Tag Archives: RWA

Oh, how-the-times-they-are-a-changing!

Happy Tuesday, Scribe’s readers. PJ Sharon here, recalling how not so long ago, the idea of self-publishing was as taboo as wearing stripes and plaids together—a fashion statement to be strictly avoided. Today, it seems anything goes!

I was told I was crazy, that I shouldn’t do it, and that I was ruining my chances for a traditional publishing contract. These days self-publishing (preferably called Indie publishing to avoid confusion with Vanity publishing-an icky and antiquated model where authors pay exorbitant fees to shady publishers and get little in return for their investment), is just one more avenue for great writers to share their stories with the world. No longer considered a “last resort,” but now thought of as the “right path” for many writers for dozens of reasons, “Indie” publishing has become a buzz word that is changing the face of the publishing world forever! Can you say “print only contracts?”

Whether you do it to be more in control of covers, editing, and production schedules, or because your stories are awesomely written but are different enough that traditional publishers would never pick them up, or simply because 70% royalties sound a whole lot better to you than 10% or less, the bottom line is that it’s a viable career choice today.

What this means for readers:

1)      A variety of books to choose from that are often different than anything that NY has published before.

2)      Lower e-book prices and tons of free books to choose from.

3)      More personal interaction with authors since Indies have truly embraced social media as a way of connecting to readers. (Without “publisher” support, authors are more on our own than ever before, which goes for trad-pubbed authors as well).

What it means for writers:

1)      More freedom to write what we want to write and be in control of our product and our careers.

2)      The opportunity to set our own production schedules and write what is selling in the current market.

3)      Higher royalty rates but less distribution opportunities. Big publishers still have a major advantage here with both distribution and name recognition/legitimacy with retailers. Hopefully this will change over time as the industry evolves.

4) Realize that along with total control comes total responsibility, which can be overwhelming at times. For people like me who like to be their own boss, it’s really kind of awesome!

A perfect example of how quickly the field is growing and how the perception has changed is the RWA National conference I attended last week. Having Indie published my first title in 2011, I skipped last year’s national convention in Anaheim in part due to the fact that they had little to offer for Indie-pubbers. This year, there was an entire track devoted to everything from formatting to marketing your indie books. It included panel discussions and author chats with some fabulously successful Indie authors as well as focus sessions with all the major e-retailers.

I was amazed to see the shift. The energy and excitement were electrifying! I was also ecstatic to see that they opened up the RITA awards to Indie authors for next year. How cool is that? Obviously RWA was listening to our feedback. They may have been behind the fast moving curve, but they are working hard to catch up. Not that they have much choice, lest they risk being left behind by a good number of their members. Talk in the Indie camps the past year or so was that many were either jumping ship because the organization was treating them like the red-headed step child, or because successful trad-authors who had gotten the rights to all their back list of books were jumping on the Indie train in droves and RWA didn’t want to lose them. Wise decision on their part IMHO.

RWA (and most of NY) may be finally catching on and realizing that Indie is not synonymous with “inferior.” With the mega amounts of competition in this new market, Indie pubbers are quickly learning that quality products are key to selling successfully, and they are putting out some superior products–a reality gaining notice with agents and editors. There will always be the folks who upload an unedited, unprofessional, poorly written document that they (and their mom) think is the cat’s meow, but I believe that those will become fewer and farther between as the market continues to become more competitive.

Like any business, you have to be willing to invest in creating a quality product. Hiring cover artists (which I learned after a few missteps), editors, formatters, and even PR help might be what it takes for an Indie to stand out in the overcrowded book market of today, but there are so many opportunities for growth, it’s just crazy! From audio books to foreign translations, and the growing number of distribution channels offering pre-orders to getting our books into bookstores and libraries, Indies can now compete on equal footing with Big Six (or five) publishers. It means tons of work for the mom and pop publishers like me, but the sky is the limit! I suspect I’m one of the many Indies who are eking along at a crawl in terms of sales, but I can see a light down that long tunnel and I expect as with any new business, it could take me 3-5 years to see the financial success I’m working toward.

I’m still waiting for RWA to change their PAN (Published Authors Network) requirements for Indies, however, as this is still an inequitable measure of professional success and would exclude me from entering the RITA’s. As it stands now, traditionally published authors only need to earn $1000 to be eligible for PAN, while Indies need to earn $5000. Although I’ve earned out twice that amount and more on my first five titles, I haven’t quite earned it yet on one single title, which excludes me from eligibility. I’m oh, so close though!

I’m not saying that Indie publishing is right for everyone. It requires a lot of self-discipline, hard work, and some business savvy, but if you are sitting outside the traditional mold and thinking “I’ll never get published,” there is now another way. Do your homework, get educated about the process, and make the choice because it fits the career model you want. And if you still want a traditional contract, there is always the “Hybrid author” model. Like I said, the sky is the limit and it’s a brave new world in publishing. Be BOLD, and go after your dream, however and wherever the spirit leads you!

So what do you all think about this new publishing paradigm?

Why I Love Savvy Authors by Riley Darkes

Savvy Authors 04 - 1.2 Colored SoloWelcome friends and happy Friday. Casey here. Today, I have a special guest from Savvy Authors – Riley Darkes. Writers, if you haven’t hear of Savvy Authors, you are missing out on a valuable resource. I hope you check them out after you read Riley’s post!

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What made you decide to be a writer?  Remember the first page you wrote when you decided you were finally gonna do it? You sat down to write that debut novel, sure it would be the next Harry Potter. Was it because of some life-long dream? Maybe it’s something you’ve worked toward all your life?

Or like me, maybe you found a long-lost passion. In middle school I won a writing competition and I decided to be a writer. I’ve always had my nose stuck in a book – just ask my dad, he used to b*$#h because I’d rather read my Harlequins than be social and play outside. Somewhere along the way, I set aside my dream. Although I continued to use journaling and poetry as a means to express myself, it wasn’t until I found the Romantic Times Convention that I had what I like to call the “Why the F$*# Aren’t I Writing a Book?!” moment.

I’ve always considered myself artsy-fartsy. I’m decent at whatever I try; cake decorating, scrapbooking, painting, poetry, driving, etc. I’m SUPER smart and totally pretty, and everyone thinks I’m funny. And I know grammar… just ask my friends, I correct them all the time and they are crazy grateful to have me around.

There’s no way I could fail at writing.

Right?

The first words I wrote as an adult were for the Beginning Aspiring Writer’s workshop at RT Con in 2010. Man, I knew I was hot stuff. That author who critiqued my pages would be blown away! She’d run and tell her publisher about these AWESOME pages she’d just read and the next thing you know, I’d be answering to J.K. Riley… because I was sure to be THAT big.  

Not. Even. Close. Honestly, I had no clue what the hell I was doing. My characters were based off of real life people (yeah, don’t ever do that), I developed this weird Sci-Fi background (uhm, WHY? I despise Sci-Fi!), and my POV was all over the place (what do you mean my character can’t see her eyes sparkling?)

Judi McCoy, author of The Dogwalker Mysteries, taught the 2010 Aspiring Writer’s course, and for reals, changed my life. Judi’s mantra was, “finish the damn book.” Oh yeah, that woman spoke my language.  I learned about publishing, agents and editors, genres, POVs, hooking, and more. I met amazing women like Bobbi Smith, Jade Lee, Linnea Sinclair, Stacey Kade, and Mia Marlowe, who are passionate about mentoring aspiring writers.

I was sad to part ways with my new friends, but I discovered many of them were part of a local Romance Writers of America sponsored group, Central Ohio Fiction Writers (COFW), and also an online website called SavvyAuthors.com, created by writers for writers. COFW provided monthly face-to-face interaction that the girl in me craved, and Savvy Authors fed my workshop-slut appetite with *gasp* new workshops starting every week!  (Between you and me, I’ve taken 6 workshops at once!)

When I began volunteering at COFW, I met writers like Suzanne Brockmann and Simone Elkeles, and agents such as Kristin Nelson and Donald Maass (fan girl squeal!). I had a lovely lunch with Barbara Vey from Publisher’s Weekly, and dinner with Brenda Novak. The networking opportunities and experiences I gained through COFW are mind-blowing.

I began volunteering at Savvy Authors soon after RT 2010, moderating workshops and chats, assisting with events and coordinating volunteers. For the last year, I’ve been the Special Events Coordinator at Savvy Authors and I’ve had the pleasure of working with agents and editors, teachers, published authors of a wide range of genres, and hundreds of writers. My favorite events are the Boot Camps, where you team up and compete against other teams to win prizes based on the number of words written throughout the month (think NaNo).

I met my best writer-friend and critique partner in my first Savvy Authors Boot Camp. She’s half a world away in Melbourne Australia, and we meet nearly every day to work on our stories despite the twelve hour or so time difference.

Writing can be a lonely profession. If you’re full-time, you can’t go into the office and hang out at the water cooler with your co-workers rehashing details about your awesome weekend. And even if you could, imagine telling your banker peer that the awesome part of your weekend was finishing the gruesome murder scene in your latest horror novel. Let me know how that works out for you.

Writers need writers. Without RT Con, my local RWA chapter, and SavvyAuthors.com to keep me focused on my goals, I’d have given up by now. Misery loves company and when I’m having a crap writing day and feel like a fraud, I need friends who tell me to shut the hell up, keep writing, and finish the damn scene.  And you better believe I return that favor.

The late Judi McCoy said, “Call yourself a writer. If you want to be a writer, tell people you are a writer, no matter what your day job is.” She went around the room and asked each person, “What do you do?”

I answered then as I answer now. “I’m a writer.”

 Bio: Riley Darkes lives in the Suburbs of Central Ohio where she plays with mortgage laws during the day and plans Savvy Authors Special Events at night. In her copious free time Riley-thumbnailshe writes stories about teenagers, love, mystery, and magic.  She’s a hardcore Savvy Authors fan, a member of the Central Ohio Fiction Writers RWA chapter, and a frequent RT Convention goer. Find Riley posting lolcats on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rileydarkesauthor), retweeting crap on Twitter (@RileyDarkes), or sporadically blogging about lip gloss addictions, stick people drawings, and other random things at www.RileyDarkes.com. 

Join the Savvy Authors admin and volunteers as we tour the blogosphere in anticipation of the launch of our improved and updated website. We are excited to share our love of Savvy, and all writing communities, with each of you during the summer months. Below is a list of stops we’ll be making – please feel free to stop by and say hello! (and definitely check out the new look of our site)

 May 27th – Melinda B. Pierce on Author’s For Life http://authorsforlife.org/under-construction-by-melinda-pierce/

June 10th – Ella Gray on The Speculative Salon http://speculativesalon.blogspot.com/

June 19th – Sharon Pickrel on Pen of the Dreamer http://calisarhose.com/chit-chat/

June 21st Riley Darkes on Writing Secrets of Seven Scribes https://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/ ßYou are here!!

June 24th – Angel on The World in My Hands http://angel-leigh.com/blog/

June 25th – Leslie Dow on A Writer’s Musings http://constancephillips.com/blog/

June 28th – Marilyn Muniz on http://www.marilynmuniz.com/ 

July 1st – Lynda K. Frazier on Guelph Write Now http://guelphwritenow.com/

Scribesters – if you have questions about Savvy Authors, please ask. We’d love to hear about how you’ve benefited from a writing group. And if you haven’t joined a group, what’s holding you back?

Workin’ for the Weekend

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had one heck of a week since the last time we met here at the Scribes blog.

I’ve been super busy getting ready for this weekend, as in day after tomorrow. Our RWA chapter (CTRWA) is hosting a writer’s conference on Saturday. We’ve got 135 attendees, 15 workshops, and 15 editors and agents ready to take pitches. This year I’m involved in the planning and execution phase of the conference, and let me tell you, unless you’ve seen it firsthand, you would not bee-leeve the amount of work that goes into preparation for a conference of this size and scope. Others have worked far, far harder than I (you know who you are), so I’m not looking for sympathy here! The next time you attend a conference — even if it turns out to be not everything you’d hoped for — take the time to thank the organizers, who are probably volunteers. You could also buy them a drink, just sayin’.

Dream it and Achieve it, Baby!
In the midst of the preconference frenzy, I’ve been putting final touches on my manuscript and practicing my pitch for the agents and editors I’ve targeted as likely to want my story. Consequently, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. Very sweet. Here’s one of my family’s favorite cookie recipes. Hope you enjoy it! And if you decide to make it, could you drop a few off at my house? I just don’t have time to make my own right now!

ORANGE DREAM COOKIES

  • 2-1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. finely grated orange peel (orange part only, not the bitter pith)
  • 2 cups (or one package) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup orange flavored dried cranberries (such as Craisins) – optional, but I like the way they “tart up” these quite sweet cookies and intensify the orange flavor
Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a larger, separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and orange peel and mix well. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the white chocolate chips and cranberries.
Drop by rounded teaspoonsful onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silicone baking mat, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until just set and very lightly browned. Don’t overbake these cookies, as the chips tend to get grainy and the cranberries get too dry.
Enjoy!  And if you’re pitching this weekend, Good Luck! I’d love to hear how you’ve prepared yourself.

Top Three Reasons to Take and Teach Workshops

How is it Tuesday already? PJ Sharon here, bringing to you my top three reasons to both take writing workshops and give them. Of course my main reason is that I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning.

I also think we owe it to ourselves and others to pay it forward when we learn something useful. After all, sharing ideas is the reason we write.

I just finished taking an online workshop called YA Heroes Journey, offered by my YARWA buddies Jennifer McAndrews and Linda Gerber. It was excellent! I loved how they were able to give me immediate feedback on my WIP and help me to improve my grasp of plot, character archetypes, and the deeper motivations of my hero and heroine.

Over the past six years, I have taken dozens of online workshops through RWA’s individual chapters, Savvy Authors, and YARWA (young adult chapter of RWA), and have never been disappointed. In addition to these online workshops, I’ve had the privilege of attending the RWA National convention five times, CT Fiction Fest four times, and a Romantic Times Booklovers Convention for the first time this year. All of these venues offer incredible workshops and endless opportunities for networking—not to mention tons of fun!

 Here are my top three reasons why you should take writing workshops:

1)      To hone your craft. When I began writing down the crazy stories in my head, I had no idea there were so many rules to writing. From point of view and plot, to balancing dialogue and narrative, I felt as if I could study the craft for the rest of my life and barely scratch the surface of all there is to know. I make it a point to take workshops as often as I possibly can.

2)      Feedback on your WIP. This is probably one of the most valuable parts of taking a workshop. So many times, we struggle through the rough patches of our stories and suffer alone, feeling as if we can’t see our work objectively or find the forest through the trees. It’s great to have critique partners, but it’s also good to have objective individuals give you a fresh perspective on your work.

3)      Affordable and focused education. It takes about $30,000 and more than a couple of years of your time to obtain an MFA. During that time, you spend a considerable amount of energy focusing on literary critique of published works, reading and writing poetry, and working to earn grades rather than working on your own projects. Not that this is entirely a bad thing, but if you are planning to write genre fiction, it might not be the best use of your time and resources. The workshops I’ve taken range from $10-$25, are taught by talented and dedicated writers and published authors, and last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month. A very wise and doable investment in my opinion. You can take the workshops you need, when you need them, and take them for a fraction of the cost of college courses.

In addition to all of this fabulous learning, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of teaching. Over the years I’ve taught ice skating and yoga classes, done personal training with individuals and groups, and given workshops on health and fitness related topics. I’ve hesitated to jump into the arena of teaching writing workshops, mainly because I still feel like a newbie in so many ways. It probably doesn’t help that I teach a monthly writing class to a group of teens who constantly make me aware that they are much smarter than I am.

 But after doing a craft corner last year for the CTRWA group about writing fight scenes, I realized that indeed I do have something to offer by way of workshops. I know about martial arts, I know what makes a good fight scene, and I’ve taken a few workshops on the topic. So by popular demand, I’ll be offering my very first workshop, “Fun with Fight Scenes,” at the upcoming CT Fiction Fest conference on May 12th. Other presenters include Kristan Higgins, Jessica Andersen, Toni Andrews, and Jennifer Fusco, just to name a few. We also have the fabulous Sherry Thomas as our keynote speaker. Incidentally, there will be plenty of opportunities to pitch your story to some of the best agents and editors in the business. You won’t want to miss it! 

Here are my top three reasons to give a workshop:

1)      Share knowledge with other writers. If you’ve been working to hone your craft for a few years and have worked hard to complete a few novels, you know a little something about writing. Even if you don’t feel up to the task of teaching “on writing,” I’d bet  there is some area of expertise you could share with your fellow writers that would give them a leg up on their WIP.

2)      Networking. There is no better way to get exposure to new people than to teach a workshop at a conference or online. Getting our faces and our talents in front of industry professionals is an incredible marketing opportunity. If you are in the “business” of writing, setting yourself apart as an expert or authority on a sought after topic is a great way to get some notice.

3)      Public speaking experience. Again, if you are planning a career as a writer, there will be many occasions where you will be required to present yourself publically. Whether it’s pitching your story to an agent or editor, or doing a radio or TV interview, the more experience you have with public speaking, the better prepared you’ll be for whatever opportunities come your way.

 If you haven’t been to a conference in a while (or ever), there is still time to sign up for CT Fiction Fest. I’d love to see you there!

 What was the last workshop you took? Have you ever taught one? I’d love some tips on how to make mine stand out.

We Give You Fever — Interview With Debut Author Joan Swan

Happy Thursday, Scribesters!  It’s an especially Happy Thursday for me, Suze, because after our freak October snowstorm and multi-day power outage, my neighborhood has been restored to full capacity. Thank you, O Great Electricity Goddess!  

Please welcome triple RWA Golden Heart finalist/double Daphne Du Maurier finalist Joan Swan, whose debut novel FEVER will release on February 28, 2012 from Kensington Brava.  Joan is generously giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky random commenter, and a handmade custom FEVER bookmark to five more.  (Check out that cover, romance lovers — you KNOW you want a bookmark!)  Contest ends Friday, November 4, at midnight EST.   Take it, Joan!

Temperature's Definitely Rising At The Scribes!

How do you battle the doubt monster?  Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

I respect the doubt monster.  It’s taken me a long time to get there, but I’ve learned that if that doubt is creeping in, my subconscious is trying to tell me something.  If it’s whispering, “Your plot is silly.” I take a harder look at my plot.  If it’s nagging, “Your characters are insipid.” I say, “Er…um…hold on, let me look that up…” *tick tock* *tick tock* *gaspFlat, dull and uninteresting?  I say, “How rude! Get out of my way. I need to smack a few characters into shape.”

Now, if it’s saying things like, “This is drivel, no one will buy it.”  Here’s how I approach that:

1)      Go to a movie

2)      Take a walk on the beach

3)      Buy myself something pretty

4)      Get a massage

5)      Generally kick myself in the ass, tell myself to take a pill, suck it up and get back to the freaking keyboard already

Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before?

Best Bookmark Ever!

Every story.  Every time I contemplate a new story, I push myself to take it a step further.  If what I just wrote was sexy, I want the next one to be sexier.  If what I just wrote was dark, next one has to be gritty.  This one had three povs, next one will have five.

What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell?  What is holding you back?

I have a contemporary story I want to tell.  A sexy, sensitive cowboy; a feisty, independent horse trainer.  A small town with lots of history.  A secret…or three.

A trilogy, I think, the other two books stemming from the sexy, sensitive cowboy’s two brothers: sexy, secretive and sexy, saucy.

The only thing holding me back is this too freaking short 24 hr day, the human need for sleep and the pesky needs of husband, children, pets, day job…  Ah, the trials and tribulations of daily life.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

That I got this far.  This industry is truly brutal.  If I didn’t feel compelled to write, if I didn’t know this is where I was meant to be, I would have dropped out of the race a long time ago.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I’d be a publicist.  I’ve discovered that I love the promotional avenue of publishing.  The website design, advertising, coordinating blog tours, organizing interviews, etc.  I mean…for someone else—coordinating and scheduling them for someone else. J

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere.  What is yours?  What is it about?  What makes it terrible?  Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

FEVER is my 10th novel.  This could take a while because I feel that all my past stories are salvageable to some degree.  And I’m completely impartial!

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book.  How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?

Torture.  I don’t let them off as easily as Jane.

What made you decide to write romance?  Who are your favorite romance authors?

I write romance because I can’t seem to NOT write a romance into a story.  When I read, I prefer suspense or thrillers with a romantic thread.  But when I write, romance seems to take over a lot more of the book than those I read.  And I could never answer that second question…I’d have to commit hara kiri because I could never name them all—and they’d all be favorites for different reasons.

Your book, FEVER, will release on February 28th, 2012  Tell us about it. 

Debut Author Joan Swan

Oh, I love FEVER…even two years after writing it, fully rewriting it once, rewriting the second half again and editing it…I don’t know how many times.

FEVER is the first of the Phoenix Rising series.

The overarching series plot broils around a government conspiracy after the explosion of a military warehouse injures a team of seven hazmat firefighters, killing one.  The contents of the building, extremely confidential and dangerous radioactive chemicals used by the Department of Defense in secretive scientific experiments, have inflicted the team with various paranormal abilities.  Abilities the government wants to study covertly.  Abilities the team wants to understand and expose.  With military advancement and national power at risk on one side and personal health and freedom at stake on the other, each group is fighting for precious stakes.

FEVER is about one of the seven firefighters, Teague Creek, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, framed by a government threatened by his prying questions into the warehouse explosion.  Teague has been denied an appeal, lost the daughter he lived for, and the career as a firefighter he loved.  With no hope left, he plans an escape.  But his plan goes wrong when the woman he kidnaps as leverage to get his daughter back turns out to be someone else.  And this woman quickly clues into the abilities he tries to hide, creating a bond neither can afford while they’re on the run from both the cops and undercover operatives who want Teague silenced.  This time, permanently.

What was your biggest mis-step in your writing career so far?

Not connecting with writers and readers sooner.  Not taking the career seriously sooner.

My first final in the RWA Golden Heart was in 2006.  When I was notified, I was polite and pleased and said thank you.  The woman on the phone was clearly disappointed, saying, “You’re the only person I’ve called today who hasn’t screamed.”  And all I could think was, why would I scream?

I didn’t understand how important RWA was.  I didn’t understand how much a final placement in this contest could have meant for me at that time if I’d pursued it.  I didn’t understand how important relationships and networking is in this business until very recently.  I let a lot of time and a lot of opportunities pass me by.

Do you have a word-related pet peeve?

Oh, I have a lot of pet peeves, but words aren’t typically among them.  Wait, wait…yes.  I really, really hate the word ain’t.  Really hate it.

What is your junk food of choice?

It would be easier to tell you what’s not my junk food of choice: anything green and leafy.

Love: jelly bellies, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, spice drops…this could go on for pages.

What’s next for you?  Can you give us a sneak peek?

I’m having a lot of fun with a new paranormal that ventures deeper into the genre, exploring witchcraft, demons and true evil.  It’s complicated, dark, gritty and sexy.  Very fun!

Here’s a little unedited, never-before-seen excerpt of the WIP:

Delaney didn’t wait for an invitation.  She pushed her shoulders back and rounded the doctor, stopping on the threshold. 

Beckett wasn’t sitting on the gurney or pacing the room as she’d expected considering his itch to leave.  He was lying on the gurney on his back, one filthy black cross-trainer dirtying the crisp white sheet with soot, the other foot crossed over the opposite knee.  He wore only jeans.  Dark jeans.  Unbuttoned.  And above that unfastened button stretched a canvas of bronzed skin tight over a lean torso.  A torso mottled with collections of furious bruises and marred with raw red gashes that had been glued back together.  One forearm lay over his forehead, the other hand holding a notebook at arm’s length directly above his face, where he appeared to be studying notes.  His biceps were as equally bruised and scraped and as equally sculpted as that chest.

Delaney stepped into the room, but kept a healthy distance, unsure what to expect.  “Chief Beckett.”

The arm on his forehead jerked down and his head swiveled toward her.  His face may have taken the hardest hit.  She couldn’t even tell what he truly looked like with all the swelling and bruising.  And another few lines of super-glue stitching made him look Frankensteinish.  But his eyes were…beautiful.  Big and brown and warm.  Outlined in thick black lashes.  Accented with heavy black brows—one of which sported another nice gash.

He squeezed his eyes shut, winced and brought a soot-blackened hand to his forehead.  “Holy f***.”

“Don’t touch your face until we get those cuts covered,” Garner said, moving closer.  “And I told you, no sudden moves.”

“Then don’t flash a piece of a** like that in front of me.”

Delaney tightened the cross of her arms and the clench of her teeth.

Garner cast her an apologetic look.  “Like I said…”  Then turned back to Beckett, helping him as the man struggled into a sitting position.  “This is Agent Shaw from Special Crimes.  She’s here to work with you.  Considering your condition, Chance, I think it would be in your best interest to keep your mouth shut for a while.”  

******

Delaney turned to Dr. Garner.  “If you drug him into oblivion, and only if you drug him into oblivion, I’ll take him off your hands.” 

Thanks, Joan!  I can’t wait for FEVER.  It’s available for preorder here from Amazon, and here from Barnes and Noble.  Don’t forget to comment for your chance at Joan’s great giveaways today.  For more information about Joan, see www.joanswan.com.