Friday, July 29, 2011

Guest blogger Gwenna Sebastian and her book: VN2

Writing about the Military and Vietnam.

I like writing military romances about men. It's a bit of a niche market right now but thanks to recent current events, military romances of all sorts are becoming very popular. I especially enjoy writing my stories based in the military culture of the Vietnam War.

The military of the sixties and early seventies was vastly different from the military we know today. The majority of those young men who did their one year tour in Vietnam were Army draftees—there because they had to be. Unlike today's military which is entirely voluntary.

I love weaving in bits and pieces of Vietnam into my stories. It's more than just the history, it's a slice of how life was then. The GI slang and lingo was colorful, rarely PC and made up of a combination of military, Vietnamese and French. It was also dangerous, where so many died in just the first month alone of serving their tour.

The research is not just a hobby for me, but a passion. I not only read and collect books (both fiction and non-fiction), but I've met and talked with many veterans. And up until a couple years ago. I enjoyed the services and support of a military advisor who had worked on both movies and television series. Regrettably, he passed away unexpectedly. But from him and some of his contacts, I learned a great deal about the Army and the Vietnam War.

I enjoy weaving bits and pieces of that knowledge in my stories because I feel it adds depth, color and interest. Without it, it could be about any war but that's not what I want to write about or you as a reader to see. I want you, as my reader, to feel, see, and hear the Vietnam the same as my characters.

It's not always nice and neat and clean- my character Mark Connor from Lost and Found is a great example of that. Drafted at the age of eighteen in 1968, Mark left the only home he knew to become an infantry soldier or "boonie rat". He lost his lover, Ryan, in an ambush and in many ways died there himself. Forty years later, when he meets former Marine, Josh Myers, he still thinks in the same way he did back then and there. He's hard edged and bitter, swearing and smoking and speaking his mind, whether it's PC to say it or not. He doesn't remember the enemy as Viet Cong or North Vietnamese Army in his nightmares—he remembers them by the names he and his buddies used, such as VC, Charlie and other less polite terms. He doesn't remember riding in a helicopter or Huey, but rather a "slick" and he didn't walk through the jungle, he "humped through the bush."

Mark served near the Demilitarized Zone, north of a real base called Chu-lai and south of Da Nang. But the firebase he, Ryan and his buddies were stationed is my fiction. Although Josh didn't serve in Vietnam, he was in Beirut at the time of the bombing of the Marine barracks- another actual event in our military history. Mark and Josh are essentially of two different times and certainly two different branches of the military and that's another source of color I enjoy using. Josh refers to Mark as Dog Face—a very popular insult Marines used during the Vietnam War to refer to Army soldiers. Mark calls him Jarhead and Door Breaker, again, commonly used insults. It's part of the military culture and very much a part of who these men are.

VN2, my upcoming release (July 29th from Breathless Press), is a futuristic story, but it's still all based on Vietnam and the military culture of that time. My editor once noted my guys "talk like guys" and I'm proud of that. That means they swear, (a lot), use the lord's name in vain, (a lot), do things that guys do that aren't always polite or correct or nice. They are soldiers, grunts and ground pounders serving in a thankless war on distant worlds on back water posts.

I also wanted the planet, VN2, to be reminiscent of the real Vietnam: hot and sticky and wet with constant rain during the monsoon season. The Viet Cong and NVA often entrenched themselves in tunnels and I've used the same concept here on the planet. I continued to use the lingo as well. For example, living quarters are still called "hootches" and the lieutenant is referred to as "L-T" (Pronounced El-Tee), a common nickname.

I want to thank Cynthia for having me as her guest and letting me rattle on about my obsession of the Vietnam War. She knows first hand about all of it as she was my editor for both Lost and Found and VN2. She has been a God send in understanding and supporting my quest to keep my authenticity in my racy military romances.

Doc spoke to him, trying to get his attention, but Nathan ignored him. He had more important things to worry about and they centered around the young Truebred. The officer still shifted, keeping the wall at his back, trying to keep an eye on everyone even as he shook his head.

Something that had died with Ben six months ago woke anew in Nathan. The Bond whispered at him, insistent, nudging him with the realization that the young officer would be his new mate.

And that made Nathan pause as he realized what was happening. It had been more than eighteen years but he could still remember when the Bond had recognized him and Ben for each other.

Now it recognized two incomplete souls that were meant to be a whole, the Bond singing along Nathan's nerves. In the blink of an eye, everything changed, and he would no longer be alone.

This could not be happening—he couldn't, shouldn't be Bonding—again.

But the Bond continued to urge him to go to the Truebred who would be his new mate. For a long moment, the room disappeared around him and Nathan found himself standing on a different plane, the young officer there with him. They looked at each other, the other man in confusion as the newly forming Bond shimmered around them. Nate reached for him…

Nate! Listen to me!

Doc grabbed his arm, trying to pull him around but Nathan yanked free with a growl. Back off, medic!

The remaining Regulars who had backed the officer into a corner must have sensed the guy was near the end of his rope. With nods to each other, they started to advance on the Truebred. The lieutenant raised his head, eyes brilliant and shifted his weight forward. It was apparent to everyone he wouldn’t go down without a fight.

"Damn brat, you're gonna know respect when we get done with ya'." The one with the broken nose motioned his two buddies to close in.

The room hazed red in front of Nathan's eyes. There was no way he was going to let these bastards get hold of that officer. The Bond called him, pulling at him, reminding him that the officer belonged to him. He felt like he was on fire.

The Bond recognized him as Nathan's and that was all Nathan could understand.

The Regulars closed in, the lieutenant backing up against the wall, head still held high. In the part of his mind that was still sane, Nathan could hear Doc relaying Sean's orders to the rest of the team to help out.

Broken Nose made a grab for the Truebred even as the Flannigan twins grabbed his two buddies from behind. Nathan lunged between the Regular and the lieutenant, shouldering the bastard back. "Back the hell off, now!"

"You got no claim here, Bonded!" Broken Nose's eyes were filled with fury. He came at Nathan, fist raised.

His vision still hazed in red, Nathan grabbed the man by the arm and slammed him hard against the wall. Dazed, Broken Nose slid to the floor. The Flannigans had the other two well in hand when Nathan turned to the young officer.

Forgetting about Broken Nose, Nathan faced the Truebred. They needed to get the hell out of there. Nathan needed to get the Truebred someplace safe. He reached out, grabbing him by the arm even as the other man looked up with large, dark eyes.

It was like coming into contact with a live, electrical current.

White-hot pain knifed through Nathan’s mind, stabbing behind his eyes and driving him to his knees, gasping for breath. He was besieged by the roar of hundreds of voices, overwhelmed with alternating waves of fury and terror that tore into his thoughts. Lost in an instant in a sea of confusion, he caught a disjointed vision from eyes not his own, looking back at all of them, himself included as he lay on the floor. All of it was hazed in red, like his mind was on fire and being pulled apart at the same time.

Someone was screaming and Nathan couldn't be sure it wasn't him. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Got a big round of reviews, today. Well, three. (That's a lot, isn't it?)

Wanda of Romance Writers Reviews said:  In the Cards has compelling characters, a breathtaking storyline, and hot sexy romance…I loved this book!!

Leigh C of The Romance Reviews called Dog-Gone But Not Forgotten: A hilarious, fun, romantic book that deserves a spot on your shelf to be read over and over again.

And then:

I have three words that best describe "In the Cards" riveting, enthralling and magnificent. The first chapter to the marvelous ending the characters and their adventures held my attention.
Cynthia Selwyn writing style was great and engaging. Reviewed by Kishia, Deviant Divas Erotic Book Reviews 

Thank you, reviewers, for making my day! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Page Friday: Silke Juppenlatz' HOWL

When life hands you wolves -- howl.

The alpha wolf in Zalin's pack is slowing going insane, which is tough enough to contend with, but the guy is gunning for the woman Zalin loves--the rancher's daughter who saved his hide. He's torn between taking off to avoid a confrontation with the Alpha, and sticking around to protect Lucia. Opening his heart to her is not an option-- he's had enough rejection to last a lifetime.

Lucia is fascinated by the "wolf" she saved--at the time unaware he was more than a canine. Zalin seems out to save her from his Alpha, but she wants more than protection from him. When spilled family secrets make her doubt everything she knows, she turns to Zalin for stability, only to learn he's planning to leave.

Will Zalin desert the one he loves when she needs him most, or will he howl a challenge on her behalf?

First Page: 

“Dad! No!” Lucia stepped in front of her father’s gun, waving her arms up and down to make herself a bigger target. “He didn’t do anything.”

The wolf growled, his body tense and ready to jump. Ears flat to his head, amber eyes wild and focused on Lucia, he drew his lip up in a vicious snarl. He’d backed up against the cave wall and had nowhere else to go. It didn’t stop the huge animal from threatening the humans at the entrance.

Graham Masterton pushed his daughter out of the way. “Move aside, Lucy. If he’s not been at the cattle, it won’t be long before he is tempted to get an easy meal.”

“I’m not letting you kill him.” Lucia watched the wolf trot along the wall. Back and forth, looking for a way out. If he charged them, he’d give her father even more of a reason to shoot him. “If we leave, I’m sure he will too.”

Her father shook his head and aimed the shotgun at the animal. “Can’t take the risk.”

“No!” Lucia pushed to throw his aim off. The buckshot went into a wall instead of hitting the wolf, but a pained yelp told her he’d been hit by something anyway. “Dad! How could you!”

The wolf whimpered and snarled at the same time. He was desperate now, darting from one side of the wall to the other, trying to find a way past them. He rushed her, and Lucia jumped back, but the wolf had already retreated. His amber eyes were restless, but he kept staring at her, his breath frosting in the air, still growling, still threatening.

“Damned critter.” Her father reloaded and muttered under his breath. “Don’t ever do something like this again. I could have shot you!”

“Dad, please let him go. Please.” Lucia clutched his arm. “Look at him. He’s scared. I’m sure he’ll run away and never come back.”

“No. This ends, right now. I won’t have him kill my cattle.”

Tears stung Lucia’s eyes. The animal looked so proud. She’d never seen a wolf at such close quarters, not even when her mother had rescued them. This one was magnificent, huge, and nothing like the scraggly beasts she remembered. His coat was a mix of dark brown and tan, with lighter colors surrounding his muzzle. He had a beautifully expressive face, his eyes hinting at intelligence she hadn’t expected to see in a wild animal.

And her father wanted to kill him.


Silke grew up in Germany and is used to things going bump in the night -- and it wasn't always the acrophobic cat, or someone hitting their head on a low beam on the ceiling.
She writes paranormal romance, usually at night, and blames Anne Stuart to this day for all her ambitions and strange stories, after reading one of her books.
These days the only thing going bump at "oh-dark-thirty" is her -- usually when she smacks into the sofa while creeping to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.

Silke likes to hear from her readers. Feel free to contact her via her blog at, follow her on Twitter, or become a friend on Facebook.

Friday, July 8, 2011

First Page Friday: Nina Croft's BREAKOUT

The year is 3048, Earth is no longer habitable, and man has fled to the stars where they’ve discovered the secret of immortality—Meridian. Unfortunately, the radioactive mineral is exorbitantly expensive and only available to a select few. A new class comprised of the super rich and immortal soon evolves. The Collective, as they’re called, rule the universe.

Two-thousand-year-old Ricardo Sanchez, vampire and rogue pilot of the space cruiser, El Cazador, can’t resist two things: gorgeous women and impossible jobs. When beautiful Skylar Rossaria approaches him to break a prisoner out of the Collective’s maximum security prison on Trakis One, Rico jumps at the chance. Being hunted by the Collective has never been so dangerous–or so fun!

Chapter One
Rico hurled himself behind the huge trunk of a tree and stood, back pressed against the rough bark as the missiles whizzed past.
An arrow thwacked into the wood behind him, and every muscle in his body tensed. He reached gingerly around and snapped it off. In the dim light, he held the shaft to his face and cursed loudly—wooden arrows. It was almost as though they were expecting him.
“Goddamn heathen peasants.” He might as well be back in the Dark Ages.
In the distance, a pack of hounds bayed for blood. His blood. And they weren’t getting it.
He braced himself and peered around the trunk, through the thick stand of trees, and spotted the crimson glow of a hundred torches not too far in the distance. Breathing in, he caught the oily scent of burning pitch.
A triumphant roar filled the air. The hounds must have picked up his scent.
Rico cursed and darted off again, weaving through the dense forest with blurring speed. He could outrun the mob and the hounds, but it was a damn poor way to end an evening.
When the sound of voices faded behind him, he slowed down and finally came to a halt. Time to get the hell out of there. Leaning against a tree, he switched on his comm unit.
“What is it?” Tannis sounded irritated, and Rico frowned.
“I need picking up.”
“It will have to be later—I’m busy.”
He cocked his head to one side, listening for the sound of the mob, judging its distance. His pursuers would be on him soon. Tannis had better get unbusy and fast.
“Tannis, stop whatever it is you’re doing, bring my goddamn spaceship, and pick me up.”
She was silent for a moment. “I’ll think about it.”
The line went dead.