Art and Culture


I’ve been debating over whether I should write this post or not. I’m still not sure, but–since the Internet provides us with such an easy avenue for (over)sharing of opinions–it’s happening. Why the uncertainty? Well, for one, this post was inspired by a certain movie, based off of a bestselling book, that released on Valentine’s Day and has, in a short time, grossed bajillions of dollars (I may be exaggerating, slightly…). That’s right–the both much beloved and reviled Fifty Shades of Grey. And, to some degree, I–as some of you may also be–am simply getting sick of hearing about it, period. So I will try to make this post a little more broad than just this book/movie, but I can’t ignore it completely. Secondly…if the Fifty Shades controversy has shown us anything, it’s that some people can’t engage in a critique or debate without being just plain mean. More than likely, only my friends will read this post and few others will actually come across it–and fewer still will leave a comment–but there’s always that nagging fear that someone will just respond with something nasty and counterproductive.

And, third…I don’t really feel strongly about this book either way. I read all three of them out of sheer curiosity (I jumped on the bandwagon after they became popular). I haven’t seen the movie, yet. I’m nowhere near a super fan…nor am I an extreme “hater,” either. It’s been awhile since I read them…I reviewed all three of them (you can read my review of the first book here). I was surprised when I went back and read my critiques, because my opinion has changed (somewhat) over the last several years.

I will tell you upfront what this post is not about: the quality of E.L. James’s writing. Did I feel like they were the most well written books ever? No. Did I like the main heroine, Anna? Not particularly. Like the franchise the Shades books were inspired by (Twilight, if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know that by now), Anna is sort of a bland character, if you prefer strong, vivid, interesting characters (and I hope you do)–then again, she’s the perfect character if you are seeking to “insert” yourself into the book in place of Anna for the purposes of fantasizing. Look, there’s a lot of bad, poorly written porn (even if it’s more visual rather than literary) geared towards men’s fantasies–and I don’t think I’m exaggerating this time when I say it’s probably a billion dollar industry. My point is, just because Shades is in a book form, doesn’t mean it’s required to have outstanding style. Its purpose is to titillate (and, most likely, shock).

(As an aside: That’s definitely not to say that a book can’t have all the things–be well written, with strong, interesting, dynamic characters, and also be sexy. I’m just saying that, when it comes to what may be a book with mediocre writing that is written by a woman intended for a bunch of other women to read–suddenly everyone has exceedingly high standards of the written word and cinematography.)

I’m going on off a tangent–as I’m prone to do, with posts like this–so let me bring it back to today’s intended topic: art and culture. Because, while some dissenters criticize James’s writing, and others call it a Twilight rip off and accuse her of plagiarism, much of the criticism has been over Christian’s personality, his relationship with Anna, and how that might affect impressionable readers.

I don’t think any of us can deny that art can affect us, and can do so deeply. In fact, as artists, writers, singers, performers, etc., we’d be doing our crafts a disservice by trying to argue otherwise. We’re usually willing to accept this when we find other people who consume and enjoy the art we put out into the world, but it becomes a little harder to stomach when we have to admit that it can also affect some people negatively. So I think we can all agree that, yes, art can evoke both positive and negative responses–including unintended ones–and that the culture surrounding us in turn affects art, maybe sometimes in ways we don’t even realize.

At its core, art is also a very selfish activity. Before you put your art out into the world (whether it’s a painting, a short story, a book, a song, a movie)–before you have readers, listeners, viewers–it’s just you and your idea. In the case of writing, you’re writing characters and themes that are, for whatever reason, interesting to you–you’re expressing yourself and your emotions. (I’m not trying to speak for all writers when I say this, but…to be completely honest, I haven’t always worried about what others might say/how others might interpret my books, or how they might affect people (in the negative sense). Recently, I’ve started obsessing over this, but, if I’m going to get anything down on paper, I have to block it out. I’m not going to censor myself because I’m worried about what someone else might think.)

What motivates the people consuming said art can vary widely and, often, be at odds with the creator’s self-expression or intention. I’m going to try to stick to the book example because a book inspired this post, and, as a writer, it’s what I can speak to best. Fans may fall in love with the book for any number of reasons–the style, atmosphere, and characters drew them in, the characters really spoke and jumped off the page for them, they see themselves as one of the characters, the book got them through a difficult time, whatever. For some others, it may be the opposite–it could be that a situation or character reminds them of a difficult time in their life, or something about the book clashes with a believe or value they cherish–whatever the case, they find the book offensive. Critics analyze the book and, not only consider aspects like the style and quality of the writing and characters, but also perhaps what it reflects about our society–and how it might affect other readers. This is all fair. The artist also has to be aware that, once that book or painting or song goes out into the world, it’s open to different and varied interpretations.

I guess where I’m going with this is: Critique is fine. I’m not about to say that we shouldn’t critique Fifty Shades, or talk about what kind of impact our society has had on it–and the kind of impact it could have on our society or even certain individuals. Art and culture are intertwined. I’m just wondering why, as a society, we can’t seem to have a reasonable discussion about a book written by a woman, seemingly intended for and read by millions of other women, without being mean. And not just mean–ugly and horrible. (I mean, E.L. James (as other famous people have) gets harassed a lot on Twitter. Which is one thing I hate about social media–although it has its perks, it also makes it really easy for people to anonymously harass other people and say things they would never, in a million years, have the guts to say to someone’s face.)

Okay, I was going to try to keep this general, but my brain keeps coming back around to Fifty Shades, in particular. Most of the cultural criticism I’ve alluded to centers around Christian and Anna’s relationship–some interpret it as abusive (well, I guess they wouldn’t say “interpret,” they would say it is abusive). I think it’s fair to say there may be undertones of that.

But I also have to say I’m not sure why we seem to be so afraid that millions of women can’t separate a book or a fantasy from reality. Like I said, it might affect some people negatively…and, maybe to try to prevent that, we should point out and discuss the seemingly questionable material (as we’ve been doing).

There’s something about the amount of criticism we’ve been heaping on James and Fifty, though, that I’m starting to find just as disconcerting as some people find the books themselves. For one thing, there does seem to be this element to it that we’re talking about it so much because, again, it’s a sexy book written by a woman for other women…and that we usually seem to be overly concerned with, not how art is affecting us, but how art is (negatively) affecting women…because somehow we’re more prone to messages (“hidden” or otherwise) in art and the media. (I guess the flip side to this is not that we feel women are more susceptible to these messages, but that the formula in Fifty Shades is outdated and patriarchal, and that these themes are being perpetuated by the fact that the books are so popular.)

The other element I find disturbing is that I’ve started to see posts and things encouraging boyfriends/husbands to not to take their girlfriends/wives to see the movie because it’s not really “romantic,” and we don’t want them to get the wrong impression (because, see above comment)! I think that’s a terrible and counterproductive suggestion and could actually backfire. Your boyfriend does not get to decide for you what guilty pleasures or fantasies you choose to indulge in. I also read this article by some guy who went to see the movie and also seems to be overly concerned that a woman (again, I’m talking about adult women, here, not preteens or teenagers) is going to get the wrong idea about romance from watching this movie. Which brings me to what will hopefully be my last two points, because I didn’t expect this post to get so massive.

Why do women like Fifty Shades? Why do they “like” Christian Grey? Perhaps women like Christian because he sounds f***able. He’s hot, and he’s rich, and it sounds like he’s good, at, you know…doin’ stuff. ;-) I think it’s perfectly possible to like a fictional character and realize that not all of their traits are ideal traits for a mate in real life. Romance novels (we’ll get to the genre term “romance” in a minute), like those of other genres, are read for pleasure and escapism. At least when I read them, I’m not looking for the hero (or antihero) to have traits my next boyfriend is going to have. (And I don’t think anyone has ever expressed any concern or fear over whether men are going to date women like those in the porn they watch.)

And, finally, the other argument the crux of the Fifty Shades criticism seems to depend on is that it is a “romance” novel, and many of Christian’s actions are not romantic. Which…they’re not, really, but I think this is an even more complicated issue than you might think. For one thing, women in our culture are expected to enjoy stories about romance and not just necessarily those just about sex…so the couple often tends to have a deeper connection than just a physical one. If it is true that most women tend to need both the physical and emotional connection in their porn or erotica…that’s fine with me. Again, it’s a complex issue–is it true, or is it what society tells us is true?

A related issue: I know that, as a woman who writes stories with strong “romantic” themes, I feel compelled to put the “romance” stamp on it even if it’s not necessarily romantic, in the traditional sense. Romance, as a genre, encompasses more than you might think. Sure, much of it still follows the formula of your archetypal, charming, strapping hero falling in love with the sassy, buxom, virginal heroine…maybe they feel a mutual dislike towards one another at first even as they fight down their growing passion for one another…until one sweltering, starry night they give into that fiery passion…and, after a few more obstacles are thrown in their way–just when you think all hope is lost–they finally overcome all, get together, and live happily-ever-after. Formula romances are great. Often, they’re exactly what you need; sometimes you just wanna know things are going to work out for the best, and not be disappointed when they don’t.

But not all stories that get this “romance” stamp are like this–and they’re not supposed to be. Well, at least not to me. I do know firsthand that there are readers who see “romance” and expect the formula, expect the HEA ending–and, when they don’t get it, are confused, at best–and at worst, pissed. But I think the romance genre has expanded and can evoke more raw emotions than just “awwwww….how romantic!” “Romance” novels can be dark, shocking, or even disturbing–and the characters aren’t required to be cookie cutter heroes and heroines who only do good things and have sound morals. (Maybe what we really need is a new genre name.) Personally, I enjoy writing deeply flawed characters–it’s more fun and challenging to imagine what might motivate someone to choose wrong over right.

I guess what I’m trying to say is…what the heck am I trying to say, anyway? When I read Fifty Shades, I noted that Christian was controlling and some of his behavior disturbing…but I didn’t think this behavior was supposed to be traditionally romantic. To me, it was an author pushing a certain type of character–a controlling, manipulative one with some deep, dark demons and a Red Room of Pain–as far as he could go in that direction. At its core, Fifty Shades is just a forbidden lust story. Anna knows that Christian has flaws and is maybe into some stuff she’s not sure if she can handle, but she’s intrigued by this darker, forbidden aspect. Christian isn’t supposed to be a role model or dating material.

Then again, I could see where maybe a more impressionable reader might be more easily influenced by a story like this than I would be. Not everyone would share the same outlook going into the book, or probably even feels the same way about the genre. Even so, I just personally don’t think there are many types of situations or characters (if any) that are completely off-limits in fiction, although context is also important. I just take Christian to be a (rather poorly constructed) antihero who has a lot of skeletons and not too many redeeming qualities.

So some will love, some will critique, and some will be offended. And some, like myself, will be totally wishy washy and kinda understand where the criticism is coming from, but then again, not really. I just wish we could all discuss it in a civilized way. Because, really, when is the last time you’ve ever heard of a male artist, writer, or anything getting so much slack? (Robin Thicke? He’s really the only example I can come up with.) I don’t think the answer is to ban the movie, either, as others have also suggested.

What I’d hoped would be a more general post kind of just turned out to be about Fifty. For that, I am sorry…but it’s been on my mind lately, and, you know…must…vent…on…Interwebz. I’d love to hear your thoughts…as long as you can keep it rational and civil.

But I have to go, for now…actually, because I’m going to the movie…

 

Checking In


This is just a short post to say hi and Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy the day with your loved ones. And, if you’re a fellow single lady (or gent), make sure to treat yourself!

I wanted to use up my last free day while Relapse is enrolled in KDP Select, so it’s free through the end of the day today! It’s the perfect read for Valentine’s Day…well, if you like your romances dark with a side of twisted. You can download it here and add it on Goodreads here.

Have anything special planned for the day! Feel free to share in the comments! I have a lot of work to do today, so I’m living vicariously through you. ;-)

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Return of the Mac: A Review of Burned


There have only been a few authors in my life that have left me almost not able to function until their next book comes out. That I read it as soon as I get my hands on it. In high school and part of college, that author was J.K. Rowling. Now, in my adult life, I have Karen Marie Moning.

It was actually my mom who discovered the Fever series seven or so years ago. I think back then there were already three or four books out, so I didn’t have long to wait until the next installment. (Now, the wait is longer, harder, but still totally worth it.) I was immediately sucked in to the seedy underbelly of Ms. Moning’s Dublin, where the Unseelie lurk and dark forces are at work to bring the walls between our world and the Fae’s down. I crushed on Jericho Barrons, a sexy, enigmatic antihero equal parts elegant and wild. And I loved the fever world’s kick ass heroine, MacKayla (Mac) Lane, who, over the series, transforms from a blonde, pink Southern girl without a care in the world to a fierce Unseelie fighter and a protector of Dublin, the city she’s grown to love even though it took her twin sister, Alina.

The first five Fever books are primarily from Mac’s point-of-view. Fans of the series know that the last book, Iced, was Dani “Mega” O’Malley’s time to shine, with some insight into Christian MacKeltar’s life as he made the agonizing transformation from sexy, Highlander druid to insatiable Unseelie Prince, as well as Kat’s POV and life with the sidhe-seers at the abbey. I feel like not too many people were thrilled with a book that was told mostly from Dani’s POV, and, although perhaps not my favorite in the series–I think that honor still goes to Shadowfever–I enjoyed Iced, and Dani’s story was definitely one that needed to be told.

In Burned, “Mac is back,” as it quotes on the front cover–and I think Ms. Moning’s got her groove back. The book was fun, sexy, packed with action and suspense, and I couldn’t put it down. Well, somehow I managed to for a few hours to get some shut-eye, but this morning I was right back reading, and I finished it within the day. Like I said, not many books have sucked me in quite like the Fever and Highlander series have. I devoured it, and when it was over I was in some sort of book haze/coma, wanting more but knowing that more probably won’t come for another year, maybe longer.

Ugh.

I’m not sure what to even say about this book–like Shadowfever, there are so many twists in it–and so many inklings of things to come–I’m not sure I can talk about it without accidentally giving something away. I can say, though, that it centers mostly around Mac and Dani’s relationship, which–if you’ve read the series–you know was tried when Mac found out Dani, of all people, was the one who killed her dear twin sister, Alina. (You find out even more about the circumstances surrounding this in Burned.) Mac and Jericho’s relationship, which was sort of wrapped up nicely enough at the end of Shadowfever (I will always remember the quote, “I will always be priya for this man.”), is also tested in this latest installment.

Although most of the story is told from Mac’s POV, we get glimpses of Barrons at the very beginning, the Unseelie king, Christian as he’s being tortured by the Crimson Hag, Kat as she struggles to maintain leadership of the sidhe-seers at the abbey, and even Lor. (I have to admit, out of all the POVs, I think I enjoyed Lor’s the least, although I guess he was kind of amusing. I just didn’t find it very convincing–it was a  little too much for me, although he and his budding love interest were sort of cute towards the end.) We also get glimpses of a new, ultra kick ass assassin, Jada–who, even though her dialogue is reminiscent of Seven of Nine’s in Star Trek: Voyager (everything is inefficient), she turns out to be oh so important. The transitions between the first (and third) person POVs works well for the book and, even though Ms. Moning conveniently labels each chapter with the character’s name, the styles are different enough that I think you’d be able to tell them apart, anyway–something I hope I can master.

There are also some very old friends in this book–namely, twins Drustan and Dageus MacKeltar from the Highlander series. They’re pivotal to the mission to save Christian from the clutches of the Crimson Hag. New troubles are also brewing in post-apocalyptic Dublin–problems even the Unseelie king may not be able to fix (and it’s questionable whether he even wants to). Although some issues leftover from Iced are resolved, and Mac comes to term with some demons from her past, there are still lots of loose ends at the end of Burned and a slight cliffhanger, which will leave you yearning for the next book.

This book got me right in the feels, and I know I won’t be able to shake it all week. I even called my mom to fangirl about it…which, in retrospect, was kind of mean because she won’t read it until I bring my copy home with me, lol. If you’re a fellow Moning Maniac, I know you will love Burned. If you haven’t read the Fever series–do it. Immediately. And the Highlander series, too–or at least the Immortal Highlander.

What’s Next?


This is sort of my overdue update/New Year’s resolution post. Although I haven’t really made concrete resolutions so much as general goals. I don’t like making specific resolutions because then I feel guilty when I don’t actually do them, lol. In particular, I want to share with you my plans for upcoming projects. Relapse doesn’t so much end in a major cliffhanger, but it definitely has some loose ends, so you may be wondering: What’s next for the Reborn series?

The short answer is: Er, I dunno…..

But that’s not entirely true. Hence, the longer answer:

I have lots of ideas for future books (yay!). Right now most of them are still jumbled up in my head, so I have to put them down into a plan/outline. I’ve known almost since I started writing Reborn where the series was headed, especially as far as Siobhan’s story is concerned. But I’ve since realized that I also want to focus on some of the other characters. For instance, I really want to go into Anna’s story in more depth. She may just get her own book, or at least be the principle POV in the next book. I also left things hanging with Carly at the end of Relapse, so I want to pick up her story again. Siobhan’s story obviously isn’t over, either–I’ve hinted that she has some special abilities compared to the other halflings, but we still don’t know why. Well, I know why. ;-)

I just can’t decide how I want to split all of this up. I could alternate a few POVs within one book, like I did in Relapse, or I might write the third book about Siobhan and then a few novellas focusing on these other characters…and then maybe release a few things around the same time. I just really don’t know how I want to do it right now. My goal over the next few months or so is to get my notes organized and do some outlining to figure all of this out.

But I’m not allowed to write anything yet, haha. I have to concentrate all of that brain power/energy on finishing up what I need to in order to graduate first. I’m so close. Between school stuff and putting the finishing touches on Relapse and promoting it, I got kind of burned out at the end of last semester. For some reason, I didn’t think I would–I guess because the editing and marketing stuff, even though it’s work in one way, it’s also a lot of fun, at least for me. But by the time winter break rolled around, I was just…done, haha. I didn’t do or think about anything over break. I had two weeks off this time, which was nice.

By the way, the reason I’m not allowing myself to do the actual writing yet is because once I get into the zone, it’s hard to get out. I get really obsessed with it. I’m obsessed with this whole thing, anyway…it’s hard for me to resist doing at least something related to it, whether it’s updating notes or the Facebook page or whatever. I also have a growing pile of awesome books to read and review for fellow indie authors, which I’m starting to make a dent in. I think one of the best parts of this has been helping fellow writers with their projects and reading incredible books I might not otherwise have gotten the chance to read. It’s also forced me to read outside of my YA/NA/paranormal romance/urban fantasy comfort zone, which is good, too.

I seem to be rambling a lot, but haven’t actually recorded any goals yet. So, here we go:

1. Finish dissertation.

2. Find a big kid job.

3. Get caught up on reviews.

4. Continue to update book-related notes and do some serious outlining.

5. Solidify details of next project. And then tell all of you about it!

I guess my point is, there is definitely more to come from the Reborn series, so stay tuned. In the coming months, I’ll have a better idea of installments and release dates and announce those when I have it all figured out. Thanks for being with me at the beginning of this journey, and for your patience. :-) And please feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comments.

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Relapse on Amazon.

Relapse on Goodreads.

Seditious Pre-Sale and Blog Hop


perf5.500x8.500.inddToday I’m happy to host Emily Guido, author of young adult and paranormal romance! Seditious, the fourth novel of The Light-Bearer Series, is up for pre-sale now!

One day, Ms. Guido envisioned two star-crossed lovers that needed to have their story told and thus became inspired to write The Light-Bearer Series. If you like paranormal romance, vampires, angels, history, action, and adventure, you may want to check out The Light-Bearer Series novels: Charmeine, Mactus, Accendo, Seditious, Ransom, and Conundrum

Emily currently works for a Fortune 500 Company and has a Master of Business Administration.

Below is the synopsis for Seditious, an excerpt, and a short interview with the author. Be sure to check out the giveaway, Emily’s “stalker” links, and the other participating blogs at the end of this post!!!

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Synopsis:

Seditious is the perfect title for the 4th book in The Light-Bearer Series. This book captures jealously, deceit, and restoration of love flawlessly.

Life at the Castle Charmeine is blissful until reality of the ruling the Elder Council of the Blood-Hunters causes dissent. An unexpected depth to both Tabbruis and Dmitri’s personalities humanizes both men.

This novel shows a side to Tabbruis and Charmeine’s relationship which will throw any reader of The Light-Bearer Series off kilter. Seditious is the continuation of their romantic and turbulent love story and mission on Earth to battle Lucifer’s minions!

Lord Cromwell is a lethal Blood-Hunter who has escaped the Elder Council Prison. He sends his beautiful agent to cause destruction to those who live at the Castle Charmeine.

Bathsheba is a deadly, sexy, and vicious siren who threatens Charmeine and Baby Hunter. Not just with her present actions, but, with the past she shares with Tabbruis and Dmitri. However, the family works together to unravel Bathsheba’s deadly secrets.

Just when you think they are in the clear, a more heinous and ominous villain waits in the wings to tear apart our ill-fated lovers, Charmeine and Tabbruis.

Seditious is a heart wrenching and exciting story of passion, betrayal, and redemption you will not want to miss!

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Facebook Emily (1)Excerpt from Seditious, the fourth novel in The Light-Bearer Series:

Charmeine knew this beautiful woman was a very powerful Blood-Hunter. She felt Baby Hunter kicking and fought to control her anxiety.

“Ah, yes, very good gentlemen. We have her now.” The mysterious woman told the men in a thick, French accent. She gazed with wide spellbinding eyes at Charmeine. She looked like a cat ready to pounce on her prey.

The man who held Charmeine pushed her to go out the terrace doors.

She knew this was a kidnapping and worried for Baby Hunter. Charmeine struggled to gain some kind of fighting advantage.

The Light-Bearers practiced their self-defense skills with her daughter, Sandra, and worked on how to get out these hand-binding holds. After Charmeine’s encounters with Pascal, she never wanted to feel helpless again.

With speed and accuracy, Charmeine used her power to fly up backwards over the head of the Blood-Hunter. She broke out of his grip. Immediately, she leveled him with a powerful and fierce bolt of white electricity which stunned him into a stupor.

Percival took this opportunity to sweep the legs of the man who held him. He stunned his assailant, and made him fall down in pain with a green charge which ran through his body.

“Use your light for Athena!” Charmeine yelled to Percival.

Percival threw a green lightning bolt at the man who held Athena.

Within a second, the Blood-Hunter was on the ground. A green current cursed through him.

 “Halt!” the Blood-Hunter woman demanded.

Charmeine looked up and a hand gun was aimed at her belly.

The woman widened her indigo eyes with her fangs exposed. She threatened, “You really never know where a bullet will go? Do you?” she laughed.

Her maniacal giggles curdled Charmeine’s blood. She could tell the Blood-Hunter woman was telling the truth.

“Yes, the bullet could just land somewhere very unhealthy for your unborn spawn.” She circled Charmeine like a shark swimming around its prey. “Not that hurting spawn of this Light-Bearer scum would matter,” she quipped in a matter-of-fact way.

Charmeine began to feel waves of nausea and fought the urge to be sick.

“The offspring is just a by-product.” With a sinister laugh the woman scoffed, “Yes, a by-product which should be tossed aside and thrown away like the trash it is . . . as soon as we cut it out of you!”

She began to laugh with a vicious tone and stuck the gun in Charmeine’s belly ready to pull the trigger.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQuestions for Author Emily Guido:

What music (genre, artist, etc.) most inspires your writing?

I like to listen to classical or easy listening music with headphones on. I hate being interrupted while I write, so sometimes, I stay up all night and write.

Which of your own stories is your favorite?

I don’t know if I have a favorite story since it’s a series. However, I would love to have dinner with Dmitri. He is the oldest and wisest of all the Blood-Hunters. But he still is totally gorgeous with long black hair and deep blue hypnotic eyes. He has a sense of humor like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t think Dmitri would like anything else but blood for dinner, but I would chomp on my steak while listening to his interesting stories about his past on Earth and look into his dreamy blue eyes. Totally got a thing for Dmitri, sorry, he is my fav!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing and know social media to promote your book but also just say to yourself each day this mantra…

It only takes one…

One person to read your book

One person to tell another person about your book

One person to buy your book

And so on…

Tell me about your current work-in-progress and what your plans are for it.

SEDITIOUS is my fourth novel in The Light-Bearer Series and is coming out shortly, published by PDMI Publishing. YEAH! In a month it will be out on pre-sell on Amazon. SEDITIOUS is the perpetuation of Tabbruis and Charmeine’s love affair. They are enjoying life until the reality of ruling the Elder Council and Temple Guards come crashing down on them. Then a sexy, mysterious and gorgeous woman appears at the Castle Charmeine ready to take what she wants by orders of her Master, Lord Cromwell. Twists and turns, ups and downs are in this novel of passion and redemption.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? (To write for pleasure? To be a best-selling author? Something else?)

I write strictly for pleasure. Oh yes, I dream of having my books read around the world. However, if I did this for money or to be famous, I would have never gotten this far. My goal is to enjoy and pass on this wonderful story of The Light-Bearer Series! I have spent a lot of money making these books come to life and promoting them. I also network. I have spent hours promoting these books. It is a labor of love, and if I make anything, I just put it back into the books and promotion.

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Pre-order Seditious here.

The Ebook Pre-Sale e-book will run from December 3, 2014 for $2.99

The Physical Book will go live in January 21st for $9.99 and ebook $4.99.

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Giveaway:

The prizes will be

Autographed Copy of SEDITIOUS – US, UK, CAN, AUS
Autographed Copy of CHARMEINE, MACTUS and ACCENDO – US, UK, CAN, AUS
A $25 Amazon Card
Enter here.

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Emily’s “Stalker” Links:

Emily Guido – Email guido.emily@gmail.com

Emily Guido – Author WEBSITE

Emily Guido – Author FACEBOOK Page

Emily Guido – Author TWITTER

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Buy links – Amazon:

CHARMEINE the First Novel in The Light-Bearer Series on Amazon

MACTUS the Second Novel in The Light-Bearer Series on Amazon

ACCENDO the Third Novel in The Light-Bearer Series on Amazon

SEDITIOUS the Fourth Novel in The Light-Bearer Series

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Coming Soon:

RANSOM the Fifth Novel in The Light-Bearer Series

CONUNDRUM the Sixth Novel in The Light-Bearer Series

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Other participating blogs:

Reviewer Nikki’s Guide to… http://nikkiesguideto.com Friday, December 5, 2014

Author Ch’kara SilverWolf http://sheerak.wordpress.com/ Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Reviewer Kim http://kimpitbull123.wordpress.com Saturday, December 6, 2014

Author Paula Action http://paulaacton.com/ Sunday, December 7, 2014

Author David Lee Summers http://dlsummers.wordpress.com/ Monday, December 8, 2014

Author Mari Wells http://mariwells.wordpress.com/ Monday, December 8, 2014

Author Shehanne Moore http://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/ Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Author Ella Medler https://ellamedler.wordpress.com/ Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Humanist Jueseppi http://theobamacrat.com/about/ Thursday, December 11, 2014

Author S.L. Stacy https://slstacy.wordpress.com/tag/s-l-stacy/ Friday, December 12, 2014

Artist Alastair Forbes http://kattermonran.com Saturday, December 13, 2014

Author Brian McKinley www.brianpatrickmckinley.wordpress.com Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Reviewer Nicole McManus http://ariesgrlreview.com/ Monday, December 15, 2014

Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm http://lynnromanceenthusiast.blogspot.com/ December 15, 2014

Author H.N.Sieverding http://hnsieverding.com Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Author Anthony Renfro https://apoetryjourney.wordpress.com Wednesday, December 17, 2014

All Things Romance http://lynnareynolds.wordpress.com/ Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Trailer Reviewer Nicole McManus http://ariesgrlreview.com/ Thursday, December 18, 2014

Author Joleene Naylor http://www.JoleeneNaylor.com Friday, December 19, 2014

Release Week Wrap Up


As many of you probably know by now, since it’s all I’ve been talking about for like a week and a half, Relapse, the sequel to Reborn, released last Tuesday! It was a great week, and at the end of it I had my friends over to celebrate, complete with jello salad (and other more edible fare), drinks, and a (probably really awkward) reading of the sexiest chapter in Reborn.

Right now, the ebook version Relapse is exclusive to Kindle so that I can use the promotional thingies (to use the technical term). Get it here. It’s available in paperback now through Amazon as well. Having the paperback version just makes it feel more real, you know? In the new year, it will also be available through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc. If you’ve read Relapse, feel free to leave a rating and/or review on Amazon or its Goodreads page.

And, if you don’t know what the Reborn series is all about, check out the character profiles and excerpts floating around this blog. Here are a few teasers:

Reborn: The Encounter

Relapse: Prologue

Relapse: Chapter One

*****

relapsecoverJasper might be gone for good, but Siobhan can’t escape the memory of him.

Or, rather, Psyche’s memories of him—memories of a kinder, gentler man, not the one who lied and manipulated her. She should have tried harder to reach him—to save Jasper from the darkness consuming him. Guilt—maybe that’s the reason why she still sees his face everywhere she turns. That, or she’s going crazy.

And Siobhan really doesn’t have time to lose her mind. Her best friend is in love with their enemy and is addicted to an alien drug. The Alpha Rhos blame her sorority for their sister’s death and take their quest for vengeance too far. Desperate, the Gamma Lambda Phis call on the help of the most deceitful Olympian of all, making her a promise they’re not even sure they can keep.

Once again, Siobhan finds herself not knowing who she can turn to or who she can trust. She comes to realize that her greatest enemy is the darkness within herself.

Character Profile: Carly


Note to future self: Don’t set a book release date for right after a holiday, if only because it’s not very conducive to marketing. I was either in a food coma or shopping over the weekend. (I don’t shop on Black Friday, though. The crowds just aren’t worth it to me. Actually, watching the Black Friday brawls on TV makes me kind of sad for humanity, lol…) Anyway, I had a wonderful long weekend with my family. And to all of my friends in the US: I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too! :-)

Relapse releases on Tuesday, so here’s the last character profile I wanted to post. You can add Relapse on Goodreads here and pre-order it for Kindle here.

You may remember Carly as one of Siobhan’s sorority sisters in Gamma Lambda Phi. She’s a secondary narrator in Relapse, so you’ll get more of a glimpse into her own adventures and the dark secrets she’s kept from her sisters. Here’s her profile, followed by a short excerpt. ;-)

*****

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Carly Dragonjac

Age: Early 20s

Occupation: Student at fictional college Thurston University in Shadesburg, PA

Major: Math

Physical Description: Caramel-colored, curly hair; baby blue eyes; white, dove-like wings

Species: Demigod

Relationship Status: In a relationship with Alec, one of the Sigma Iota brothers

Other relationships:

  • Victoria’s roommate
  • Gamma Lambda Phi sisters Siobhan and Tanya

Goals: In Relapse, Carly finds herself trapped on another world, as the captive of an attractive but capricious dark prince. Her primary goal is to escape.

Obstacles:

The prince won’t let her leave unless she can complete the three tasks he’s given her. Also, he’s crazy hot. (Carly may have a slight case of Stockholm Syndrome…..)

Strengths:

  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Doesn’t give up easily

Weaknesses:

  • Gullible/naïve
  • Tends to go along with what her friends do/say
  • Avoids confrontation

Hobbies:

  • House Manager for Gamma Lambda Phi

Superpower: One of Nike’s guardians of the walls between universes

*****

The next thing I remember is waking up on this floor.

I put a hand to my forehead. The throbbing has stopped. So has the dripping sound. I lost count, anyway. I slowly start to sit up again, and this time I’m able to straighten up completely without getting dizzy.

“Oh, good! You’re not dead!”

The voice prickles my skin like a winter breeze. I stop breathing.

Forgetting to be careful, I look around frantically for the source of the relieved, if slightly mocking, voice. A wave of nausea surges through me. My head spins.

“You had me scared for a minute there. I’d be pretty pissed if my gift had kicked the bucket before I got a chance to play with her. Corpses aren’t really my thing. I prefer my women…alive.”

“Glad I live up to such high standards,” I mutter, swallowing the retort along with the bile rising in the back of my throat.

“My disciples have done well,” he continues. “It has been a long time, but the ritual has finally been honored again. A virgin sacrifice has been sent to me.”

“I’m not a virgin,” I mutter defensively. I’ve been sitting cross-legged in my pink mini-dress and quickly tuck my legs to the side. I can see him now under the dim light from the candelabras lining the wall. The shadows of their flames flicker across his face like black serpent tongues. He lounges on the other side of the room in an enormous, ancient-looking throne with an iron frame and black satin cushions. His head is tilted to the side, supported by one finger as he considers me.

“Where are we?” I ask him. Dang it, my voice is quivering.

He holds his arms above his head as if to embrace the ceiling, spreading hands encased in finger-cut leather gloves. “You are in the realm of the gods.” He jumps down to his feet. Muscles bunch underneath snug, black leather pants as he prowls toward me. Decorative silver chains hang from an open vest, crisscrossing chiseled abs as hard as the marble floor I’m sitting on. His gait is predatory and agile, like a panther patrolling his jungle. Or getting ready to pounce on his lunch. Which is me.

I gulp.

As he comes closer, the shadows leave his face. His skin shimmers a faint gold under the candlelight. He has high cheekbones, a strong, square jaw and brilliant green eyes. His short, white blonde hair sticks up every which way on his head like thousands of needle-thin icicles. He looks about my age, but if he’s an Olympian, he could have been born before humankind even existed.

“You think I’m sexy,” he teases. “And I must say, I am not disappointed, either.” He’s suddenly inches away from me, his mesmerizing green eyes holding mine steady. Those eyes…there’s something familiar about them, even though I know I’ve never seen him before in my life. Stooping, he takes two fingers and traces my cheek. I flinch and shiver. Even his touch is cold. “You are exquisite, Carly.”

I’ve heard cute. Hot, on occasion. But exquisite? Give me a break. “Who are you?”

He drops his hand and straightens up, towering over me. “I am the spawn of darkness, and night’s son; I am anything and anyone.”

“And I’m a little teapot,” I snap. I try to keep my voice steady even as my insides are churning. I can almost hear the voices of the Sigma Iotas chanting: O Master of darkness, blood and carnage…“Tell me your name.”

There it is!” he barks in triumph. He doubles over, shaking with laughter. “I knew she’d be feisty! I knew it! I knew it!”

While his hysterical laughter ricochets off the walls and ceiling, I sigh and get shakily to my feet. The heel of one of my shoes is broken. I take them off. “Just give me something to call you.”

He smiles wickedly and puts his hands on his hips. “Master.”

I guess I set myself up for that one. “I’m not calling you that.” I glance around at the walls without moving my head, looking for a way out, but all I see is charcoal gray rock.

“I am master of this place, and you are mine. Kneel before your master, human scum!”

“I’m not exactly human.” And I’m not scum.

“Ah, I see it now.” I feel naked as he studies me. His eyes pierce straight through to the place where my soul used to be. “You’re a demigoddess. One of Nike’s descendants. Now, kneel, halfling.”

I keep my bare feet planted firmly on the floor. “No.”

He pouts. “Kneel…please?”

“This is ridiculous.” I turn and walk up to the wall behind me. I press my palms to it and feel around for cracks in its cold, bumpy surface. There has to be a way out of here.

Suddenly, he presses his body into me, shoving me up against the wall. His hands smack the rock on either side of me. The metal clasps and chains of his vest bite into my back. Something hard brushes up against my tailbone. His chilly breath tickles my ear. He smells like—well, I’m not exactly sure. The scent reminds me of being outside after it’s just snowed—fresh, sharp and slightly bitter. It’s not unpleasant.

“Kneel,” he whispers in a voice that, for a moment, makes me want to sink obediently to my knees.

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