Snippet Saturday: Winter

Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This Saturday’s snippet is quite appropriately about winter. I think I’ll go with Claustrophobic Christmas. Incidentally, in Claustrophobic Christmas, the characters reference a snowstorm that happened in the 90s during the holidays, and a YA short story I have that’s currently FREE, The Worst Christmas, tells that tale, albeit with different characters.

So anyway. Claustrophobic Christmas features a traffic jam that happens due to some very unfriendly winter weather. Not that readers won’t realize that’s what the story’s about, but here’s the first time we get into the hero’s POV and he realizes it’s going to be a white Christmas.

***

James shook himself and headed for the parking lot. While he’d been inside pretending the rest area was a meet-cute, snow had speckled his truck. Icy flakes wet his neck and face, interspersed with the drizzle that had dogged him since Texas. The light was grey, barely filtering through the clouds.

It really was going to snow. Hell. He couldn’t put off calling home any longer. His nosy sisters had left eighty thousand messages at his mother’s behest. Everyone was expecting him—and Darcy—and he needed to break the news. No, Mother, I won’t be getting involved with a Tallwood girl, moving home, and popping out twenty babies. What’s worse, I suspect I’ll be late for dinner.

His older sister Juanita answered. Thank God it wasn’t Sally. Sal was Mother’s clone, but Nita might give him a break.

“Hey, loverboy,” she said. “How’s it going?”

“She said no, so it’s going shitty.” James swiped the driver’s side window with his sleeve while he talked, not bothering to get his gloves.

“I’m sorry, Jamie. I thought Darcy liked you.” James could hear a billion females gabbing in the background. He was the only boy, the middle child of five, and according to his sisters, his mother’s favorite. Not including the grandkids, of course.

“I thought she did too.” Instead, his big romantic gesture had been a big waste of time.

“Is she gay?” Nita’s voice echoed, and the hubbub dimmed. She must have closed herself in the half-bath.

“Nah.” There was no reason for Darcy to have lied about being gay. “I don’t think so.”

“I heard she almost married some Hispanic man a couple years ago. She wasn’t gay then.”

“That would be Luis.” During their many exchanges, she’d mentioned men from her past but never a Heath, one of the reasons James figured Heath was imaginary.

“Her brothers thought Luis was a great guy. They were disappointed it didn’t work out.”

“Well, Mother’s going to have to be disappointed it didn’t work out with me, either. Isn’t Sal pregnant again? She can get obsessed with that instead. Another Jones grandchild.”

Nita snorted. “Mother can be obsessed with all sorts of things simultaneously.”

“True.” James studied the snow sticking to the cars, and the interstate with its heavy holiday traffic. The pace had definitely slowed.

Fan-damn-tastic. The futility of this journey jabbed his gut in a way it had been doing more and more lately. If he’d had his way, Darcy would have been with him and they’d have entertained each other. Warmed each other.

All his idle hours in cars or planes, commuting to jobs when he could be… He didn’t know what else he could be doing. Whatever it was, he’d thought it might involve Darcy.

Guess not.

“Is that Jamie on the phone?” his mother yelled.

“Crud,” Nita said. “She found me.”

Unlike Darcy, speaking of his mother was like conjuring the devil. Her voice grew sharper and louder. She must have opened the bathroom door. “Ask Jamie if Darcy likes light meat or dark meat because we can save her some thigh, maybe, but the kids always want the turkey legs and I don’t know what they’ll do if they don’t get a turkey leg.”

“You should have locked the door, Nita. It’s the only way you can be safe.” James rubbed a patch of stubborn ice on the windshield, gave up, and located his scraper in the glove box. He wondered if Darcy had packed her winter gear. It was rarely needed in Texas, but the woman had sense. You only had to read her travel tips and stories in that funny little newsletter to get that.

“Lock’s broken,” Nita told him. Then to their mother, “Give me a minute, will ya? I’m in the bathroom.”

“In the bathroom on the phone,” Mother snapped. James heard the bathroom door slam. Nita would pay for that later.

“Do me a favor. Tell Mother I struck out.” He wiped the scraper on his jeans to knock the ice off. “Better yet, tell her I ran off with a cute flight attendant. To Hong Kong.”

“Not a chance. She’s already planning the wedding.” Nita snorted out a laugh when he groaned. “It’s a June wedding, by the way. At First United.”

He ran cold fingers over his face, squeezing his forehead. “Come on. I’ll give you three hundred dollars to tell her.”

“I’ll give you five hundred if I can be there when you tell her,” she countered.

“Tell her I’m going to be late for dinner too. I’m still in Arkansas, and it’s snowing.”

“So?”

“You not watching the weather?”

“Rudolph and Frosty are on constant rotation.”

“It’s supposed to get bad.” If snow and ice clogged the interstate, it would be a right bitch, and boring as hell. Traffic jams were an even bigger waste of time than the standard cross-country trip.

****

You’re so right, James.

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Places to buy all of James’ winter adventure:

All Romance Ebooks
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books on Board
Lybrary.com
Mobipocket
Samhain

Sony

More winter excerpts here! Go visit —
Lissa Matthews
Rhian Cahill
Leah Braemel
Myla Jackson
Caris Roane
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
HelenKay Dimon
Shiloh Walker
Delilah Devlin
Eliza Gayle
Lauren Dane
Felicity Heaton
Shelli Stevens
TJ Michaels

Pack and Coven Release and Contest

Hey, gang!

Since I’m not actually in the same house as Meankitty right now, I am able to post about the new release of my book that has SHAPE-SHIFTING WOLVES in it — Pack and Coven. Meankitty disapproves, so I arranged to be in another location for my release day :). She is planning on doing some extra catty things on the blog the rest of this week to make up for it, but today, it is all about Pack and Coven.

My youngest child prepared this lovely artwork for me to celebrate the release:

Now, compare that to the original, and I think you’ll agree. The similarities are uncanny!

Anyway, let’s talk contest. Since Pack and Coven features a certain tea room rather prominently, I think I’ll give away a $25 gift card to Teavana (or Amazon or B&N for those of you who don’t like tea). Your choice! I would prefer to take the winner on a jaunt to a real tea room and share one of those three-tier finger sandwich and cookie setups, but one, there’s no guarantee the winner will be local enough that I could afford such a jaunt, and two, it’s kind of self indulgent on my part, because mostly I just want another excuse to go eat three tiers of finger sandwiches and cookies.

Here’s how to enter. Leave your name and the thing you would most like to order at Miss Sandie’s Tea Room in the comments below, and I will announce the winner (per random drawing) on February 29. I will try to get in contact with you and let you know you won if you leave a way for me to do so in the comments; otherwise you’ll have three days to check back before I pick someone else

I encourage you to to let other people know about this drawing on Twitter or Facebook or the telephone or semaphore or whatever, because I’ll be devastated if I only get a few entries! Plus, Meankitty will make fun of me, and you don’t want that, do you?

So, that’s pretty simple. You don’t have to like me anywhere to get extra entries, you don’t have to read an excerpt, you don’t HAVE to retweet or share, you don’t have to email me your fan art (because who could compete with that cover, really?), nothing. Just comment below.

Here are some obligatory links about the book:

Excerpt of first 1100 words — and a visit to Miss Sandie’s Tea Room!

When Harry met June quirky werewolf excerpt

Slightly later excerpt in the “meet-cute” scene, something June is afraid of

June and Harry’s first kiss excerpt

Places you can buy Pack and Coven:

Amazon
Audible (audio format)
Barnes & Noble
Carina Press

Now, everyone go out and have some teeny, adorable, delicious bite-sized brownies today! And maybe a chicken salad croissant, if you like that kind of thing.

Sincerely,

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com  * www.meankitty.com

Me on Twitter

Me on Facebook

Book Giveaway & Real Life Romance

Three days until the release of Pack and Coven! Yay!

So I’m bugging other people at their blogs today. One, Vanessa Kelly, where we’re giving away a copy of Pack and Coven. Two, Michele Stegman, where she’s been sharing the “real” romances of romance authors.

Go forth and comment! Or not. Because a lot of you are probably felines and nobody can make you do anything.

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Pack and Coven Cover & Review Copies

I have received the beautifully blue cover for my upcoming February release from Carina, Pack and Coven, which is about witches, werewolves and West Virginia:

Harry turned out delightfully scruffy, don’t you think? Granted, Meankitty is still upset that it’s a book about dogs and that — WORSE — there are dogs on the cover, but she had an entire book dedicated to her and I’m sure there will be others in the future.
I also found out that it is now available for Netgalley reviewers from now (January) until March 8 or so: http://netgalley.com/index2.php?module=catalog&genre=&type=4&txt=Carina


If you want to review it and aren’t a Netgallier, you can contact me or, I presume, Carina Press: http://carinapress.com/blog/faq/#16 (who says you either use Netgalley or contact the person listed on that page).

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Snippet Saturday: Setting as Character

Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This Saturday’s snippet is setting as character. I had a number of stories where the setting plays such a vital role in the story it might as well be a character, but perhaps the one in which the setting practically DRIVES the entire story is CLAUSTROPHOBIC CHRISTMAS and its ice-induced traffic jam on the interstate. Here’s the moment where our heroine realizes the traffic jam is, indeed, a jam:

The truck in front of her groaned and cranked. Its taillights and brakes flickered off with a long, exhausted hiss. All around her, vehicles followed his example, headlights disappearing from her rearview mirrors.

They were giving up? But they’d only been here a few minutes! They could break free any second. Darcy tap-tap-tapped the steering wheel, faster and faster, until she caved to peer pressure and flicked off her headlamps. It was probably a mistake. She needed to be ready. If they idled much longer, it could get nasty. It was cold out there, and getting colder. Snow covered the cars, the road, the fields. Was James stuck? She reached for her phone, charging in the console, to text him, but he might not welcome any personal back and forth.

When she heard a door slam, just as he’d predicted, she twisted around to see what was going on.

There were still enough headlights for her to make out the man from the SUV tugging a large, shaggy dog on a leash. They cut in front of her to the roadside. The human hunched miserably against the wind as the dog cavorted in the possibly record snowfall.

So many tires to pee on, so little time.

Darcy had half a tank of gas, ice on the windshield despite the defrost, and cars, trucks, families and dogs all around her in the same predicament. She was hemmed in by vehicles, by snow, by circumstance. Trapped in one spot with no way out. The sky had darkened, the stars invisible through precipitation and clouds.

Pop was going to have a cow.

She was going to have a coronary.

She could take a pill. Should she? Better not. Any minute now, they’d be driving.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. Ice and sleet. Snowing and blowing.

What could she do? The lifeless fields on either side were unbroken by exits or secondary roads. The man and dog got back into the SUV. Exhaust fumes puffed from tailpipes all around, but her tips for stranded travelers—yep, she’d researched this too—advised erring on the side of caution. How long would she be marooned if she ran out of gas?

She didn’t have babies to keep warm. She shut off the motor and thought of James again. Thanks to him, she hadn’t had a drop to drink since the rest area. She was doing well on that front. Yet as soon as she thought of it, the need to wet her whistle smacked into her like the need to admire James’s backside earlier, too fierce to ignore.

An hour of blasting the heater into her face came to a crux, and she could swear she felt her lips crack. Droplets of melt water trickled down the windshield. All that icy goodness going to waste. Darcy licked her lips and gazed at the tasty rivulets. The cola she’d purchased at the rest area beckoned from the small cooler in the floor of the passenger’s seat.

Candy. James had said to suck on hard candy. Her homemade peppermint bark was in the trunk, but if she were parked here in five, no, ten minutes, she’d open the jelly beans she’d purchased for Pop’s stocking. She could always claim Santa got noshy.

Two arid minutes later, she flicked on the interior light and leaned through the bucket seats to paw through the gifts in back. Jelly beans, jelly beans, jelly beans. Gotcha! She unwrapped the flat box, saving the paper, and opened the lid. A smorgasbord of colors and flavors met her eyes.

Cantaloupe. Kiwi fruit. Cappuccino. She squinted at the tiny labels. Was there a water flavor? How about a wide open spaces flavor? Doors slammed nearby, but the jellies were more compelling than whoever had braved the blizzard to pee.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.

Something rapped her window, and it wasn’t ice.

Darcy shrieked and tossed the box into the air. Candies flew all over the car; a few stuck in her frizzy hair and rolled down the front of her raggedy sweatshirt.

It was James Jones, bending down to peer into the window at Darcy and her lapful of jelly beans.

***

Hey, maybe it’s no longer strictly in season, but it’s still a fun story! You can find the rest of Claustrophobic Christmas here:

Places you can buy Claustrophobic Christmas:

All Romance Ebooks
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books on Board
Lybrary.com
Mobipocket
Samhain
Sony

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com  * www.meankitty.com  

Here are some more excerpts in which the setting takes on a life of its own:

Megan Hart — Read in bed!
Eliza Gayle
Rhian Cahill
Lissa Matthews
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Myla Jackson
Taige Crenshaw
Alison Kent
Delilah Devlin
HelenKay Dimon
Shelli Stevens
Shiloh Walker
Zoë Archer

New Year, New Book!

Technically the release date of A Mage By Any Other Name was December 31, but who’s counting? Not me. I’m totally not counting…not refreshing my Amazon page to see the rankings, not haunting my sales reports. NOPE! This will be my last self-published release for awhile as I gear up for the February Carina release of Pack and Coven. December was definitely busy!

Here’s a little bit about the book:

“A Mage by Any Other Name”
by Jody Wallace

Ebook Release: December 31, 2011 (Amazon exclusive! For now.)
Genre:
Fantasy
Length: Novella
From:
Meankitty Publishing
Cover: Laura Morrigan

About the story:

Mary’s new job with Wizard Williwim is perfect. The tasks burn off her excess magic, the district is remote, and her employer gives her access to the highly classified library of magic. There she hopes to discover a spell that will catapult her back onto the path to the respect and approval she yearns for. For years she’s attempted one plan after another, and finally, at last, this one appears to be working.

But Mary’s life has never been that easy. After only a month, an enemy from her past reappears to endanger everything she has nearly achieved. Williwim has been challenged in a wizardrite tournament by none other than Professor Grantus, a pompous mage at Concerto College whom Mary can’t admit she knows.

The problem is, what she knows could mean the difference between success…and death. Can Mary figure out a way to vanquish a vengeful opponent who has bested her far too many times before?

This fantasy novella is 26,000 words long and contains a bonus deleted scene at the end.
This fantasy novella probably needs some reviews.
This fantasy novella has an awesome cover. Seriously! Laura Morrigan rocks.

You can buy A Mage by Any Other Name at:

Amazon (from December 31, 2011, until March 31, 2012. Please contact me if this is an issue for you and you don’t want to wait for wider distribution.)

Excerpt here! http://www.kindleboards.com/book/?asin=B006RO3LVS#sample

Book Trailer Showcase Information

Among the many things authors can do to promote their books in this day and age is create what’s known as a book trailer. This can be anything from a video of the author talking about the book to a whizbang, movie-trailer style digital featurette. I’ve done a couple book videos myself, which you may or may not realize — not counting all the Meankitty videos, of course — and recently I was contacted to see if I wanted to participate in a new online venture that will showcase author book videos. It’s a fun site and it’s having it’s grand opening on December 15, 2011. I suggested the talking gnome vid for Survival of the Fairest, and the project managers kindly accepted it.

You can find out more at their website: http://booktrailershowcase.com. I hope you’ll check it out!

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

Now on Sale: Something to Thaw any Winter Ice

CLAUSTROPHOBIC CHRISTMAS — Contemporary Romance by Ellie Marvel

Travel agent Darcy Burkell has a secret. She’s got a touch of claustrophobia (hence the title) and hasn’t traveled much. When she hires photographer James Jones, they become close cyber-friends, inspiring James to conclude Darcy in the woman for him—someone who’ll travel with him. But when he shows up at Darcy’s office unannounced and suggests they take a holiday trip together, she turns him down flat.

Her resolve is tested when she and James become gridlocked by an ice storm. Impassable roads force them to spend hours together in his vehicle…shivering. And cuddling. Will the fires still burn between them after Darcy confesses her secret?

So far I’ve seen it at:

Places you can buy Claustrophobic Christmas:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books on Board
Lybrary.com
Samhain

Try the entire first chapter free!

I need to see how much of a sample you get on the Kindle…

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

New Release: A Wintertide Spell

If the King is fated to love thirteen women before he turns fifty, is he still husband material? One cold, snowy Wintertide Eve, Queen Geneva of Foresta tracks her straying spouse in an attempt to discover where exactly he goes at night. Has he met his next great love already? Will he put her and their three children aside?

As Geneva labors over the solution to her husband’s curse, King Reginald is attempting to discover a solution for a problem of his own–and for the entire Middle Kingdoms.

This 7500 word short story is a stand-alone prequel to A Spell for Susannah.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A-Wintertide-Spell-ebook/dp/B0068OMOJW/
Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/2940013459885
Smashwords (temporarily free!!): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/105613

Claustrophobic Christmas Update

My Ellie Marvel Tallwood holiday novella has been bumped two weeks so it will come out at the same time as several other Samhain holiday books. It’ll be a regular winter wonderland on the Samhain New Books pages on November 29! And I now have the official blurb for A Claustrophobic Christmas to share:

Tagline: Travel Queen Survival Tip #23: If you get stuck in an ice storm, find a hot guy to keep you toasty.

Travel agent Darcy Burkell has a secret. She doesn’t precisely jet around the world despite what’s implied in her popular newsletter about vacation destinations. When she hires photographer James Jones to illustrate her stories, they become close cyber-friends, comparing notes on exotic locales, vacation spots, and much more.

James is sure that Darcy is the woman for him—someone who’ll travel with him instead of expecting him to stay home all the time. Putting his ideas into action, James shows up at Darcy’s office unannounced and suggests they take a holiday trip together.

Darcy is too embarrassed to admit her phobia and turns him down flat. She knows what kind of woman he wants, and she’s not it. But her resolve is tested when she and James become gridlocked by an ice storm. Impassable roads force them to spend hours together in his vehicle…shivering. And cuddling.

But will the fires still burn between them after Darcy confesses her big secret?

Warning: This title contains dreadful weather, a medium-sized misunderstanding, jelly beans that taste like boogers and coitus interruptus by redneckus.

I left “explicit sexual content” off the warning since that’s kind of understood in Ellie books at this point, right?

I hope to hold a giveaway soon!

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com  * www.meankitty.com