Articles

Brushing Off the Dust

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog. I’ve been on indefinite hiatus from writing romance while I dealt with some personal stuff, including both my kids moving out of the house, one to college and the other to be a partner and stepparent.

It’s been a stressful few months, with occasional breaks of fun and entertainment.

Many of my books are now out of print. Those include the entire Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series and all associated books with MLR Press and Passion in Print Press, as well as all of my other titles with those two imprints. They also include all but three of my Ellora’s Cave titles, though I’ve heard rumblings around the internet that all Ellora’s Cave authors are having their rights returned in December. All of my Pink Petal Books/Jupiter Gardens books are off the market, since the publisher closed.

On the plus side, my Loose Id titles are still available, as are Love Like Vampires from Dreamspinner Press, and Dawn Over Dayfield from DSP Publications. Dawn Over Dayfield is now an award-winning book! In August, it took first place in the Mystery category of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Awards! That was hugely exciting. Now I’m waiting with bated breath to see what happens with the Edgar Awards, since Dawn Over Dayfield is also nominated for that.

My self-published novel Vengeance Is Sweet is also still available as an Amazon exclusive, e-book only.

I haven’t written any new romances. I don’t know whether I’m going to. I used to love writing them, but once I started writing for publication, and trying to get more and more books out there in the world, it became stressful and painful. Personal life circumstances didn’t help. I haven’t even been able to think of a romance *plot* in over a year, and I’m not sure whether that’s going to change.

But I still have books out there in the world, and I want to make sure people find them. I want to make sure people know *I* still exist. And someday in the future, I might self-publish some of my previously-published books even if I don’t write anything new. It remains to be seen.

I’m still writing young adult fiction under my Jo Ramsey pen name, though. I’m working on some nonfiction projects about healing, trauma recovery, and magic. (The witchcraft/spiritual version, not the up on stage with a top hat kind.) I’m starting a business related to those topics as well. I’m getting used to being an “empty nester,” and spending time with my partners and friends.

I’ll be blogging here twice a week. Mondays will be posts on a variety of topics; Thursdays will be short excerpts from my books, including some of the off-the-market ones. So I hope you’ll tune in, same Karenna time, same Karenna channel. (Wow… I hope I’m not the only one old enough to know that reference…)

2015 In Review

This week, I’m going over some of the things that happened and changed in my life in 2015. Next year, I’ll talk about my hopes and goals for 2016.

In the fall of 2014, something happened in my personal life that led to me being unable to write erotic romance. I won’t go into detail here; it’s something I’d prefer not to talk about right now, and I think I’ve blogged about it before anyway.

In early 2015, I tried to write a male/male romance. I failed. I couldn’t get the characters to fall in love with each other given the circumstances in the story, and given the circumstances going on in my own brain, I couldn’t get them to have sex, either. It became a suspense novel with romantic elements, Dawn Over Dayfield, which will be released in March 2016.

Dawn Over Dayfield’s existence owes a lot to someone who was pretty important to me during the first 7 months or so of 2015. He was a huge part of my overall support system, was very supportive and encouraging about my writing, and with Dayfield in particular, he helped me brainstorm the plot, helped me create the town (which is fictional, but is located in the part of Massachusetts where he grew up), and did the historical and geographical research I needed. Unfortunately, in August that person ceased to be part of my life, which is sad for a number of reasons, not least of which is that some really exciting things have already happened for Dayfield and I can’t share them with him. That person exiting my life also impacted my writing, though this time more on the romance side than the erotic.

In June 2015, I tried to write another male/male romance. This time, I barely managed to get 10 pages in before I ran into some pretty severe mental health issues. I chose at that point to put romance writing in general on indefinite hold.

In 2014 and 2015, a number of my books were taken out of print. Six of my nine Ellora’s Cave titles were pulled at my request due to poor sales. Several of my MLR Press and Passion in Print Press books were pulled, I think in late 2014. (Sorry. Fibromyalgia…I have a brain like a steel sieve and would have to look things up to be sure of dates.) As of now, I no longer have any books available from Pink Petal Books/Jupiter Gardens Press. All told, I think my number of existing titles was cut in half in 2015.

My last erotic romance title, a heterosexual contemporary novel, was released in March. Since then, nothing has been released under Karenna Colcroft’s name. I’ve been working on promoting my books that are still out there, and on making plans for the upcoming year, as well as focusing a lot more time and energy on writing and promoting my young adult fiction under the Jo Ramsey pen name.

It’s hard to predict where my career will go from here, but I do have some thoughts and things I want to try for 2016. I’ll share those with you next week.

Teaser Thursday- Beta Block

Beta Block_200

A warm chill ran through Brianna and her lower body tightened. She smiled, aware she was blushing. “I wouldn’t mind staying. But we’ll have all night, right? And they say anticipation makes it better.”

“They do say that.” He leaned forward and stopped. “May I kiss you?”

“You don’t have to ask.” She touched her lips to his but didn’t let the kiss linger. “We’ll have plenty of time later.”

“All the time we need.” He looked into her eyes with so much love she caught her breath. “Actually, I’m glad we’re going out. I want to show you off. Are you ready? It’s pretty warm, so that jacket should be enough for you.”

“I always thought Boston was cold in the winter.” She turned to lock her apartment door. “Is it usually like this?”

“It’s usually freezing in January. Must be global warming.” He took her hand again. “Ready? We’re taking the T across the harbor, and we’ll walk around from there unless you get tired.”

“I’m a werewolf. You think I’d be tired?” she teased. “I think you’re the one who’d better watch out about getting tired between walking and what we’re planning for later.”

“Going to wear me out, huh?” He winked. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

“Sure.” She looked away. Did I go too far? She couldn’t tell from his tone, and she didn’t dare to ask.

“I’m glad you’re comfortable enough with me to tease me,” he said. “And it’s definitely making me anticipate what’s coming later. I love you, Brianna. You don’t ever have to worry about what I think of you, okay? Not ever.”

“I love you too.” She turned to find him smiling at her even more broadly than before. “I’m kind of messed up. You already know that. It’s going to take me time to become used to a man who actually thinks it’s a good thing when I flirt with him and want him.”

“Any man who doesn’t think that is an idiot,” he said firmly. “You aren’t messed up. People treated you like shit and tried to break you, and from where I stand, you didn’t let them. If you have things you want to work on, we can work on them, or I can help you find someone to work with you. Suzannah, maybe, or there are a couple of my packmates who work as counselors who wouldn’t mind talking to you. But you aren’t messed up. Think good things about yourself, please.”

“I need help,” she said. She wasn’t going to give herself a free pass. Whether he called it being messed up or something else, she had problems, and she didn’t want him to have any illusions about her.

“We all need help sometimes,” he said. “I see a psychologist at work at least twice a month to deal with the things I see every day, and I talk to the counselors in my pack about what happened in Pennsylvania. There’s nothing wrong with needing help. Asking for it is a sign of strength, not weakness, no matter what you might have been told before.”

“You keep reading my mind.” She was somewhat relieved by it. She didn’t have to argue with him if he heard her thinking the argument.

“Mate bond.” He squeezed her hand gently. “If you’re done trying to convince me something’s horribly wrong with you, I’d like to take you out now.”

She laughed and shook her head. “I guess I failed. Okay, let’s go.”

Teaser Thursday- The Alpha’s Bride

AlphasBride 200

Over the next few days, some of the other women in the pack approached Tareth to talk about the baby and the upcoming wedding. Tareth was bemused by the attention. While most of these women had been friendly to her, none had made an effort to actually be her friend until now. They seemed fascinated by her pregnancy and her upcoming wedding to Justin, which wasn’t even planned yet. Tareth had mentioned it to Justin at one point, and he’d asked to put off the topic until after Christmas.

Christmas morning, Tareth woke to find that Justin had already left the bed. She was a little disappointed. She’d hoped he would let her unwrap him before they started on their presents. “Maybe later,” she said out loud to herself as she got out of bed.

The smells of bacon and hot chocolate filtered down the hall from the kitchen when she left the bedroom. She followed them to find Justin standing at the stove, frying eggs and the bacon she’d smelled. He wore only the boxer briefs he’d slept in, and Tareth’s mouth watered from the sight of her mate more than the smell of the food.

Her stomach rolled, reminding her that eating early in the morning hadn’t been a good idea lately anyway.

“Thanks for cooking.” She smiled when Justin looked at her. “I don’t know if I can eat right now.”

“I can probably eat enough for both of us, but isn’t it bad for the baby if you skip meals?” He paused. “That’s why you haven’t been eating breakfast. Morning sickness?”

“Yeah. Though weirdly, sometimes hot chocolate helps.” She sat at the table beside a cup filled with the beverage. Her stomach rolled again. “Maybe not this time. I do eat enough, Justin. I just can’t eat until about ten or eleven in the morning. That’s when the nausea starts to let up. I think for most women, morning sickness goes away after the first trimester, which means I should be almost done with it.”

“You can ask the doctor.” He turned back to the stove. “You called the doctor, right?”

“On Thursday. My primary care wants to see me first, and then there’s an OB-GYN in the same practice who’ll see me. Not till after New Year’s Day, though.”

“That’ll be soon enough.” He put some eggs and bacon on a plate he’d set on the counter and turned toward her. “I’ll eat over here if the smell bothers you. I need to eat something before we open our presents.”

Tareth nodded. “I can wait. I think. I have to admit I’m a little excited, though. There’s this big box under the tree with my name on it. I noticed it last night. I want to find out what that is.”

“There are three other presents with your name on them, and the big box has to be the last one you open.” Justin put a piece of bacon in his mouth. Tareth’s stomach churned again, and she ran into the bathroom.

A few minutes later, cursing her stomach but satisfied that the worst was over for the day, she brushed her teeth before returning to the kitchen. Justin had finished his meal and was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee in front of him. He stood when she entered the room. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. That’s been happening every day. Sadly, I’m used to it.” She returned to her seat and took a cautious sip of now-lukewarm hot chocolate. “Are we ready for presents?”

“I am. I can’t wait to see the look on your face.” He grinned and reached for her hand. “Come with me.”

She took his hand and let him help her up. “Are you one of my presents?”

He laughed. “Later.”

Teaser Thursday- Beta Test

BetaTest_200 (2)

The next morning, Justin awakened with his arms around Tareth. Throughout the night, he had awakened every time she moved, although he was usually a heavy sleeper. He didn’t want to let her go. After what had happened the day before, he didn’t want her out of his sight.

Which meant she wouldn’t be the only one staying home from work that day. He still didn’t want to leave the room, but he had a few phone calls to make. Carefully he eased himself out of bed and went to the living room. He hoped he hadn’t disturbed Tareth. She was thoroughly exhausted from everything that happened the night before and in the middle of the night that he wanted to let her rest as long as she could this morning.

It was only seven o’clock, but Justin doubted Chal was still asleep. Even though Chal had left him in charge, he wanted to check with the Alpha before he decided to take the day off. He also needed to talk to him about Tareth. The more he thought about it, the less he wanted to leave her behind in Boston while he went to the hunt the following night. She would be alone in the house while the wolves hunted, but that would likely be safer than staying in the city. If an intruder showed up at Sharon’s, the wolves would smell him.

Chal once again answered on the first ring. “Justin.”

“Alpha.” Justin chose to be formal, hoping it would help his case. “I’ve told Tareth to take the day off. After what occurred at the office yesterday, I think she should take a break. She was injured worse than she wanted to let on.”

“I agree. It might be best if she takes the rest of the week off, since the office is closed tomorrow.” Given how many pack members worked for Chal at the office and warehouse, both locations closed on the day of the full moon each month. Chal paused. “You want to take today off as well.”

“I’m concerned about leaving Tareth alone.”

“Put Connor in charge of the warehouse and Jillian in charge of the office for the day,” Chal said. “I think they’ll be best able to manage.”

“Thank you, Alpha,” Justin replied. “I have one more thing I wanted to discuss with you.”

“If you bring Tareth with you tomorrow night, how will you keep her safe?”

Once again, Chal had read his mind. That made things easier, though it also disturbed Justin somewhat. “I can make sure she’s in her room before the sun sets. If I tell her to stay there, she’ll listen. She knows that it might be dangerous, and I don’t plan to bring her unless she agrees. I just think that surrounded by the pack, she would be safer than at her home or mine.”

“You have my permission to bring her if she’s willing to go,” Chal said. “None of the pack is responsible if she is harmed there.”

“Thank you, Alpha.” He wouldn’t hold any of the pack responsible. He knew all too well how shifting affected one’s thoughts. If Tareth wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time, it would be no one’s fault if she was hurt, but his.

He would kill any wolf that hurt her. He just wouldn’t hold that wolf responsible.

Teaser Thursday- Beta Block

Beta Block_200

Mine. No matter how many times the word went through her mind, Brianna had trouble believing it. Carlos was gorgeous, strong, compassionate—everything she’d ever wanted, and everything she wasn’t. He couldn’t be her mate.

She sat on the couch in Mikey and Trey’s apartment, staring at the TV she had turned on for company. With the only other person in the apartment sound asleep, the place was too quiet. Talking to Carlos about her past had felt good in a way. Like lancing a boil and letting out all the pus. The comparison disgusted her, but it was accurate. Once she’d punctured the surface of everything she kept inside, it had all poured out no matter how hard she’d tried to stop it.

Admittedly, she hadn’t tried very hard. Carlos had listened and had kept his promise not to judge. Suzannah and Tobias had been the same way when she’d talked to them, but she hadn’t dared to tell them everything. They knew about most of the abuse. They didn’t know about the men she’d chosen to be with.

She hadn’t wanted Carlos to know either. Women who enjoyed sex were sometimes looked at as sluts or worse. And if a woman had been raped and enjoyed sex afterward…She had heard the opinions of some of the Sunset Pack members. Not to mention the men who had used her between the time she’d left home and her change. They thought she was twisted at the least. Damaged. Warped.

She agreed with them. She had learned from an early age that women and girls weren’t supposed to like or want sex, and even though she knew better, she couldn’t help judging herself.

She had learned to compartmentalize. To put things into neat categories so she could try to move on and live her life after everything that had happened. In her mind, what her father and some of the other men had done to her hadn’t been sex. It had been rape, abuse. Of course she didn’t enjoy it. But with some of the men she’d chosen to be with, it had been sex, and she had liked it. She understood the difference. Others didn’t, and some assumed her enjoyment of consensual sex meant she’d enjoyed all of it.

People were idiots sometimes.

Carlos had seemed to understand, and he hadn’t minded any of the things she’d told him. The kiss they’d shared at her front door said more clearly than any words that he cared about her. Possibly he even loved her already, though she didn’t believe love happened so quickly. Nothing she’d told him had turned him away from her, just as he’d promised.

Their kiss had strengthened the connection between them, too, which worried her. Having a bond with him felt right, but it also felt wrong. As if she had betrayed someone.

The moment the thought crossed her mind, she knew. And she wanted to scream.

The rogue. She knew his name, of course. She just didn’t want to think it. He had said he was making her his. The bond she’d had with the Sunset Pack Alpha had been severed the first time the stranger had fucked her. He had formed his own bond with her somehow, by force, and it wouldn’t budge to allow the bonds she should have with Carlos and Tobias.

“I’m not yours.” She spoke softly so she wouldn’t wake Mikey, but she needed to hear the words aloud. “I am part of the Boston North Pack. I am the mate of Carlos Garza. And I belong to myself.”

Teaser Thursday- The Alpha’s Bride

AlphasBride 200

Tareth tried and failed to hold Justin’s gaze. His brown eyes showed nothing other than love and concern, but she feared once her words sank in, that would change.

They’d only been together since September. Their relationship had progressed at warp speed, from barely speaking in the subway each morning to dating to fucking in the span of less than a week. And they’d moved in together shortly after the death of Justin’s close friend Chal Torres. The death which had forced Justin to take leadership of the largest werewolf pack in the northeastern United States.

Because of Justin’s role in the pack, when Tareth had first begun to suspect her pregnancy, she hadn’t told him. He had too much responsibility in his life already. Along with becoming Alpha of the City Pack, Justin had taken over running the international shipping company Chal had owned. His second and third in command were constantly at each other’s throats, leaving Justin to mediate while keeping the rest of the pack from finding out about the conflict among their leaders.

The last thing he needed was to learn that the woman he’d known only three months was carrying their child.

They’d been careless in the early days. Tareth hadn’t been on birth control, and at least twice, they’d forgone condoms during sex. She’d known the risk and hadn’t cared. Justin had said he didn’t either. She should have known better than to take such a chance, and now it was too late to change it.

Now they were both stuck. And while part of her loved the idea of giving her lover—her mate, although Justin and some of his pack had told her they’d never heard of a human being a werewolf’s true mate before—the child he could never have had with a female werewolf, she was afraid he would leave her when he found out.

Holding her breath, she tried to stop tears from running down her face. Crying was manipulative, or so her parents had taught her. She couldn’t let Justin think she was trying to manipulate him into staying.

Teaser Thursday- Beta Test

BetaTest_200 (2)

Justin’s heart gave a little jump when Tareth walked out of the office, smiling at him like going to lunch with him was the best thing she’d done all week. She was so beautiful, and he was proud to be the one taking her to lunch. He couldn’t believe things were happening so quickly between them. He’d expected finding one’s mate to be like finding a girlfriend. Slow, taking time to get to know one another before anything physical happened. He knew that wasn’t the way things always went, but at seventy years old—though he looked only thirty thanks to shifter-slowed aging—he tended to be a little old-fashioned when it came to relationships.

He wasn’t a bit old-fashioned about sex. But that wasn’t the same thing.

“Where do you want to go?” he asked as they rode the elevator to the first floor.

“Wherever you want,” she replied hesitantly. “Honestly, I don’t eat out much. I mostly either brought my lunch to work before or picked up a burger and fries at a fast food place. So I wouldn’t even know what’s good around here.”

“I’ll take care of it, then.” When the elevator came to a spot on the first floor the small bump caused their fingers to brush. His heart gave another jump at the small touch. Even the tiny amount of physical contact with her sent sparks through him. He needed to tread very, very carefully with her to avoid another situation like the day before. That wouldn’t be easy.

He took her to a small seafood restaurant a few blocks from the office. As they walked in, it occurred to him that he should have asked whether she liked seafood. He’d just assumed she did because he did. The logic made absolutely no sense.

“I love seafood,” she said. “Great choice.”

“Good, I’m glad.” He breathed a sigh of relief and they took a table near the door.

As they waited to give their orders, for their drinks and food, they talked. Justin found himself giving Tareth more information about himself than he’d ever given anyone. He told her where he’d been born and then had to catch himself before he told her how long ago that had been. He doubted she would buy the “well-preserved” explanation for how he could be seventy years old. Not to mention that if she found out his true age, she would almost certainly decide he was too old for her.

He didn’t feel too old. Around her, he felt like a high school kid again. Only the fact that he was discussing a subject he knew quite a bit about kept him from becoming completely tongue-tied.

Teaser Thursday- Beta Block

Beta Block_200

Carlos followed and caught Brianna around the waist at the foot of the bed. She laughed and pummeled his arm with her fist. She sounded happy, even playful, but he sensed some fear and let go of her. “Don’t let me do something that bothers you. Please speak up.”

“I didn’t mind it. I don’t mind when you touch me. You surprised me, that’s all.” She put her hand flat against his chest. “I’m starting to enjoy touching you, too.”

“Then feel free to do more of it.” He held his hands out to his sides. “Whatever you want.”

She frowned and took a step back. He had no idea what he’d said, and he wasn’t sure he should ask. Instead he lay down on the bed and looked up at her. “Remember how you told me to stop thinking?”

“Yeah.” She took a deep breath and lay beside him. “Landmines. That’s how Tareth puts it. I’m discovering I have more than I thought.”

“Am I setting them off?” He would wait as long as she needed to become her mate if anything upset her.

“No, I’m doing it to myself.” She rolled her eyes. “Thinking bad thoughts. It’s stupid.”

“No. It’s understandable.” He rolled onto his side and rested his hand on her hip. “We can stop. There’s always tomorrow, or next week, or whenever you can do this without landmines going off.”

She shook her head vehemently. “I told you I’m not stopping. I told you I wanted you tonight, and I do. I’m just overthinking, and I need to knock it the hell off. I’m better at giving advice than taking it. I think I should just shut up and pick up where I left off.”

“Wait.” He sat up and took off his shirt, then looked at her for any sign of discomfort. He saw nothing except the faintest orange glow in her eyes. Despite her discomfort, she was turned on at least as much as he was. He felt her desire with his own and gave up trying to separate how much was whose.

He lay down again and smiled at her. “Okay. Proceed.”

She put her hand on his shoulder, lightly at first then adding pressure. Without the fabric of his shirt in the way, her touch warmed his skin, fueling his need.

Something wrapped around them, joining them even though the only physical contact between them was her hand on his shoulder.

Her eyes widened. “You feel it?”

“We’re mates.” He laughed with the sheer joy of something he hadn’t been sure he would ever experience. “I’m yours. That’s all it means. I’m yours.”

“And I’m yours.” She paused. “It doesn’t scare me. I never wanted to belong to anyone because it would trap me. Give them power over me. But you aren’t like them.” She slid her hand over his skin to rest on his chest. “I feel your heart.”

He wasn’t surprised. His heart was pounding, and his cock throbbed in time with his heartbeat. He didn’t remember the last time he had been so painfully hard. His wolf wanted to take her now, make love to her, fuck her, however it ended up. Wanted to solidify their bond so no one would ever be able to take her away. His human side wanted the same thing but knew enough to wait. It will happen. Rushing it won’t help.

Winter Warm-Up

Young couple embracing

Happy Friday! I’m taking part for the next few days in the Winter Warm-Up Blog Hop, in which you have the chance to win a variety of prizes from over a hundred amazing romance authors… or even the grand prize of a $75 Amazon gift card! Just visit the Rafflecopter linked at the end of this post for your chance to win, and click on the blog hop link at the end to go to the complete list of participating authors. (After you read this post, hopefully!)

For some people, Christmas is a very romantic time of year. Choosing the right gift for the one you love, seeing their smile when they open it. Cuddling and keeping each other warm (if Christmas is during the winter where you live) or spending time out in the sun if it’s summer in your area.

A lot of romance authors do Christmas or holiday stories to share with their readers, and I’m no exception. My two werewolf series, Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat and Men of City Pack, each have a Christmas novella included. I have a pair of Christmas stories posted on my Free Reads page here on this site, and this year, I have a menage Christmas story available from Ellora’s Cave. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone for the holidays is love.

I’m giving away three prizes: PDF copies of Tofurkey and Yams (male/male; the Real Werewolves Christmas story); The Alpha’s Bride (male/female, the Men of City Pack Christmas story), and Christmas Consummation (MFM menage). To enter, leave a comment below telling me the best gift you’ve ever given to the one you love.

After that, please visit www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com to see which other authors are participating in the hop. And click below if you’d like to enter the Rafflecopter for the hop’s grand prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway