling him, pushing them upward, away from F-Team, sending them into the sky, where they’d have no fuel and would sputter out on their own. The metal of the crane above twisted and buckled from the intense heat. His throat felt like dust. Heat enclosed him, baking his skin. He shouldn’t have made it so damn hot without realizing it. He knew better. What the hell was wrong with him?

He waved his hand. The flames around him started to sputter out. Good, F-Team was safe. The roof of flames above the tug disappeared.

No, shit, he didn’t mean those flames. He reached out with his TK toward the boat. He felt something fuzzy, like a figurative cotton ball in the air. He had no idea what the hell that was.

An explosion rocked the night air, splitting the tug in half. Alec fell face-forward to the dock. He spat out ashes, cursing. What had happened?The fire around him leapt high again, its flames a vivid blue color. He couldn’t have exploded the bomb on the tug—he’d been careful. So what the hell had done it?

He pushed himself up with his arms, bit his lip and the fire around him stole the air from his lungs and took control of him.He closed his eyes, joined the flames, felt them rise up around him, like he was flying high with it, flying to the water, flying to consume that big ship out there. Who needed control?

This was all he needed.

He could be fire.

 

Updated because the good reviews keep rolling in for Phoenix Rising!

1. The Library Journal!!!

“A touch of the X-Men with a smattering of coming-of-age legend, Phoenix Rising certainly keeps the reader’s attention. Lawson effortlessly switches points-of-view, from Alec to Beth and back again…..”The edge-of-your-seat plot keeps the story rolling along

2. A Top Pick! at Night Owl Reviews. :)

“Put Phoenix Rising on your keeper shelf, it’s an amazing read. I absolutely loved it, especially the characters.”

3. A nice review over at Whipped Cream Reviews too, though not quite as glowing.

I’m so thrilled the book is being read and enjoyed.

 

The publicity handbook says I should be doing all this *before* the book goes on sale but the weather and the power company that kept me in the dark for ten days had apparently never read the handbook.

So I thought I’d run a snippet for a few days this week, culminating in a contest/giveaway on Monday.

First up…Alec and Beth and their first kiss:

************

“I’m trying to get you to reconsider what you’ve been forced into doing for your entire life. There’s a whole world out there you haven’t seen.”

She walked over to the coffee table, reached down and brushed her fingertips over the gun. Her hand trembled. The gun lookedlike the same kind that her kidnappers had used, years ago. If he stayed with the Resource, Alec might become like those men, using any ends to justify the means.

“Hey! What’s with the nerves? Where’s my competent, no-nonsense counselor?”

The gun rose from the coffee table, floating in air. She turned and followed its flight. He snatched the gun out of midair with a smile and holstered it.

“See?” he said. “I control the guns, not the other way around.”

“And who controls you?”

His chest, Kevlar vest and all, rose and fell in a deep sigh. “I know someone in this room who’s trying to control me. What’s wrong, Beth?” He walked to her and lifted her chin with two fingers, his dark eyes crinkling around the edges.

“This is not a life you chose, this is a life that’s been imposed on you, from birth.”

“And?” His fingertips moved along her jaw, in a soft caress. I should move away. It feels too good. But he’ s listening.

“I’m scared. About this mission, about you being locked up inside the Resource forever.” Deathly afraid, so afraid her stomach felt like a heavy lump of coal. “There’s so much you don’t know about the Resource and about Lansing, so much you don’t understand. And you need to know it before it kills you.”

“Hey, I know Lansing can be a bastard. And that he’s overprotective and controlling. I’m working on it. But it doesn’t change the fact that this is my job.” Alec leaned closer to her face. “We can talk about that another time.”

“Do you really think there’s going to be another time?” Her voice rose, almost panicked now. She wasn’t getting through. “What if you get hurt tonight?”

“Look, this cell might have a dirty bomb. They need to be stopped, and I’m the one who can do it. I have to do this, right now.”

“Just that simple?”

“Yep. I walk away, people get hurt. I do my job, people are saved. That’s the deal, that’s my life. You analyze things too much.” He cupped her face in his hand. “But if it took this mission to find out you care, then good.”

She shuddered. Wrong, wrong, she shouldn’t let him touch her like this. Yet it felt like he touched her somewhere far deeper than her skin. A shiver, like the one from their first meeting, traveled from her neck to her toes, setting her nerves jangling. “This is wrong.”

“The mission isn’t wrong,” he said, misunderstanding her. “Relax.” His face was less than an inch from her lips and his breath fell on her cheek. Her skin felt inflamed, sensitive to the slightest movement of his hands.He kissed her.

His lips were softer than she had expected, tender, not at all like his casual, even macho, confidence. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling those strong muscles and pulling him against her, intensifying their contact, even as her mind screamed in protest. This is not what I came for!

Her body became enveloped in that strange energy, alive as never before. It was like the kiss had a second level, one which she responded to instinctively, creating a living connection between them. He drew her lips apart with his tongue, still tender, still allowing her the chance to back away. But she opened her mouth to him instead, her whole self consumed with wanting to touch him, her face flushed with desire. She grabbed the buckles of his body armor for balance, her equilibrium lost along with her reason.He crushed her against him, no longer tender, a bruising kiss demanding conquest. She allowed him full control, despite the buckles digging into her shoulder. He lifted her completely off her feet and brought her up to his eye level.

“Beth,” he breathed, brushing his lips against her neck before moving back to her mouth.

Her mind whirled, too lost to remember that she should stop him. She wanted him too much. The air heated up, warming them.

The papers on the coffee table began to smoke.

 

*******************

Phoenix Rising at Samhain.
Phoenix Rising at the Kindle Store.