Tonight! on Story Hour

I’m reading in an hour and a half on The Story Hour. Tune in to Zoom or Facebook Live for a couple of short stories from my upcoming collection of short stories, Unsafe Words.

Wear your comfy pants (interpret that as you like) and bring a glass of your favorite beverage. It’s free!

Here’s the link: https://www.storyhour2020.com/

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HWA Poetry Showcase

Screen Shot 2020-07-22 at 2.33.22 PMI’m excited to announce I’ve got a poem in the upcoming Poetry Showcase being put together by the Horror Writers Association.

My vampire poem “Transubstantiation” was written a very long time ago, when I was trying my hand at writing song lyrics. (It’s so much harder than it looks!) It was recorded by Trance and released on the album The Beaten Track in 1989. You can check that whole album out on Bandcamp: https://masonjones.bandcamp.com/album/trance-the-beaten-track

The poem has never appeared in print. I’m thrilled to have “Transubstantiation” appear beside work by Marge Simon, Lisa Morton, Sumiko Saulson, Mercedes M. Yardley, and a whole lot more of my HWA comrades.  The whole table of contents is on editor Stephanie Wytovich’s blog: https://stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com/2020/07/hwa-poetry-showcase-vol-7-toc.html

I’m not sure when the book itself will be out, but I can’t wait to see it.

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Counting Kisses in The Dangerous Type

dangerous-thI wrote this piece years ago for a romance blog that has since gone away, but I thought I would share it here, for entertainment’s sake.

The Dangerous Type, the first book in my space opera series, centers around two interlocking love triangles, with the same woman at the apex of both. The people in the story are adults. They get themselves into adult situations.  The book has been described as brutal (although I think the violence is actually pretty restrained, more hinted at that gleefully described) and grimdark (although the meek survive).  I was beginning to think that reviews tell more about the reviewer than the book at hand.

And then I got this review:

“The Dangerous Type is the perfect science fiction novel to give to your friend who loves to read hot and heavy romances. It could be a great gateway book to entice your friend who never thought they’d read science fiction. Due to the violence, use of adult language, and holy cow amount of sexual situations, I would recommend it to adults only.” – TheQuillery.com

Yes, there is sex in the book.  Inspired by Emmy Z. Madrigal’s Kiss Counts as a way to rate romance books, I went through The Dangerous Type to see what I could find.

This “adventurous space opera” has 25 kisses in 285 pages.  The kisses range from beautiful and loving to pecks on the top of someone’s head to celebratory kisses to mean, dominating kisses.  Here’s the description of my favorite:

Raena twisted in his arms until she could look up at him.  With a smile, she rose up on tiptoe.  Sloane found himself bending down.  Their lips met so softly Sloane thought he’d imagined it.

Then she pressed against him.  She was shorter than he remembered.  He lifted her feet from the floor without really intending to.  Her small hands held the back of his neck like a vise.  He felt her smile against his lips.

Eventually they separated a fraction, enough to look wonderingly at each other.  Raena made a long exhalation that might have been a sigh.  She stroked his beard with the palm of her hand, traced the lines which creased his face, pushed a lock of dirty blond hair back toward his bald spot.  “I’ve lost so many years.”

Sloane gazed at her.  Tears sparkled in her eyes.  The crystalline shimmer against the black depths of her eyes was possibly the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, in a lifetime of coveting beautiful things.  How could he have ever doubted this was Raena herself?  Then he remembered to put his thoughts into words.  “I can’t believe I’ve found you again.”

So yeah, big romantic kisses, complete with bald spots!

I don’t know that there are “holy cow” number of sex scenes, either, but I counted 10 of them.  They’re not all nice, it’s true.  The villain of the story is power-mad and doesn’t stop at the bedroom door.  Things might get trigger-worthy, if that’s an issue.

On the other hand, one of the love triangles is comprised of a man and two women — and the women had a relationship before they met him, so things glide from straight to lesbian and back over the course of a couple of the intimate scenes.

A different reviewer accused me of arranging the three-way scenes for the male gaze, but that’s another observation that I don’t agree with.  The ménage scenes are told from the male point of view, true, but the emotional tone is frustrated — because the women are so focused on each other that he’s an afterthought.  He wants to be the center of their attention, but their relationship with each other is older and deeper than he’s had with either of them individually. He does the best he can to keep up.

Hot and heavy? I would own that. But there are only 10 sex scenes in the 168 scenes in the novel.

So would romance readers like the book? I honestly don’t know.  It is about sharp-tongued people who are not nice.  When they love each other, they go all in.  When they don’t, the same is true.

From the back of the book:

Set in the wake of a galaxy-wide war and the destruction of a human empire, The Dangerous Type follows the awakening of one of the galaxy’s most dangerous assassins and her quest for vengeance. Entombed for twenty years, Raena Zacari has been found and released.

Thallian has been on the lam for the last fifteen years.  He’s a wanted war criminal whose entire family has been hunted down and murdered for their role in the galaxy-wide genocide of the Templars. His name is the first on Raena’s list, as he’s the one that enslaved her, made her his assassin, and ultimate put her in a tomb. But Thallian is willing to risk everything–including his army of cloned sons–to capture her. Now it’s a race to see who kills whom first.

Alternatively, Gavin has spent the last twenty years trying to forget about Raena, whom he once saved and then lost to Thallian. Raena’s adopted sister, Ariel, has been running from the truth — about Raena, about herself and Gavin — and doesn’t know if she’ll be able to face either of them.

The Dangerous Type is an adventurous space opera that grabs you from the first pages and doesn’t let go. Along with a supporting cast of smugglers, black market doctors, and other ne’er-do-wells sprawled across a galaxy brimming with alien life, The Dangerous Type is a fantastic beginning to Loren Rhoads’s epic trilogy.

You can pick up a paperback copy of The Dangerous Type for half-off on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3dCln4r or check out the audiobook on Audible: https://amzn.to/31l01FW. The whole series is available to binge, if you like it.

Also for entertainment’s sake, I counted the kisses in Lost Angels, the first of my succubus/angel books: https://lorenrhoads.com/2015/03/27/orally-fixated/

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5 Questions for Nina Soden

NinaNina Soden was kind enough to feature Angelus Rose on her blog earlier in the year, so I offered to return the favor.

Nina has always been creative, be it art, theatre, film. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Military Science from Eastern Michigan University where she spent most of her time either on stage, rappelling down buildings, or working one of three jobs. After college she moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of her dreams, like so many other actors. Nina started writing short stories in 2008. Her first 3 novels Awaken, Beginnings, and Revenge (the Blood Angel Series) were published in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Her new book is The Chosen (SECTOR C book 1):

Set in a futuristic dystopia where society is governed by a council of vampires and lycanthropes, selection students are sheltered and raised in a deceptively utopian world. Strict rules are imposed to control population growth, education, and even personal interactions with other members of the Sector, all in the name of safety. When ‘A’ comes of age, she is forced to endure the rigorous physical and mental testing of Selection Week before choosing her destiny. Those that make it out alive are announced as sector residents, given a position within the society, and allotted all the privileges of their chosen “culture.” However, when your only choices are vampirism, lycanthropy, breeder, blood donor, or banishment to the Wastelands, what choice do you really have?

Did something in the real world inspire The Chosen?

No. Most of my stories start as a dream. I get a glimpse of a scene and that sends my mind on an adventure to find out the rest of the story. I love the discovery aspect of not knowing where the story will take me.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

In Book One of this series, my favorite scene has to be the beginning of chapter 4. It is where we really get to see, for the first time, what the main character ‘A’ is like.

I had the giggles as I knelt there on the ground. Hand-to-hand had always been my favorite part of training. I was good with the book stuff—memorization and tests—but I was great at the physical stuff. I looked around at the others and saw M126 watching from the back row. He was smiling and even from that distance, I got lost in his eyes—again.

“What the heck A? The barrel of my gun is at the back of your head and you’re laughing?”

“You’re right, I should be more serious. Sorry H, I’ll try harder.” I tried to stifle my laughing, unsuccessfully. H107 was a year younger than the rest of our selection class. The leaders had decided to move him up a year because he was excelling in his academic classes and he was able to hold his own in all the physical challenges. That didn’t mean he won every fight or even most of them, but he wasn’t the worst in the class either.

“You’ve either really gone crazy or you just don’t care about losin—”

It took less than a second to throw my weight onto my hands in front of me as I threw my legs out behind me to scissor kick him. My right leg going high sent the tranquilizer gun twenty yards into the clearing and my left leg going low swept his ankles out from under him. He was on the ground, with me straddling his waist, the blade of my knife under his chin, and a stake at his chest before he finished the word ‘losing.’ “Who said anything about losing?”

He didn’t say anything. He just laid there wide-eyed before shoving me off of him and exiting the mat. I could hear some of my classmates giving him grief, but most of them were just laughing and congratulating me.

What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?

I’m a pantster. I just let my characters lead the story. Sure, I plan a little. I have an outline/planning guide for every book I write (So You Want To Write A Book) which helps me remember the small details that can get lost in the weeds. For the most part, it’s like watching a movie. I write down everything I hear and see in my mind and then clean it up in editing.

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?

Most of my book promotions are either blog tours, self-promotion on social media, or in-person author events. I think for me, the best thing was the day I had a girl come up to me during an author event to tell me that they came just to see me. That was pretty awesome.

What do you have planned next?

My next novel, The Beast Within (a working title) is currently with the editor. I will be submitting it to agents later this year.

Follow her on Facebook.

Find her on Twitter.

Check out all her books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2B4X41s

Or pick up a copy of The Chosen (SECTOR C book 1): https://amzn.to/3ht680D

The Chosen 1

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Broaden your reading

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several Black women writers about their work. Please check out what they have to say and track down their books, if you can.

InvisibleChains_v2c-cover - 2Michelle Renee Lane: Invisible Chains

A Creole slave relies on ancestral magic to escape. The book was nominated for a Stoker Award this year.

https://lorenrhoads.com/2019/07/22/5-questions-for-michelle-renee-lane/

 

Sumiko Saulson: Black Magic Women

Black Magic WomenFrom flesh-eating plants to flesh-eating bees; zombies to vampires to vampire-eating vampire hunters; ghosts, revenants, witches and werewolves: this book has it all. Cursed drums, cursed dolls, cursed palms, ancient spirits and goddesses create a nuanced world of Afrocentric and multicultural horror. Seventeen terrifying tales are served up by sisters profiled in Sumiko’s reference guide 100 Black Women in Horror.

https://lorenrhoads.com/2018/02/26/5-questions-for-sumiko-saulson/

Denise Tapscott: Gypsy Kisses and Voodoo Wishes

GKVW_coverThis Romeo and Juliet story set in Louisiana’s Carrefour Parish in the 1890s introduces the fascinating Voodoo High-priestess Grandmother Zenobia. The story is impossible to predict and completely addictive. I hope the sequel is coming soon.

https://lorenrhoads.com/2018/03/05/5-questions-for-denise-tapscott/

 

Carole McDonnell: My Life as an Onion

MyLifeOnionDenise Higgins, a young Jamaican American college student, accepts an opportunity as a sober companion. Her job is simple: keep Ben Moreau away from drugs and report back to his parents. Not only is he a gorgeous and wealthy French Korean with an ever-so-charming personality, he is willing to befriend her so long as he can have her loyalty.

https://lorenrhoads.com/2019/01/14/5-questions-for-carole-mcdonnell/

Black voices matter.

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