#geekgirl #poetrymonth

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Me and JG circa 2003

I’m a fiction writer, but I dabble in poetry for fun. A few months back, I was working with my students writing pieces using Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech as a mentor selection. We talked a lot about stereotypes and what assumptions people make about them. It was powerful, and my kids really enjoyed writing their own pieces. At the time, Gamergate was all over Reddit. As a gamer who happens to be a girl, it hit home. There has been a building controversy over geek girls, in general, for years. When I played Everquest, fifteen years ago, most of my guildies weren’t convinced I was really a girl until we started using Teamspeak. I still get wide eyes sometimes when I talk about geeky things with people I’ve just met. There is this assumption about what gamer/geek girls should be and the backlash I’ve seen lately has seriously riled me up! Since I write with my students, and there was fire in muh belly, I wrote this piece. I thought I’d share it for poetry month.

Ain’t I a Geek?

I’ve high scored in Galaga, Tempest and Tron,
Ate ghosts and cherries with a bow in my hair,
Missed sleep to save Princess Peach,
(only to discover she was in another castle)
Explored Hyrule and Norrath and New Eden,
Azeroth and Sanctuary and Liberty City,
Battled for The Horde and The Pact.

And ain’t I a geek?

I’ve rolled a Nat20 to hit,
Pulled ten feet of rope from my Bag of Holding,
Cast Magic Missile, Prestidigitation,
And Cure Light Wounds.
Sold my armor for a diamond
And holy water to aid a fallen comrade.

And ain’t I a geek?

I’ve built my own computers,
Cut my hands on ragged, metal edges,
Held my breath for each first post,
Over-clocked and dual-carded,
Nvidia, Radeon, Geoforce, and AMD.

And ain’t I a geek?

I’ve boldly gone where
No girl has gone before,
Because I don’t care I’m still free,
You can’t take the sky from me.
Fantastic! Allons-y! Geronimo!
I’ve breathed in Bradbury and exhaled Tolkien,
Held my phaser in one hand and my staff in another,
I’ve worn my satin tights and
Fought for our rights.

And ain’t I a geek?

Swag Achievement Unlocked! DING!

 

What makes a manic Monday full of happiness? SWAG! That’s right, my buttons arrived last night. Somehow having buttons makes it all seem more real, more legit. It shouldn’t. Just having the published book should do it, but there is something about having swag that makes it all the more tangible. And I really, really love my buttons. *squee* I have bookmarks and postcards en route, too. This year at RT not only will I be a published author, but I’ll have swag. So if you are heading to Dallas, track me down and get pinned!

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Muh buttons

Seriously. Freaking. Out.

Also, Isolde’s Fire is now available in paperback for those who wanna go old school. I’ll be having a giveaway soon on Goodreads for a signed copy so stay tuned.

Now, I’m off! Must get some more words on the page before the imps awaken!

Tami Lund Cover Reveal

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★★ COVER REVEAL ★★

#CoverReveal #Paranormal #TamiLund #BookEnthu

Light Beyond the Darkness by Tami Lund Cover Reveal

Genre: Paranormal

Release Date: April 27, 2015

Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions (http://bookenthusiastpromotions.com @BookEnthuPromo)

#Giveaway:

Signed paperback copy of winner’s choice: Candy Crush or Naked Truth

Enter here ➜ ➜   http://bit.ly/1E43pPl

Add the book to Goodreads ➜ http://bit.ly/193lJjL

#BuyNow

Into the Light (Book One) On sale for $1.99 until March 25th

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1CS8GOs

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/193lipB

B&N: http://bit.ly/1BhcIOq

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1AgwCoE

Liquid Silver Books:  http://bit.ly/1C7XDRC

ARe: http://bit.ly/1NLuzlV

 

Dawning of the Light (Book Two)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1A5Ry0N

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1BmuLS0

B&N: http://bit.ly/1BmuQVW

Kobo: http://bit.ly/182a7MJ

Liquid Silver Books:  http://bit.ly/19cKCtq

ARe:  http://bit.ly/1D74avJ

Synopsis

In the third installment of the Lightbearer series, lightbearer Carley Santiago and shifter Reid Hennigan are running from their pasts. Hiding in the human world, they meet and sparks fly. But what happens when Carley’s past threatens to ruin her relationship with Reid?

Carley was once the premier chef for kings – the King of the Lightbearers, that is. But when her mate pushes her over a cliff and she miraculously survives, she flees her home, the coterie, knowing he will want to finish the job. She figures hiding in the human world is the best way to ensure her own safety.

While working as a chef at one of Chicago’s top restaurants, she meets Reid Hennigan, a lone shifter running from his own past. Carley tries to push him away – she wants nothing to do with anyone from the magical community – even a persistent shifter who insists he only wants to show her pleasure.

Reid Hennigan is another reject from Quentin Lyons’ defunct pack. When he received word his pack master was dead, Reid ran away from his pack, from pack life, having no interest in being forced to be subservient to another abusive pack master. Unfortunately for Reid, shifters are hardwired to desire to be part of a pack, and he finds himself wandering aimlessly through life, with no clear idea of what to do next. When he stumbles upon the shy lightbearer while eating the best steak of his life, he discovers a new lease on life.

Reid sets out to woo the beautiful, broken lightbearer. Passion turns to love, and Reid figures his life is pretty damn perfect, despite no longer having a pack. But Carley has secrets of her own, and her secrets.

 Excerpt

“He sent it back?” Carley asked in disbelief.

Sara nodded. “He said he can tell you didn’t make it, and he refuses to eat anything from this kitchen that does not come specifically from you. He suggested you could come out and talk to him about it.”

Carley shook her head and rolled her eyes. She would just bet he was open to her going out into the dining room to talk to him.

“Tell him I’m not making steaks tonight. Tell him I’m focusing on the vegetarian dishes,” she said suddenly. She grinned when Sara walked away. That ought to teach him.

The waitress returned a moment later. “He wants the vegetarian special,” she said. “And the key lime pie.” She tilted her head and gave Carley a quizzical look. “What’s going on with you and that guy? I thought you said you didn’t know him?”

“I don’t,” Carley insisted. “I know…someone close to him,” she said. She knew Tanner and his mother, Ariana, Finn, and Lisa, the shifters who were currently living in what had once been Carley’s home, the lightbearers’ coterie. Whether this shifter knew them or not, she had no idea. But they were the same species. That meant he was closer to them than any other species, right?

She washed her hands and nudged Eric away from the vegetable station. “He wants our vegetarian special? I’ll make him a vegetarian special,” she announced, and she set to work chopping every damn type of vegetable she could find.

When Sara returned with the empty plate from the shifter’s table, she held it up for Carley’s inspection and said, “He wants to speak to you. He said he’ll summon the manager if you don’t go out there.”

Carley’s heart sank. The manager would undoubtedly force the issue, if it was brought to his attention. He saw no reason why his chef wouldn’t want to go out into the dining room and schmooze customers.

“Fine,” she grumbled as she sliced a wedge from one of the key lime pies she had made earlier in the day. She deliberately dropped it onto its side on the plate and didn’t add garnish before shoving a few strands of hair behind her ear and stomping out of the kitchen.

“Here,” she said as she unceremoniously dropped the plate onto the table.

The shifter gave the sloppy slice of pie a cursory glance before lifting his pale blue eyes and focusing so wholly onto Carley that she was certain he saw absolutely nothing else in the room at the moment. How could someone be that focused? She didn’t think she’d ever had anyone pay her such full attention in her life.

She fidgeted, nervously twisting her hands together before she realized what she was doing and clasped them behind her back. The shifter continued to stare at her.

“You owe me for that one, Carley.”

She visibly jerked at the sound of his voice, low and deep and smooth as whiskey.

“For what?” she asked, wondering how in the world he knew her name and for what she could possibly owe him. As far as she knew, she’d never met the man before yesterday.

“That dinner. As enticing as it was eating something with your magical stamp on it, forcing me to eat vegetables does not put me in a particularly good mood.”

She blinked owlishly. “I didn’t force you to eat vegetables.”

“You refused to make me a steak.”

“Sean’s steaks are practically as good as mine,” she protested.

“‘Practically’ isn’t yours.”

With a great deal of effort, she pulled her gaze away from his and made a swift perusal around the restaurant. All human, and none were paying them any particular attention, other than the ones she knew were listening at the door behind her.

“Do I know you?” she asked.

“Not yet,” he replied.

She frowned. “What is that supposed to mean?”

His voice pitched low. “It means I intend to get to know you, every inch of you, from the inside out. I intend to possess you. I intend to do things—” He reached for her, and she pulled away as if he was about to hit her. He froze, mid-reach and mid-sentence. And then he slowly lowered his hand.

“You’ve been abused,” he stated, matter-of-factly.

She shook her head, trying to deny it. Don’t go there. Don’t go there.

“Past lover?”

She shook her head again. How had the conversation turned to this?

“Family member then.”

“No,” she finally managed to get out.

“Who?”

“Stop,” she said as she lifted her hand, palm facing out. “Just stop. This is none of your business. I don’t know you. I don’t even know your name, and I have no idea how you know mine. I—” He cut her off.

“My name is Reid. And one of your employees referred to you by name yesterday, when I went into the kitchen to meet you.”

“Fine. Fine. Reid. Look, Reid, obviously you know what I am, and I know what you are. So can we just be honest with each other? What do you want from me?”

“I was in the middle of telling you when you flinched away as if you expected I would hit you.”

Carley blew out a breath. Damned instincts. But it was hard to change the only way she knew how to interact with men.

“I don’t know how you found me, but—”

“It was purely by accident.”

She drew in a ragged breath. “Fine. By accident. Whatever. Look, I’m trying to establish a nice, normal life here. One that doesn’t involve shifters or lightbearers or anyone else from the magical community for that matter. That means there isn’t any room in that nice, normal life for you. So the best thing for you to do is just finish up that key lime pie and go back to whatever pack you came from, okay?”

“I can’t go back,” he replied. “And it isn’t acceptable that you have no room in your life for me.”

Was he serious? She stared at him. He certainly looked serious. If he was joking, he was doing a damn fine job of acting deadpan. Too fine a job.

“I don’t understand,” she finally said.

“Which part?”

She flapped her hand. “All of it. What do you mean, it isn’t acceptable? Since when do you have any say in my life?”

“Since I entered it and decided I want you.”

She stared again, her jaw falling open. “You want—”

“You.”

“Me?”

“Clearly it isn’t for your quick wit.”

She snapped her mouth shut and stabbed her finger at the restaurant entrance. “Get out of my restaurant. You can’t have me. Get out. Now.” She didn’t wait to see if he complied. She turned and stalked back into the kitchen with her head held stiffly, refusing to turn around and look at him again. She didn’t need to, to know he was watching her. Lights above, she could feel the intensity of his stare without having to look.

Just as soon as the kitchen door swung shut behind her, she leaned against the wall and took great, gasping breaths. Her entire body shook as if she was in shock. Hell, she probably was.

Someone thrust a glass into her hand. The stench of bourbon assaulted her nose.

“Drink,” Vivian commanded. Carley obediently drank, and then sputtered and gasped when the amber liquid slid down her throat.

“What did he do to you?” Vivian demanded, clearly having decided she was coherent enough to speak of the incident.

“Nothing,” Carley said.

“Well, what happened, then? You’re shaking like a leaf. Something scared the crap out of you. What was it?”

Carley shook her head, but Vivian was a tenacious human being. Finally, Carley admitted, “I’ve never stood up to a man like that before.”

Vivian looked at her as if she’d just sprouted an alien head. Carley shook her head again.

“My father—he wasn’t exactly the most loving parent. And I ended up in a really bad relationship,” she said, conscious of the fact that she’d never spoken of this to anyone, not since the day she left the coterie, five months ago. “I never had the option to say no.” She smiled, just a little. “It sort of felt good.”

“Hell yeah, it did,” Vivian said fiercely. But then she frowned. “Problem with those types, though, is that they generally see someone like you as a challenge.”

“What does that mean?” Carley asked in alarm.

“It means that I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of Mr. Rare Steak.”

Release day! *flails*

I can’t believe it! It’s finally here…ISOLDE’S FIRE released today! I couldn’t sleep last night and now I have no clue what to do with myself. Not a terrible problem to have 😉

Here are some buy links: Amazon   Barnes and Noble   iBooks     Kobo    LSBooks

Sign up for my newsletter here!

Without further ado, here is today’s teaser:

They were kicking her out, leaving her to her own devices. It made sense. Why take the risk for a stranger? She was dangerous. It’d been proven time and again. She wasn’t used to being a part of anything, so why did she feel she’d lost something? Despite the fear and the unknown, a bloom of hope had been planted and had taken root. It was amazing how quickly hope grew within a heart. “Yeah, I get it.”

“I said ‘we’.” Conlin pushed a stray curl out of her face and let his hand linger a moment, his finger tracing her jaw line and tilting her face until she met his eyes directly. Her initial instinct was to pull away. He was too close, his gaze full of steely determination, but his hand kept her face still. “I promise you. I’ll protect you. You’ll learn control and we’ll return here.” His sheer size fulfilled that promise. She had no doubt he could protect her. Flames licked through her body, a heat that had nothing to do with her fire affinity and everything to do with desire. “This I swear. I won’t let anything happen to you. You’ll never be alone again.”

How did he know her worst fear? To never belong? To never be a part of a family? It was disconcerting and downright freaky. He was mere inches away awaiting her reaction. Too close. She could feel the heat coming off his body. He started to move in even closer, and she was convinced he was going to kiss her. Just as his lips were a hairsbreadth from hers, he stopped, pulled himself back, and cleared his throat. “We better get moving. You in?”

The Bands that Define Them

Fourteen days until ISOLDE’S FIRE is released! *bounce* While you wait, here’s a little character insight.

Writing the post on music got me thinking.  What would my characters’ soundtracks be like? What are their favorite bands?  What do they dance to in the kitchen? (Yes, I do this a lot.) What would be on a road trip playlist?  What are their favorite drinking songs?  What songs do they listen to when they’re angry, sad, or happy?

We all have soundtracks.  The songs that mark passages in time.  The songs that bind us to others.  The songs that define us.

Keeping this in mind, I gave myself an assignment.  I gathered a few of my characters in a room and threw out a question.  I wrote it as if I were eavesdropping on their conversation, transcribing the words and actions as they happened.  When I was done, I decided to share it with all of you.

What are your favorite bands?

Conlin – I’m fairly eclectic.  Tool, Fugazi, Johnny Cash, Zepplin, Tom Waits, Duke Ellington.

Dru – Conman will listen to anything.

Conlin (shrugs) – If it’s good music, it’s good music.  At least I branch out.

Dru – Hey, I branch out.

Conlin (laughs) – Yeah, right.  What from sludge to death?

Dru (suddenly very serious) – There are all types of metal, man.

Conlin – But it’s still all metal, Dru.

Dru – I have not educated you enough, my friend.  Every single metal band, if it’s good metal, is distinct.  You have your classic metal – Black Sabbath, Pantera, Metallica, well, the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets era.  Then you get into the ‘90s.  Rage Against the Machine. Deftones.  System of a Down. All unique.  Crowbar’s from New Orleans.  They’re what you call sludge metal. And you can’t leave out Meshuggah.  They will blow your mind. Trash metal, death metal, math metal, call it what you will, they are the shit, man.  And if you really want dark and twisted, try Cannibal Corpse.  They –

Kasey (cutting Dru off) – Really, Conlin.  You had to get Cheeto all riled up and waxing poetic?

Conlin – It’s too easy, Kase.  Far too easy.  (winks)

Dru – You suck, Conman.  And you, rat, shouldn’t talk.  If it isn’t Radiohead, it’s crap, right?

Kasey – So? I’m a bit obsessive with Radio-

Dru – A bit?  Kasey you followed them around the country.  Twice!

Kasey – There’s nothing wrong with that.  I had the time and –

Dru – The stalker inclination…

Kasey – Not a stalker.  I just like the music.

Dru – To excess.

Kasey – You can’t OD on Radiohead, so let me have me my fix.  Besides I dig a lot of different stuff, like old school Kraftwerk, for instance.

Dru (rolls his eyes) – You mean, Crapwerk.

(Kasey jumps up from her chair and whacks Dru on the arm.)

Dru – Ouch, rat.  You are stronger than you look.  That hurt.

Kasey – Good.  (Kasey grabs a Mountain Dew and flops back down in her chair.)  What about you, Izz?

Izzy – The Black Keys and Heartless Bastards are on permanent rotation at the moment, but I’m a Texan, so Willie resides in my heart and soul.  There’s nothing better.

 

I really enjoyed writing this little vignette.  It was fun and gave me insight into my characters.  Also of note, certain characters demanded floor time.  It’s always interesting to me whose voice will command attention in any given scene.  Kasey and Dru yelled the loudest this go-round.

What question would you want to ask the characters?

Ask the characters a question or leave a comment. One winner will be chosen at random on March 13th for an Amazon gift card. I’ll choose one reader question to write a new vignette release week!

A Little Book Music

Music helps me delve into the heart of a scene, setting the tone and pace. Perhaps this comes from my origins in theater. Whenever I do a play, I create a soundtrack for my character. I play it throughout the rehearsal process and each night before I go onstage.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. A song can take me to an exact moment in my life and suddenly I am there again.  I can almost taste and touch the moment.  I hear Blondie and I am roller skating around my cul-de-sac, all arms and legs and Farah hair and uncertainty.  I hear the B-52’s and my heart is racing as I fumble in the dark, making out with a boy for the first time.  I hear Van Morrison and I am crying as my best friend travels hundreds of miles away.  I hear The Proclaimers and I am walking down the aisle hand-in-hand, having just said, “I do.”

The soundtrack of my life is how I mark time.  Someone will ask when an event took place and all I have to do is associate music with the event, and I know exactly the time and place it occurred.

As I wrote Isolde’s Fire, certain music just worked.  There really wasn’t a rhyme or reason.  Some was new music; some was old.  One day nothing seemed to work until I drug out an old Belly album and suddenly I was in the groove.

So for those musical fanboys and fangirls, like me, here are the albums that were in frequent rotation while I wrote.

The Decemberists – Picaresque Hazards of Love
The xx – xx
Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials Lungs
The Duke Spirit – Bruiser
The Black Keys – Brothers
Phantogram – Eyelid Movies
Thao & Mirah – Thao & Mirah
Belly – Star
Magnet – On Your Side

I’m not sure what it was about these albums that clicked for me.  There was a lot of other music I was listening to that didn’t work while I wrote.  I’m curious what the next soundtrack will be.  Will some albums appear again?  Or will they forever be associated with book one?  I know I can’t hear The xx without having Conlin and Izzy whispering in my ear.  Their story is most definitely not done.  Mayhaps in book two The xx will slip into rotation when I focus on them, like having their own theme song.

 

 

Cover Reveal

Coming March 16th
Coming March 16th

My new shiny! And it’s available to pre-order! *bounce*

LSBooks             Amazon

Links to Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobe will be up shortly.

About Isolde’s Fire:

Isolde “Izzy” Connors has melted one car door, fried five iPods, and singed her ponytail at least ninety-nine times over the last ten years. She doesn’t know much about her power as a firestarter, just that it’s one hell of an inconvenience. When her uncontrolled gift makes her a target, the Houston Collective of Magic Users swoops in to save the day, plunging Izzy into a shadow world she’d never dreamed of. She’ll have to learn to trust the ragtag team of quirky supernaturals if she wants to survive. If only their smokin’ hot leader weren’t so arrogant, irritating, and overbearing.

 

Thrust into command of the Houston Collective, Conlin is blindsided by Izzy, a fire affinity who could easily burn up the whole city if she doesn’t learn to rein in her power. And she’s come at the worst time. A rogue magic user is killing preternaturals, threatening the tenuous peace between the rival factions in the Bayou City. To solidify the alliance, Conlin will have to enlist the help of the local werewolf alpha, which rankles. But if he doesn’t learn to balance his responsibilities and put old grievances behind him, his people might die…and so might Izzy.

All the Flails

This is ME!

kermitflails

Why? Because I got an offer on my book, Isolde’s Fire!

More details and plenty of fighting, fucking, and fireballs headed your way soon. Now I’m off to bounce some more. SQUEEE!

Missed Connections

Here is my contribution to #rt14flashfic. Thanks Del Dryden for the fabulous prompt! This is for all those missed connections made while trapped on freeway parking lot during rush hour.

_________________________________________________________________________

Red

“Get out of my way or I might shove!” All my angst releases in a glorious mess of off-key screaming as I belt L7’s anthem.

Red flashes in my periphery, and it isn’t the red of brake lights in front of me or the red of my anger at the mess I’ve made of my life. It’s the red of the temperature gauge—the red that means smoke is about to start streaming from under the hood of my car. I turn my radio down, kill the AC and roll down my windows, allowing my inner sanctum to be breached by every stranger in every car on the road. Tilly, the car I’ve had since high school, is one of the few places I can be totally alone. No roommate, no co-workers, no parents.  Just me and my music and my freedom. I cherish these fleeting moments I can yell or cry or laugh with abandon.

But as I open my windows, my peace is shattered. The wet muggy heat of August and the smell of engine fumes invade my space. The worst offender is the bass thumping from the giant truck in the next lane. His windows are down and his music is turned all the way up. The courtesy I’ve extended neighboring drivers is thrown back in my face by this asshole.

Any anger purged from my system in my twenty-minute jam session has come back two-fold. I can’t see the driver, but all of my volatile energy has been reassigned. I have a target.

The car ahead of me moves a couple feet, and I ease forward. I turn my head and narrow my eyes in anticipation. His hand taps on the steering wheel. His shaggy brown hair is flopping over his eyes as he nods his head on beat. He’s completely oblivious to the cars around him, as if having the windows down doesn’t change his peaceful world at all.

A pang of jealously rips through me. I’m always putting everyone’s happiness before my own, even on a packed freeway full of strangers.

I reach for the volume knob before my courage leaves me and start singing. Hesitantly, at first, but by the chorus I’m unfettered, my voice rising up above the radio, out the window, and to the cloudless summer sky.

All the red has left my vision. No more brake lights, no temperature gauge, no anger. I look over at my shaggy headed rescuer. This time I’ve broken his wall. He’s staring at me, a grin pulling at the edges of his lips. He’s turned down his stereo, and I watch his mouth move, but I can’t hear over the sound of my own music. The car behind me lays on its horn and I notice the lack of cars in front of me. I slip back into my old skin and hit the gas, leaving my savior behind.