Dale and Brandt are two of my favorites (shh, but let’s not tell any of the Soul Mates guys that, though!), so I’m happy to say both of their books have been re-released!

StrokeOfLuckSTROKE OF LUCK

Dale and Brandt didn’t have an easy start in their relationship, but after nearly three years together, they’re in a really good place–and more in love than ever. They’ve had a change of scenery and are now proud owners of a large ranch in Colorado. Sometimes they argue about the small stuff, but it never lasts long and they always find their way through.

When an old friend from Texas arrives unexpectedly, jealousy rears its ugly head, and Brandt and Dale find themselves at odds. Can they help Evan through his rough patch, and keep their relationship firmly grounded in the process?

(Third Edition)

Available now at: Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Smashwords, and soon at iTunes, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, and Scribd.


And just in case you might have missed the re-release of SURRENDER a few weeks back…

Surrender-CoverSURRENDER

Dale’s had a thing for his friend Brandt–his best friend and sometime boss–from the moment they met on the ranch. For nine years, they’ve lived and worked side by side. It hasn’t always been easy and they’ve had plenty of words and fights, but one thing Dale is sure of, is that the stubborn man he admires and longs for isn’t someone he wants to ever be without.

But Brandt is straight.

Or so he’s led Dale to believe. He can’t seem to see his way through years of fear and hiding to tell Dale the truth. Better to let him think all they’ll ever be is friends. However, Brandt finally crosses a line and everything between them changes–but not necessarily for the better. Fighting’s easy. Making up is the hard part. Can they see eye to eye before it costs them everything?

(Third Edition)

Available now at: Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble/NOOK, KOBO, and Scribd.

This is a question that has been asked of me quite a bit over the last 10+ years. A couple of years ago, I made up a wonderful little FAQ page. Then, some ass with too much time on his hands hacked my website and I lost it all. When the lovely Kelsey asked the question on FB, I figured it was a good time to go ahead and write something down. At least I’d have some words up about MY characters and how I come up with them.

I thought it’d be a pretty easy post, but I’ve written and deleted it 1/2 a dozen times now. I realized I’m trying to edit way too much and try to make everything just perfect. But you know what? Screw it. This isn’t fiction and I’m an imperfect person. So… here goes.

A little history first.

I’ve always been a daydreamer. As a kid, I could play out random conversations between voices in my head for HOURS. I didn’t have siblings until I was a little older, so I was a pro at entertaining myself and making my own virtual movies. In the late 90′s, after I’d been married for a few years, we moved to BFE. I’m talking miles away from any other human beings. Neighboring properties were hundreds of acres of cattle ranches, hunting properties, and rice fields. They couldn’t put a phone line in for over 6 months because there were no lines in that area. No phone, no internet. My cell only got a signal…if you stood on the barn and faced south. That was also back during the time where if you didn’t have a phone line, you couldn’t have DirecTV either. That turned out to be one of the rainiest Fall/Winters in south Texas. With a lot of time to kill inside, I decided to try my hand at writing some of these daydreams down, even if just to entertain myself.

It’s kind of difficult for me to nail down and explain how I create my characters because it’s just a thing I’ve always done. I don’t have a set process and while some characters might pop up one way, another character might come up a totally different way. They come to me a number of ways, inspired by something so simple as a single word, the sound of someone’s voice, an accent, a phrase, or even a random picture. Example? One character came to me as I was driving home from dropping the girls off at conditioning. I looked up at a billboard that I’d passed dozens of times and saw an image of a man and a boy, sitting at the end of a pier, fishing. The ad said, “Happy Father’s Day from X Funeral Homes”…and I thought, damn, how depressing. And some new voice in my head just said, “yeah, my dad and I went fishing once; it was the only thing I can remember from when I was a kid.”

And so I explored that, trying to figure out who this voice belonged to. Very nice guy. Difficult past. Interesting character. It just kind of unfolds–or blossoms, if you will–from an initial thought or question. I think, explore… and keep questioning. Everything has a “what if” attached to it.

One thing that helps me build characters, I think, is that I’m a people watcher. Huge. It’s the introverts that see everything. We sit in the corner, shy (at least I am), not wanting to be noticed, but we notice everything. I can wonder about the tiniest details… like why a person’s shoelaces are tied a certain way. I wonder if they’ve got some kind of tick that makes them tie them this way instead of that way. If they tuck them in, is it because they work somewhere where they can get really dirty? Or do they just not like the way they hang? Why does that guy have 3 phones? Definitely a story in that! That poor girl, it looks like she hasn’t brushed her hair in over a week. Is she just dirty and lazy? Or does she have a condition where it just really hurts to brush her hair?

I know some authors start with the big things about a character and then flesh them out down to the smaller details, I like to start small and flesh them up. That make sense? Nothing wrong with either way, it’s just how it works best for the author.

Some authors sit and scour the internet for model pics to come up with their character image from the get-go. Nothing wrong with that, but while I LOVE looking at half-naked models, most don’t even come close to what I see in my head for my characters. To this day, I’ve not found most of them. I’m still looking for the complete Lucien, 17 years after he was “created” in my head. I see men who are close–very, very close–but they’re not him.

The only one was Peter. I was a member of a small online group and some of the members were connected to some models—by profession. They posted a calendar and I happened to click on it and found Peter. Of course, he’d already existed in my head, but that picture was about the one and only time that I looked at a model and said, “OMG, that’s so-and-so!”

Let’s chat about the some of the other Soul Mates characters a bit. Pretty much ALL of my vampires and a quite a few of my shifters came about during the time I was cut off from the rest of the world in the 90′s—Lucien especially. He was a supporting character in a novel with Antoine as the main character… You know, Lucien’s former Master. Those first 3 novels are still not published, mainly because I’ve never had the time to go back and make them publish-worthy. Someday, you’ll get to see Lucien before there was Houston. ;-)

For me, I love writing vampires because I have a thing about death. Hate it. Hate the permanence of it. And vampires elude it for centuries. But I was sick and tired of seeing ugly-ass vampires. I wanted hot, sexy vampires. And hot, sexy shifters. They could still be hot and monsters, so I made up my own world where they could be just that.

One thing that probably irritates and frustrates me the most, is the constant comparison to certain other authors/movies/books where there are both vampires and shifters in the same world. I try to stay away from reading reviews in general, but there’s never a lack of people who will forward me their review to let me know how much they hated the books and how similar they were to X author or X book.

Those authors weren’t the first to write them together, just maybe the first ones to get them through the publishing gate together. So, once more… with feeling. Underworld didn’t exist back then. True Blood didn’t exist. The Sookie books might have, I don’t know. Have never read them. LKH might have had books out, but I’d never heard of her or Anita Blake (and still don’t read them) until 2005-ish. So, while Soul Mates: Bound by Blood didn’t come out officially until 2006, Lucien has been around for a long, long time. Over 17 years… and I’ve got a nice pile of rejection slips from those 1st novels to mark his beginning as MY character. If readers think they find a correlation or similarity between my characters and another author’s characters/world… it’s because they’re looking hard enough to try to find one. That might sound a little rude, but I’m pretty possessive of my guys and the work that I put into fleshing them out over the years.

So, there we go. A little insight on how I create characters. Or at least how they tend to come to me. As I re-read through this post, though, it kind of seems like I have a thing with voices in my head. And that sounds crazy as shit. But you know what? I think as long as I’m writing their stories instead of just listening to the voices, I’m good. I still see everything in my head as a movie—I’m just writing it all down now.

Feel free to ask questions if there’s anything else you want to know!

 
ETA: Someone just PM’d to ask if I ever wrote fanfiction.

No. I don’t read it and never wrote it. Since I’ve had my work lifted by someone calling themselves a “fanfic author” (then tried to pass it off as their own, original fiction) in the past, I’m not a big fan of it with my characters either. Nothing against those that write it or read it, it’s just not my thing.

I am absolutely thrilled that Possession is now back up at retailer sites. Right now, it’s available at Amazon, ARe, and Smashwords, but will soon be up at all of the other retail sites that I distribute to via Smashwords (Scribd, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, etc.).

So many readers have emailed after reading Sacrifice–and then Secrets–wondering if they missed something. Most every one of them had. I never realized that by putting this novella into an anthology that it would be missed by so many. If you have not read Possession, which was originally published in the Spiked Anthology, then YES, you missed an important bridge.

**If you did read this in Spiked, I wanted to let you know that this version IS a little different. Not extremely, but due to limited space in the anthology, some things couldn’t be as fleshed out as I wanted them to be.**

Possession is definitely a must-read between Sacrifice and Secrets in order to fully understand the how, why, and when of certain relationships. This story is also entirely in Sabaan’s point of view.

BTW, the little tribal mark on the cover? Makes sense once you read! Thanks so much to my cover artist, Kirby Crow, for making that special addition!

So… here ’tis!

PossessionBIGPossession

Sabaan has waited years for Nikolas to realize they are meant to be. But after months of watching him give his attention to another, Sabaan is lost and unsure where to turn. An encounter with Lucien, Master of the Coven, leaves him feeling even more alone than ever. Before he can figure his next move, Lucien returns with a plan. A plan that could bring them together–or destroy everything.

Second Edition.
Find now at: Amazon, AllRomanceEbooks, and Smashwords.

 

Excerpt:

“Quiet night.”

“Too quiet,” I whispered, then looked up to find Lucien, master vampire and owner of said pool I’d been staring into. The man still took my breath away, even after all of these years. As usual for this time of night here lately, he was dressed simply in a black pair of silk pajama bottoms with a thin robe over his bare chest. Silver glinted in the moonlight off one of his nipple rings and I had to fight not to reach up and touch him. “How are you this evening?”

He sighed wistfully and looked away. “Good.”

There was no mistaking the loneliness in his voice. It matched my own so perfectly.

“Oh, my dear Lucien.” I sat up and patted the lounge I’d been lying on. “Sit with me a while.”

He cleared his throat, but it sounded more like a growl. “I don’t think—”

“Come on, now. I won’t bite unless you ask me to.” He glanced down at me, suspicion clear in his expression. I patted the lounge again. “I give you my word.”

Lucien seemed to consider my words then turned toward me. Instead of sitting before me, he straddled the lounge behind me, arms going around my waist, his chin resting on my left shoulder.

“We might well be on the road back to friendship, but I’m still not sure I can trust you at my back.”

His words cut deep, but his feelings certainly weren’t without merit. I’d done more than my fair share to get him to submit to me over the years. One time with him beneath me just hadn’t been enough.

“Noted,” I said finally. We sat silent for a long while. I wanted to talk to him, but anything and everything that came to mind led to Peter—and Nikolas—and the fact that the two of us were here because the two of them weren’t. Because they were together.

“Stop thinking so hard,” Lucien grumbled.

“I can’t help it.” I shrugged and he tightened his hold on me. His fingers teased along my lower belly, lips moving across my shoulder toward my neck. I shuddered and let my head fall back against his shoulder. “Damn it, Lucien, you know better than to start this—”

“And sometimes, even when we know better, we still do the things that are bad for us.”

“You don’t really want me.”

“Who says?” Teeth nipped at my ear. “Drop your glamour. I want you, not some illusion.”

If he didn’t stop this soon, I wouldn’t push him away. I dropped my glamour, taking on my true form. His fingers moved up my chest, then teased down the insides of my arms, and I swallowed hard.

“Lucien . . . .”

“I find that I am unable to help myself tonight.”

Oh, fuck. “What is it that you need? Do you need to feed?” My eyes rolled back into my head as he pressed the palm of one hand to the base of my tail. “Ohhh . . . .”

“You can feed me if you wish.”

“I’ve been good, Lucien. I promised that I wouldn’t cause trouble.”

“I know you have. I’ve been watching.”

I turned and pushed him back, straddling his hips, crushing my mouth to his. Lucien’s fingers framed my face then curled back into my hair. He made a fist and yanked my head back. He licked up the side of my neck, then set his fangs, but didn’t bite down. I pushed my neck against him, wanting the pain of his bite, but got a kiss instead.

Tender presses of lips up my neck and along my jaw. Our eyes met for a brief moment, just before he captured me in a kiss again. I gasped as his tongue invaded my mouth almost desperately, sharp fangs cutting my lips and drawing blood. Not just my blood, but his too. The taste of him on my tongue was exquisite and I deepened the kiss, wanting more.

His hands left my hair and skimmed down my back, coming to rest on my hips. He pushed me down and arched up, and it was only then that I realized just how okay with me—and this—that he was.

Had he sought me out for comfort?

Come out here, knowing that I would give it to him?

That I was just that easy?

“Stop it, Sabaan,” he whispered between kisses.

“I’m not that easy,” I growled in defense.

“Yes, you are.” He pushed me back, thumbs coming up to press against my throat. “But that’s not the only reason I’m here.”

I didn’t ask why; I didn’t have to. We were in the same boat. Who better to spend time with now, than someone who was safe? Who wasn’t a risk to a relationship that was already strained? Who you knew wouldn’t fall in love with you and follow you around like a lovesick puppy.

“This will change things—for you, especially.”

He closed his eyes, gritted his teeth, nodded. “Sometimes change is . . . necessary.”

“Oh, Lucien.”

In that moment, I felt so bad for him. He’d not slept with anyone without Peter since they’d met. That he was resorting to it now, for just a moment’s comfort.

Lucien tensed beneath me. “If you’d rather not—”

“Shut up.” I bent and kissed him, hands sliding down to work his pants off. He helped, ridding himself of his robe as well. He grabbed the waist of the small shorts I was wearing and ripped them in half, dropping the pieces to the ground.

“Hey, I liked those shorts!”

“You look better without them.”

Laughing, I stretched out over him. “Nice of you to realize that.”

“I always have. Trouble is, the sword that is so pretty—is still so very sharp.”

 

To be Cont’d at your favorite retailer!

Soul Mates Reading Order:

Soul Mates: Bound by Blood
Soul Mates: Deceptions
Soul Mates: Sacrifice
A Coven Christmas
Possession
Instinct
Soul Mates: Secrets
Mark of the Beast
Clarity

 

I know it’s pretty far from the Christmas season, but A Coven Christmas is now back up at retailers. I’ve cleaned it up and given it a new cover, but that’s it!

CovenChristmas_Cover640x1024

A COVEN CHRISTMAS

Peter can hardly believe it when he wakes up and finds the house he and Lucien share with the coven decorated for Christmas. Simon has decided they need to have some joy and laughter back in their home, especially after the recent tragedy that the coven has suffered. As friends arrive and settle in, it’s clear that Simon has planned a night of surprises for them all.

Second Edition.

Now available on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Scribd, Barnes & Noble (Nook), and All Romance Ebooks.

 

Excerpt:

I awoke to an empty bed for the first time since I’d been turned. It hadn’t been that long, but having a constant shadow at all times could make six weeks seem twice as long. After a quick look around, I realized that Lucien wasn’t in the bathroom, wasn’t in the closet. I sought him out with my mind, but got nothing in return. That was . . . unusual.

Stretching, I got up and slipped on my soft, silky pajama bottoms. My skin was still so sensitive to clothes that it was all I could do most of the time not to go without. I grabbed my robe and headed for the door.

The moment I opened it, I was hit with an odd, yet familiar mix of scents. It smelled like . . . Christmas?

Well now that really was odd. As I’d found out the first few weeks living at the mansion, very few holidays were celebrated by the coven. Halloween was about the only one and, except for the last one, it was usually a full out orgy on the grounds with most people going half or fully naked.

It was rare to see someone in an actual costume.

I walked down the hallway, scent after scent drawing me toward the kitchen. I could smell sugar and cinnamon and chocolate. Peppermint and clove. But above all of that, I could smell blood. And meat—fresh, raw meat that had my inner wolf salivating.

However, the kitchen was forgotten as soon as I stepped out of the long hallway. Our main living area had been transformed into something that looked like it was out of a holiday magazine. Furniture had been moved away from the large front window and in its place was a huge, decorated Christmas tree. It had to be at least nine feet tall. Lucien levitated near the top, affixing some sort of intricately carved metal star to the tree top.

Speechless, I took in the rest of the room. There were gifts stacked three and four deep beneath the tree. A fire was lit in the fireplace, a number of festive stockings lining the mantel. Rugs and blankets and pillows covered the floor around the fireplace and tree, making me wonder if I’d missed some sort of special call for a Christmas orgy.

This was just . . . I shook my head, confused as hell.

“Oh, Lucien,” Simon said as he stepped out from behind the tree, still looking up. “That’s perfect.”

Lucien considered it for a moment before landing softly on the floor. “What do you think, Peter?”

“I think I’m in the wrong damned house.” I walked over to stand between them. “Other than that, it looks festive.”

“I told you he was going to hate it,” Lucien said to Simon.

“I don’t hate it,” I said in defense. “Since when do we do Christmas?”

“Starting now.” Simon wrapped his arm around my shoulders and kissed my cheek. “I want to see smiles again, laughter, happiness. With everything that’s happened in the last few months, I think we need this.”

Lucien stared up at the tree, shaking his head. “I’m not sure we’re allowed to celebrate Christmas, Simon.”

 

To be Cont’d at your favorite retailer!

Soul Mates Reading Order:

Soul Mates: Bound by Blood
Soul Mates: Deceptions
Soul Mates: Sacrifice
A Coven Christmas
Possession
Instinct
Soul Mates: Secrets
Mark of the Beast
Clarity

So, it’s been a while. I realize that. Too long for some readers, who are perpetuating a rumor that I have just walked away and have abandoned all of my works — in progress and those that are in need of re-publishing.

Just want to say… not true, at all.

Yes, some of the earlier titles have been re-released. Most publishing contracts are for a limited amount of time. Thankfully, mine have all ended and the rights have reverted back to me. It takes time to format them again to get them back up, but it also costs money because the original cover art no longer belongs to me. It’s a mechanical process for me, not an “artful” one. I don’t have to be creative to do that, just follow my guidelines.

As for writing… I have been trying to get back into the groove, but it’s not as easy as some must think. Authors don’t just sit out at the computer and spew random words out onto the screen. It’s a process. And when one has lost that creative focus, it’s a hell of a lot harder than it used to be. At this point, I’m having to go through all of my series notes, the novels, the short stories, etc., just to make sure that I’m headed in the right direction. To get these characters back in my head and talking again. They are, but they’re waiting patiently for me to catch up. :-)

As most of you are aware, my Dad passed away a little over a year ago. In order to try to deal with that extraordinary loss, I threw myself into work outside of the house. Long hours and hard work left me drained. By the time the school system let out for summer break and I got my month off, I was to the point of being unable to get out of bed. I couldn’t walk 10 feet without becoming overwhelmingly exhausted and to the point of just passing out. We knew I had a brain cyst, so we thought the worst, of course.

(Scroll to the bottom until you see “more” for info on that if you wish. I won’t force anyone to read my issues.)

So, yeah. It hasn’t been a fun few years for me guys. I dropped EVERYTHING, yes, to take care of my dying father. I don’t know if some of these people have ever been in that situation, but let me just tell you that any and every bit of creativity I may have once had/felt… was just gone. Utterly and completely gone.

Until now.

I can say that there are currently 110 pages / 40,000 words written in Soul Mates #5. It will be at lease triple that, so it won’t be a short novel. It also won’t be the last in the series.

Other works… I’ll be picking those up as I can as well. Promise. Just be patient as I work through my disease and my limitations. We all have limitations, but most of us don’t have people chomping at the bit for us to get over them and just hurry up already. Or sitting there watching to see if we fail at that whole “comeback” thing. So, nope. Didn’t abandon anything, it’s just taken me this long to get back HERE.

(more…)

Most may have heard by now, but I figured that I would go ahead and post it. Sometimes it’s hard to see comments wishing Dad a speedy recovery. If only…

Daddy passed away on August 6th, 2012.

Even though he had been diagnosed with a rare, terminal disease, his death was sudden and unexpected. He hadn’t quite hit those “stages” we expected. But God called him home before he had to go through the parts of the disease that scared him the most. Still… We all thought we had more time.

It is now mid-March, 2013 and I’m still going through the grieving process. Just when you think you’re doing okay, a memory will hit… And down we go again. I spent a lot of time curled up in a dark room, wishing it were all a nightmare. That I would have given any and everything to be so exhausted from caring for Dad, just as long as he were back with us. But it doesn’t work like that and eventually we have to crawl out of that darkness.

I went back to work fulltime, working with the same people Dad did before he had to take disability leave. It is a strange, interesting thing… but it feels like a good way of coping and dealing with the massive hole he left in my life.

On the writing front… Several things have gone Out of Print with my previous publisher. I decided to go my own path and will have those available again here soon. My cover artist is doing an AWESOME job with the covers and I can’t wait to show them off.

Thanks so much for your patience for the last few years. I truly appreciate the kind words and support and hope to be back on track in this thing we call life here soon.

~Jourdan 

 

**If you’re one of the people waiting on a PO BOX address for signed books… I have decided against that at this time. I will offer signed bookplates as soon as I am able to create them and will mail them out to the address you have given me. I will send you an email when they are ready to be sent. No need to keep emailing me, asking me when… It will happen when it happens. Some of you are more patient than others and for that, I am so VERY thankful.**

It’s taking forever with what’s going on in real life keeping 99.7 % of my attention, but I’m trying to get the site at least partially back online. I used the Wayback Machine to try to make things a little easier/faster…and it has. Except all my links had to be replaced because the Wayback Machine makes them a little funky. So, putting those in by hand.

Book covers, taking a little longer. Other content… just gone.

My 10 minutes is up, I guess. The handbell just rang down the hall, so I’m off to tend to Dad.

*waves*