I've joined tsu everyone!
If you have an account add or follow me (or leave your link in the comments and I'll add you).
For those of you who haven't heard of tsu, it's like Facebook and Twitter merged into one, and so far I'm enjoying it. I'm not sure about the giving revenue back side of things yet, but I'm there just as another way of connecting because the new Facebook rules coming in 2015 are going to make it hard to share info.
Friday, 12 December 2014
When I received Mia's invitation to participate in the Twelve Days of Christmas event, I immediately knew I had to take part. Why? The Twelve Days of Christmas actually features in the second book of my (otherwise) dark, dystopian series.
That's certainly what most of the residents of Outpost Three are wondering, and in the words of our heroine, Eden, "Christmas? What the hell is that?"
Christmas might seem odd and out of place— silly, even— after the oppressiveness and trauma that dominated the first novel. But the world of E has not entirely forgotten its history. And never underestimate a sexy, semi-evil overlord with people skills and a way of motivating the populace through a heady fear-inspiration combo.
In fact, Matt, the genius (or madness) behind dystopian Christmas, has proven to be one of my readers' all-time favorite characters. He has a number of other quirks that make him quite appealing... yep, even when he's killing people.
So, in honor of Matt's Christmas, here's the end/beginning of The Twelve Days of Dystopian Christmas, containing things that can indeed be found in Evolution (E #2). It would be great fun if you'd all comment with your own ideas to fill up the rest of the song.
Share your own lines in the comments! Have a safe, happy holiday season, and...
Connect with me:
(You thought I was going to say Christmas, didn’t you? Well, what kind of writer would I be if I wrote what was expected?)
I spent a year in Sweden when I was sixteen, and so much of that country’s people and traditions have stayed with me:
-How shy everyone was.
-How when kids heard me speak English on the bus, I would hear things like “Yippeekaiyay Motherf*ck*er” and “Hasta La Vista, Baby”—not exactly English, but definitely from American movies.
-How I wasn’t allowed to help other kids my age pronounce English in my English class at school—they were learning British English, not the “wrong” American English.
-How children dressed up as witches and old ladies at Easter so the witches that came out that time of year couldn’t take them away to grind their bones into powers for the next year. (More about that here.)
-How on December 13th, girls and boys dressed up to be in the processional through town to celebrate Santa Lucia. (More about that here.)
Santa Lucia was one of my favorite traditions--the music! the food!--and I still celebrate it two decades later. Now that I live in New England, I go each December to the SWEA Boston Santa Lucia and inhale Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce, Princess Cake and pepparkakor.
It’s not too surprising, then, that I have a whole section in my holiday book, His Favorite Inconvenience, dedicated to a plot twist involving Santa Lucia. It takes place at The Venetian in Vegas along its indoor canals with a 16-year-old Santa Lucia who’s a bit of a jerk.
I love this holiday so much, in fact, that I made sure my newest book, His Favorite Distraction, is coming out that day!
Here’s hoping you have a great Santa Lucia this Saturday. And if you’re in the need of food and song, here are a couple to get you in the mood:
Santa Lucia Saffron Buns
Santa Lucia Song
The “Santa Lucia Book”
The Book Coming out on Santa Lucia 2014:
Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr… She’s wherever there is procrastination to be had!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree - a tall (tree) story
It’s nearly Christmas and I’m getting in the mood for buying the tree and getting the lights out. One year though, I bit off more than I could chew ...
It was our third year in this house and feeling flush, Hubs and I decided to get a really big tree. I mean big.
After doing a bit of shopping one Saturday afternoon, not long before the day itself, we tootled into a Christmas barn just down the road. We’d bought trees from them before. Craig, the owner, was as big as a tree himself and I had a bit of a crush on him, despite (or maybe because of) the fact he was permanently dressed in overalls and woolly hat.
When he clocked us and hearing our request for a really tall tree, Craig claimed he had something really special in mind. I think his actual words were, ‘I’ve got something huge for you,’ at which I blushed furiously.
All we needed to do, he said, was drive further up the lane, where we’d find a gate. We were to park up and wait.
This we did. We sat in the car for a while, enjoying the rural view. Then, getting impatient, we got out. It was freezing! A wind whipped over the top of the hill and sliced through the thin suede jacket I’d thought perfectly fine for an afternoon’s shopping.
As we turned to get back into the car and go home, a quad-bike towing a trailer roared up the field. A very tall, very bulky young man got off.
‘You the folks Craig sent?’ he asked, in ringing tones.
Nodding, we went over to him and through the gate into the field.
‘Get on then.’
As Craig hadn’t said what to expect, we assumed we were being taken, by his hunky colleague, to another barn where the ‘special trees’ were kept. Hubs and I clambered aboard the trailer and crouched down, trying in vain not to get muddy.
‘I’m Shane,’ said the hunk and flung a thickly muscled leg over the quad-bike. ‘Hang on.’
You’d think Shane would respect his elders, clutching onto the rail of a trailer being bumped over a sodden Herefordshire field, wouldn’t you? Not a bit of it. Hubs and I were taken on a teeth-rattling ride, at top speed (well, as fast as a quad-bike can go) for about three hours.
Alright, I exaggerate. It was probably twenty minutes.
Eventually and thankfully, we stopped.
‘Here we are,’ said our chauffeur.
Here we were – where?
We’d stopped in the middle of the field. By now, the light was going. Straining against the dark, I looked round for a barn, or at least some netted up trees ready to be taken to the shop, on the main road.
Actually, there were trees. Lots of them. And they were pines alright – and they all had their roots firmly planted deep in the ground. And there was mud. Lots of it. Sticky, red, Herefordshire mud. I tried not to look at my ankle boots. Shane, I noticed, had on wellies.
He disappeared behind one of the largest trees and returned with a chainsaw.
The afternoon was now taking a slightly surreal turn.
‘Right guys, you ready, then?’ Shane revved the saw and grinned, his teeth gleaming malevolently in the gloom.
I looked at Hubs and wasn’t reassured to see him looking as terrified as I felt.
Shane came closer. We retreated backwards, stumbling over the rough ground. Just what was going on?
Having visions of headlines in the local paper shouting, ‘Couple Murdered in Christmas Chainsaw Massacre’, I prodded Hubs. ‘Ask him what we’re supposed to do,’ I hissed.
Shane heard me. His face fell. ‘Didn’t Craig explain?’ He jerked the alarming chainsaw towards the darkening field. ‘You wanted an extra tall tree,’ he said. ‘You go and choose one and I’ll fell it for you.’
The relief, dear reader, was enormous.
However, our ordeal was far from over. By this time we were frozen through and filthy with mud. It had also begun to sleet. My suede coat! Shane, I noticed, was wearing a thick donkey jacket.
Hubs and I cast about for a suitable tree. ‘That one,’ we said in unison and pointed to the nearest. The sooner we chose a tree, the sooner we could get to a seat in front of a roaring fire in the pub.
‘You sure, guys?’ said our chainsaw bearing hunk, doubtfully.
We nodded, as best we could, as we were now numb with cold.
‘Okay,’ he replied and began to saw at the trunk.
It travelled back with us, in the trailer, its soaked and muddy branches flailing at our faces.
Once home we managed, after a fashion, to attach it to a stand and put it up in the hall. It was certainly a tall tree. And it was certainly special – it had a dog-leg bend halfway up and leaned, perilously to the right. To stop it falling over, I tied it to the banisters with some unprepossessing and very unfestive string.
I looked at Hubs. He looked at me. We noted our cold reddened noses, the smears of mud on our faces, the twigs and dead leaves in our hair. And we agreed. Next year we’d get an artificial one!
Whatever your tree is like, I wish you a Very Merry Christmas!
Author Bio:I used to live in London, where I worked in the theatre. Then I got the bizarre job of teaching road safety to the U.S. navy – in Marble Arch!
A few years ago, I did an ‘Escape to the Country’. I now live in a tiny Herefordshire village, where I scandalise the neighbours by not keeping ‘country hours’ and being unable to make a decent pot of plum jam. Home is a converted oast house, which I share with my two beloved spaniels, husband (also beloved) and a ghost called Zoe.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel widely, though prefer to set my novels closer to home. Perhaps more research is needed? I’ve always wanted to base a book in the Caribbean!
I am addicted to Belgian chocolate, Jane Austen and, most of all, Strictly Come Dancing. Keep dancing, everyone!
Harper Impulse http://www.harperimpulseromance.com/
Thursday, 11 December 2014
Hi, everyone! I'm B.L. Berry and I'm geeked to be celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas you fine folks today! In September I released my debut novel, Love Nouveau, to rave reviews and I've been busy writing the more of Phoenix and Ivy's story due to popular demand.
The only thing inevitable in love is despair.
I knew from the start that he would wreck me. Nothing could have prepared me for the day he walked into my life ... or the day he walked out of it.
All that remained was a shell of the girl I once was. SHATTERED.
And I don't know if I'll ever recover.
In Love Nouveau, Ivy Cotter meets (and subsequently falls for) the utterly swoontastic Phoenix Wolfe in a rather unconventional way. So today, we're here with Ivy and Phoenix to play an unconventional game...Lightning Round. No, not the drinking game...but rather the rapid-fire word game where the player says the first word that pops into their head in an effort to get to know the person.
Art Ivy: Love
Dirty Talk Phoenix: Yes, please!
Ivy: You're kidding? Right.
Phoenix: What?! You didn't seem to mind that one time.
Ivy: [eye roll]
Phoenix: Foo Fighters!
Ivy: Definitely Everlong. Someone once told me it was the greatest love song in the history of love songs.
Ivy: Oh, God. Never again. Ever.
Phoenix: Makes me forget. Ivy: Forget what?
Phoenix: Oh, geez. You just had to go and do that?
Ivy: Waffles! A girl's gotta have her breakfast carbs. Do you have any back there? Hmm...?
Ivy: Fuck that.
Phoenix: What she said.
Phoenix: Really, Ivy? Really?? I'm going with Hazel...my the name of my very first dog. She was the best golden retriever around.
Phoenix: That, too, would have been a better response to "dog" than saying "style" with such enthusiasm.
Silence passes between us and he nudges my elbow with his. Reaching out for my hand again, he delicately traces the inside of my palm where he kissed it yesterday with his fingertip. Goosebumps rise and my body hums with anticipation. I turn to look him in the eye again and he has a charming, yet shy, look on his face.
For the love of all that is holy…lean over and kiss me, already!
“You know … if you’re wondering whether or not I want to,” he pauses for a quick breath and stares at my lips before continuing. “I want to. Or rather, I want you to.”
I can hardly control myself and double over in laughter.
“What?” Phoenix asks, his eyebrows knit together.
“I cannot believe you just said that! You just turned one of my most favorite songs into a cheesy pickup line!”
He chuckles softly and tries to pull me back toward him. “Yeah, you got me. At least now I have confirmation that you have good taste in music.”
Pfft. As if there were ever any doubt. I’m becoming increasingly more aware of how he works. Clearly he has issues making the first move, but once the door is open, the shy guy dissolves.
We stare at each other in silence … staring through each other … his hazel eyes pleading for what we both want to say … for what we both want to do.
For something that has been so easy to do so many times before, I’m surprised by my nervousness. Then, as if on cue, the world starts moving in slow motion. I watch Phoenix close his eyes and lean toward me, and I swear … I swear I see his lips quiver.
“Ivy…” he whispers. My name tastes of chocolate and caramel from the cupcakes we shared and my heart sighs at the sound of my name rolling off of his tongue.
I lean forward and close the gap between us, running my fingertips down his face and committing his stubble to memory as I slowly part his lips with mine.
I fall into this kiss…
Fall into him…
Fall for him.
This kiss. God, this kiss is deliciously slow like honey. Instantly I can feel it everywhere in my body, blazing in my palm … my chest … my toes. He takes his time, his hands outlining my neck to my shoulders and down to my arms.
I kiss him like I’m starving and I only now realize that I have been hungry for the past twenty-two years, savoring every last bite, committing it to memory for both the present and the afterlife. I take my time memorizing his mouth with my tongue.
The fresh taste of his lips …
The way his arms envelop me, delicate but firm …
The tender moan that rises from the back of his throat …
I’ve come undone.
Pulling back, I watch him bring his fingertips to his lips in wonder. When his lips struck mine, tiny sparks jumped. Heat flashed. Instant combustion.
With that one kiss, an ember hidden deep inside my soul awakened a sleeping shadow. A kindling in my hollows started a slow burn. The ember becomes light, a twin flame illuminating my heart.
It’s strange to think that something as innocent as pressing one’s lips to another’s can so drastically alter the course of your entire life. But with that single kiss, I know that he is important.
That single kiss has changed everything.
Everything.B.L. Berry is many things. A New Adult author. A self-proclaimed music whore. A long-course triathlete. A marketing savant. And a full-time working mom. While there are never enough hours in the day, she does the best she can to get things done and hopes for technological advances in human cloning. When she’s not hiding behind her computer writing, you can find her spending time with her family or catching up on her favorite TV shows. Rumor has it she’ll sleep when she’s dead. She is Canadian by birth. Mexican by marriage. Chicagoan by heart. Kansan by choice. Jayhawk purely by common sense. Residing outside of Kansas City, she lives with her husband, two children and black pug. Each day her family thanks the makers of e-Readers, because without which they would be living amongst stacks and stacks of romance novels. Conversely, each day B.L. Berry thanks the makers of e-Readers for hiding her book-hoarding tendencies.