2021-06-03

When Magic Realism Meets Romantic Suspense

 


I just posted the following (hilariously accurate, IMO) description of my current WIP The Serpent Sigil (part one of Love Among the Runes:

"I'm working on the first novella in a trilogy. It's a humorous, magic-realism-meets- romantic-suspense story featuring an Oakland cop who was accidentally possessed by Loki when he was 13 and has been his vassal ever since. It's got ritual murder, Norse gods, and magical summonings existing side-by-side with crimes involving cryptocurrencies, bespoke synthetic drugs, the dark web and mail fraud. Also, craft beer and artisan pizza."

I think it's scarily and hilariously accurate. Also, it pretty much demands an excerpt...or maybe I'm just procrastinating.



"This is great,” I say, gesturing at our dinner, ignoring her doubts, and resisting the temptation to tease her about having investigated me in order to find out what I like. The beer is my favorite local micro-brew, Bancroft Brewery’s intensely hoppy Hop On It IPA. And the pizza— “I gotta say, I really like your taste in toppings!” that’s my favorite, too. 

 “I know,” she says with a wry tilt to her smile that makes me pause. She didn’t really investigate me…did she? 

 Of course, she did. Why would she not? 

Fiona shrugs. She reaches for a beer and twists off the top. “Obviously, I asked around. Wouldn’t you have done the same?” 

“Maybe? I mean, I don’t date much, so it’s never really come up. But, I suppose, if I really wanted to impress someone, I might try a little detective work.” I think about that for a moment, as I take two plates out of the cabinet next to the sink—melamine, casual, but not paper plate casual—and then add, obviously without thinking, “Of course, with my luck, it would come across as being too stalkery. And I’d end up scaring the shit out of my prospective date” 

Fiona chokes on her beer, and I hurry to reassure her, “Not that I’m suggesting that you… I’m flattered that you’d go to that much trouble. Really.” 

 And this right here, in case you’re wondering, is a big part of why I don’t date very much. That and the presence of my forever chaperone. 

“Mm. Very flattered, I can tell.” But her eyes are sparkling, and she sounds like she’s teasing, so hopefully I haven’t offended her too badly. 

 You could date more often. I would offer no objection to it. In fact, I’d quite like it if you would

Oh, I bet you would. Horny old goat. 

For the record, I have dated, and it’s been…okay. But the stealth aspect has always bothered me. A lot. I mean it’s fine for a random 20002 scenario—your basic hit and run—but if you’re hoping for something real or lasting, then I think little things like honesty and transparency are important. Everyone involved should have a clear understanding of just who and what they’re getting themselves into. Unfortunately, attempting to explain to a potential bedpartner that there might occasionally be an incorporeal demi-god joining in on the action seldom turns out well. In fact, it’s a real good way to find yourself sleeping alone. 

“But, just so we’re clear,” Fiona says. “This isn’t a date.” 

“What’s that?” Okay, now I feel stupid and—let’s face it—a little let down. “Oh. No, of course not. I didn’t think it was. Did I say date?” 

“Because I don’t date cops.” 

“Right. Me, neither.” I’m nodding, like one of those damned bobble-head dolls now and I can’t stop myself from adding, “It’s not like a hard limit, though. For me, that is. It’s just—” 

“Not a good idea.” 

“No. Exactly.” 

“Because it tends to end badly so much of the time.” 

“Definitely. I mean, in general. But—” 

“And having to work together afterwards is so awkward.” 

“Absolutely. ’Couldn’t agree more.” 

“And then, of course, in my case, there are already enough cops in my family. More than enough.” 

“Oh, for sure.” 

“I would have to be crazy to want to add more to that equation.” 

“I can totally see that. What a nightmare.” 

“It would be nonstop: shoptalk 24/7. I’d never get a break.” 

“Right? Horrible.” 

“Yeah.” 

“Yeah.” 

Finally, having beaten that subject into dust, we both fall silent. “So,” I say, before things can get more awkward. “Let’s eat! Do you want to sit in here? Or in the living room?” 

“Let’s go inside,” Fiona suggests. “I think there’s a game on, isn’t there?” 

“Sure. Has to be.” 

FYI? As far as I can tell, there’s always a game on—of some sort, anyway. And at risk of having to turn in my Guy card, I don’t care all that much about any of them. Still, we fill up our plates and settle on the couch and I happily relinquish control of the remote to Fiona, but after fiddling with it for a few moments, and flipping through some channels, she gives up on the game as well and turns on some music channel instead. 

And then it’s just us and the food, a surprisingly smoky soundtrack of mostly piano and sax, and a quietly brooding Asgardian prince lurking in the wings. And it’s nice; pleasant, relaxed, hardly crowded at all. 

“I like your house,” Fiona observes after a few minutes, between bites of pizza. 

“Thanks.” I glance around appreciatively. “I like it, too.” 

It’s a hundred-year-old Craftsman bungalow; all dark wood, clean lines, and the aforementioned plethora of windows. By now, I feel like I know every inch of it. I’ve rewired the antiquated electrical system; sanded and refinished the floors; stripped decades of paint from molding and paneling; replaced windows; repaired tiles; replastered walls. I’ve painted and stained, polished, restored— 

 “Have you lived here long?” 

 “Feels like decades, sometimes. But. No. Just a few years.” 

“Okay…” 

I don’t think she’s just feeling the need to make conversation. Personally, I would have said the silence between us was comfortable rather than awkward. But, just in case, I rush in to fill the gap…and end up babbling again. “Yeah, I got lucky. There was a dip in the market and, to be honest, it really did need a ton of work—” 

You did not ‘get lucky’. I found it for us. I told you when to buy it, how much to offer... 

“—so, I bought it and, uh, I’ve been remodeling it, bit by bit, ever since.” 

Fiona grins. “So, is that what you do in your spare time? Work on your house?”

 I smile in return. “What spare time?” 

She gestures with her bottle toward the TV. “Point being, I kind of got the impression that you’re not really into sports?” 

I shrug. “Not really. I’ll maybe watch a little MMA, from time to time, but not so much otherwise.” 

“Wow, that’s…” 

“Too weird for you?” 

“I was going to say refreshing. And very different from…well. My brothers, for example.” 

“I’m sure.” 

“What about when you were a kid, though? You must have played something, at some point? Little League? Pee-wee Soccer? Flag Football? Hockey? Bowling? Swimming?”

I shake my head. “Nope. No team sports. It wasn’t… Well, it was just my mom and me. And we moved around a lot, rarely had enough for the essentials, never mind any extracurricular activities. Also…well, she had her own issues, her own…interests, let’s say. Those generally took priority.” 

 “Ouch.” Fiona murmurs—possibly reacting to some hint of the bitterness that I really don’t even feel anymore; or possibly because that sounds pathetic to her with her large family and sheltered upbringing. Still, I’m surprised. Is she judging me? 

I cock an eyebrow at her. “Ouch?” 

Color floods her cheeks. “Sorry. It just…well, it sounds like… Are you two not close?” 

“No, we were. But I was just a kid when— when she died.” 

 “I’m sorry.” She shoots me a look, not quite pity, but still too close for comfort. 

 I shrug it off with a, “Yeah, well. What are you gonna do? That’s life, right?” and lift my beer, ready to retreat behind my bottle, when it occurs to me that’s just what Mom would’ve done. What she did do, in fact. I lower the bottle, no longer thirsty, and reach for the pizza instead. 

“Last piece. Wanna split it?” 

 Fee shakes her head, still looking a little too pensive. Do I know how to kill a mood, or what? I nudge her shoulder with mine. “Wanna wrestle for it?” 

That wins me a smile, a return nudge, and a wry, “Nope. All yours.”

****

To learn more about the Love Among the Runes trilogy, check out the series page on my website:


ALSO, don't forget the following promotional offers available this month:


2021-05-30

Love's Curse is Available Noww!


The heart is treacherous. Love is cursed. Dive into this collection of paranormal romance to find loves strong enough to break the veil between realms.

NOTE: by downloading this collection you are agreeing to sign up for the mailing lists of the participating authors:

Mandy Melanson, Elle Ryan, Lisa Wood, Helena Novak, PG Forte, Angelique Jordonna, Mira Kane, Dusty Grein, AJ Mullican, Rhetoric Askew, LLC

Get your FREE copy HERE!




If you've been following me for a while, you might already have read my story, Blame It On The VooDoo, as it was originally released as part of the Nine Naughty Novelists' short story collection, Nine Nights in New Orleans.  That collection is no longer available, and I'm not certain what I'll do with the story, although I do have some very vague, amorphous ideas for turning it into a series. I'm thinking jaded vampire dom, and his submissive (sometimes) voodoo priestess lover solve magical crimes in The Big Easy. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds that idea absolutely irresistible--right? 

ANYWAY...whether you've read it already, or not, you'll definitely want to pick up a copy of this collection before it goes away. It will only be available for a month. 

Here's the blurb and a short excerpt: 

What’s a little black magic among friends?

Vampire Rene Boudreaux is more than a little annoyed. It seems sexy voodoo queen Zirondelle Doucette has got him under her spell. Can Zee convince Rene that the only real magic is love? Or will he continue to blame it on the voodoo?

***This short story does NOT feature any of the Children Of Night characters. This is an entirely separate vampire world based in New Orleans that I may expand on, at some point.***



“It’s getting to where you can’t swing a dead chicken around here anymore without it smacking into one damn psychic or another.” 

Zirondelle Doucette couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face as she listened to her Aunt Serafina’s complaints. Her aunt stood at the window of their family’s shop, staring out at the street, and Zee didn’t have to guess too hard to figure out the cause for her discontent. Another “damn” psychic had recently put out her shingle in the previously vacant storefront directly across from their own. 

“And if it’s not a psychic it’s a card reader,” the other woman continued, grumbling crossly. “Or a palm reader. Or tea-leaf reader—” 

“Or a purveyor of Voodoo essentials?” Zee suggested, holding up the little gris-gris bag she’d just finished assembling. 

Serafina turned her head to glare at her niece. “Don’t sass me, Zee. You know exactly what I’m talking about.” 

 “Yes, Ma’am, I do.” Ducking her head, Zee started in on the next charm. She knew it wasn’t psychics per se with whom her aunt had a problem. Serafina was a tolerant soul, not the kind who’d ever take a stand against anyone else’s religion or spellcraft or spiritual beliefs. It was the idea of all those make-believe mystics making a mockery of their family’s calling that was trying the older woman’s temper, and not without cause. The Doucette family had owned and operated their establishment in the self-same Royal Street location for several generations, dealing in authentic rituals, in candles and jujus, talismans and spells. It was hard not to take it personally when your way of life was turned into a kind of circus act by greedy imposters. But as Zee and her aunt both knew, the charlatans did in fact have a place and a purpose in the grand scheme of things. 

Oh, how the tourists loved them. They ate up their acts and purchased their trinkets as eagerly as they did the beignets at the CafĂ© du Monde. Or jazz on Frenchmen Street. Or hurricanes in Pat O’s Courtyard. It was all part of the Crescent City mystique, like Po’ Boys and crawfish, pralines and beads. In an odd way, they kept things safe. They kept the merely curious from straying into dangerous territory. 

“Oh, Lawd.” Aunt Serafina’s sudden gasp caught Zee’s attention. She glanced up in surprise. 

 “Auntie, what’s wrong?” 

 “It’s him.” Serafina scurried back behind the counter where her niece was working, babbling nonsensically. “He’s back. He’s coming this way. What should we do? What does he want this time?” 

 “Do about what?” Zee asked, feeling mystified and mildly exasperated. “Who’s back?” She loved Serafina; truly she did. Her aunt had taken Zee in after her parents passed, without question or hesitation—the only member of their somewhat eccentric family who seemed to have any idea about what to do with a bewildered little girl who’d suddenly been orphaned. Zee would never forget the older woman’s kindness but, all the same, there were times, like now, when dealing with her aunt seriously tried Zee’s patience. 

 The Doucette family had a certain reputation; they were known for being fierce and fearless. They prided themselves on it, in fact. But Serafina had always been unusually timid for a Doucette. Right now, her pale eyes, also unusual in a Doucette, were wide with fear, the pupils dilated; her voice was but a whisper. “Monsieur Boudreaux.” 

 Boudreaux. The name itself meant very little. It was as common as dishwater around those parts. But between the look on her aunt’s face and the singing certainty in her own heart, Zee knew exactly which Monsieur Boudreaux Serafina meant. She meant Rene Alcide Boudreaux. Zirondelle’s Monsieur Boudreaux. Dominant. Vampire. Master. 

 But not her master. No, not yet.

2021-05-13

Another Kiss Giveaway

 

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



I'm back with another giveaway! 

KISS is a new and exciting way to experience Romance stories of all genres. Enjoy serialized quality content from NYT and USA Today bestselling authors, available right from your phone.


KISS has hundreds of titles and authors to choose from, including new and exclusive content from some of your favorite voices!


Best of all, you can choose just how much to read with our pay-as-you-go format!


Where can I download it? 

IOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kiss-read-write-romance/id1508942129

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stardust.kissreader&hl=en_US&gl=US


This giveaway will run until May 3ist. Each "task" gains you another point and some can be done every day (if you're the competitive type).


Good luck and happy reading!

2021-04-16

Kiss Giveaway

 




As I mentioned in my last post. In the Dark has been serialized by KISS and is now available on the app! And thanks to the lovely people at KISS I have 50 coins to give away (each) to four lucky winners. 

KISS is a new and exciting way to experience Romance stories of all genres. Enjoy serialized quality content from NYT and USA Today bestselling authors, available right from your phone.


KISS has hundreds of titles and authors to choose from, including new and exclusive content from some of your favorite voices!


Best of all, you can choose just how much to read with our pay-as-you-go format!


Where can I download it? 

IOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kiss-read-write-romance/id1508942129

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stardust.kissreader&hl=en_US&gl=US


My giveaway will run until April 25th. Each "task" gains you another point and some can be done every day (if you're the competitive type).


Good luck and happy reading!

2021-04-12

Do You KISS?

 


I am beyond excited to announce that In the Dark is now available on the KISS app--and the next two books in the series are also scheduled to make an appearance there soon.  

I'll be running a giveaway for coins in the very near future--they might have sprung this on my a little fast, just sayin'--so check back here for details!

Meanwhile, here's the link:  

https://tinyurl.com/47ydvtmw

OR:

http://stardust-h5.stardustgod.com/kiss/shareBookPage.html?bookId=604a2f04d3c5d95a65147482&randomId=1115523531618274881&type=1001&pushType=1


BLURB: When you live forever, a few mistakes are bound to happen. 


Vampire Conrad Quintano has been around for centuries -- long enough to know falling for a human is a terrible idea. Much less falling for adventure-seeking hippie Desert Rose and agreeing to raise her babies. 

Raised in virtual isolation, Marc and Julie Fischer have never known their unique status in the world. But once they're in San Francisco, the family reunion is nothing like they anticipated and they're thrust into a world they're completely unprepared for.

EXCERPT:

“This whole scene is seriously screwed up,"Marc complained. "It makes me want to punch something. I hate all this stupid vampire drama.” He paused, running his hands through his hair, trying to shake the moodiness threatening to overtake him again. “It just never stops, does it?”

Julie rolled her eyes. “Here we go again. Why would it stop, Marc? We’re vampires. Always were, always gonna be. I can’t believe you’re still trying to dream up idiotic reasons not to admit that. We’re different, so what? Learn to deal with it, already. Or, you know what? Don’t. If it honestly makes you feel that much better to pretend we’re really space aliens instead, then go for it, Star-man, live long and prosper.”

Marc flushed. Not fair. He’d never pretended they were something they weren’t. He’d merely theorized on the various possibilities. And it had been years since he’d floated the idea they might have evolved from some kind of alien life form. Decades maybe. Even though anybody with brains would have to agree that a dip in the extraterrestrial gene pool was a good, solid, reasonable explanation for the way they’d all turned out. It was scientific, logical and so much better than the traditional theory—that they’d originated from demon spawn.

Aliens, by virtue of the fact they’d had to travel through space to get here, were obviously smart, technologically advanced and, in all likelihood, peaceful ambassadors from a better, brighter world. Vampires, on the other hand, were murderers. They were monsters. They were the quintessential fairy-tale villains—right up there with ogres and trolls and gorgons—the kind of creature nightmares were made of.

Who in the hell would choose to be something like that if they didn’t have to?

“You know what I think?” He grabbed one of Julie’s paperbacks from the stack by the window seat and waved it in her face. “I think you just like the idea of being a vampire ’cause you think it’s sexy. I mean, look at this crap you read.” He opened the book at random and read aloud. “…satisfaction gleamed in the prince’s dark eyes as he drew back and looked her over, still licking the last traces of blood from his lips. My blood, Celeste thought, her breasts rising and falling more quickly with the realization. It was her blood, her life force from which he’d been feeding and her body ached with the need to give him more.

“Give it back!” Julie reached out to snatch the book from his hand.

Marc smirked. “Is that really how feeding makes you feel? Do your eyes gleam with satisfaction when you do it? Maybe, next time you eat, you could take out your mirror and check to see. Oh, but, wait a minute—” He smacked himself in the head. “Since you’re a vampire, I guess you must be invisible in mirrors too, huh?”

“Funny.” Julie gazed at him resentfully. “You know what, Marc? It’s called fiction. And, for your information, if it’s got a good story and three-dimensional characters, nobody cares if some of the facts are a little sketchy.” 
 “Whatever.” His anger spent, Marc dropped into an armchair facing his sister. “Think what you want.” 

Obviously, they could both see their reflections just fine when they looked in a mirror. They didn’t need to sleep in their native soil—thank the stars for that! Holy water didn’t do a damn thing other than get them wet. And, no matter how debilitating they found sunlight to be, they’d certainly never yet burst into flames when they’d gone out during the day. As for the question of whether or not they should accept being labeled as vampire when they clearly didn’t fit the mythological profile—well, that was a long-dead horse. Not even. It was horse dust. And no amount of beating was ever gonna make it run.

Doesn’t any of it bother her, he wondered. Or did Julie never even think about how weird their lives were, how aimless and disconnected, how relatively empty—and, yes, damn it, how different from most other people’s. Like he’d really needed her to point that out! Marc knew damn well they were different. He’d always known. There’d never been a time in his life when he hadn’t felt that way, even when they were kids. No, especially when they were kids. Growing up with no parents. Schooled by private tutors. Moved every four to six years to a new house, a new community, where, once again, they’d be discouraged from interacting with anyone who hadn’t been carefully screened by either their grandfather or their uncle—the only two constants in their constantly changing lives.

Then there were the admonitions, repeated over and over again, until they were second nature. We don’t feed in public. We don’t show our fangs to the other children on the playground. What’s said in this house, stays in this house. And, most important of all: You must never tell anyone who or what we really are.

The only trouble with that, Marc thought, as he ran his tongue over the small protuberances on the roof of his mouth that hid his retracted fangs, was that he really didn’t know what he was, and he wasn’t always as certain of the “who” part as he’d like to be either.


2021-03-24

Taglines!


So, if you've come here from my website, you might have noticed my new header and tagline. If not, no problem! Here it is again: 

I'm really happy with the way the banner turned out. I like that my blog and website finally feel like they're connected thematically. I like that the colors match my personal brand (such as it is) with my rainbow/unicorn/cotton candy/opalescent hair...what? You don't know about my hair? 

Here it is. See? It matches my website. The real question, of course, is does that match my AUTHOR brand. 

And...I don't know the answer to that. It's something I've been struggling with for a lot of years. 

What even is my author brand? I thought I'd come close a couple of times. My last tagline:  "All the Friends. All the Families. All the Feels." said it pretty well. My books are ALL ABOUT friends, family, and feelings.  But the tagline never really caught on. Maybe it was too trendy, or too on-the-nose. 

"Once more with feeling," popped into my head last night as I was working on the banner and..I don't know. It seemed to fit. Maybe because I've been writing a lot of books in the Second Chance Romance trope category. I think about two-thirds of all my books qualify to some extent. It's a great trope! Absolutely one of my favorites. Also, one of the most common compliments I receive is about the emotion in my books. Or what some might call angst. It's odd, really, because what I want to write is RomComs and Cosy Mysteries. But what I end up producing is angst and tears. But, as a tagline, once more with feeling seems to works for me.

BUT there's more. See, that logo is not an accident, either. It doesn't really say PNR Author or Romance Author, or any kind of author. But I'm attached to it. It has history. 


Many years ago, my husband was a fashion photographer in NYC. His first studio was on Avenue of the Americas between 38th and 39th streets--one block west of Lord and Taylor. Our neighbor was a graphic designer who used that exact font to create my husband's Forte Photography logo. And I later amended it to add three horizontal lines at the end. 

See, forte--as a musical directive--means to play something loudly or with force (the opposite of piano). The first I Ching hexagram, Ch’ien, consists of two sets of three, unbroken, horizontal lines representing creative energy. It's also sometimes referred to as "the force" which struck me as being absolutely perfect.

We used that on all sorts of promo--posters, ads, business cards. T shirts. When we first moved to LA  from NY, and were largely bi-coastal, we made up a bunch of promotional t-shirts that said either FORTE New York, or FORTE Los Angeles (White on black for NY, black on white for LA). That's my husband, back in the day, with our son (who's all grown up now!).

When our son first moved back to Los Angeles from the Bay Area, we showed him pictures of them (like the one above) and he decided to adopt the logo as his own.

Here's his new shop:



Pretty, no? He's a tattoo artist, in case you couldn't immediately tell.  Just kidding, it's not obvious AT ALL, which is just the way he likes it.



Anyway, shortly after this, I was once again re-branding myself and it occurred to me that maybe I should...I dunno, show solidarity with the family brand? Take advantage of some of that I Ching, yang energy? Embrace "the force"? 

And, since I was also using my first name--okay, first initials--rather than just our last name, I  decided to add that second set of horizontal lines at the front. 

So, there you have it. I'm recycling a logo I helped to create years ago to promote emotion-laden books. Or, in other words, Once. More. With. Feeling. It practically writes itself, doesn't it?

Something else that fits the tagline: the reboot of the Oberon series: coming soon! To read more about that, join my FB reader group The Crone's Nest, or check out my Other Blog (and my OTHER new header): 



2021-03-17

Two Truths and a Lie is Live!

 This book was previously published. 



Two Truths and a Lie

Games We Play, Book Three
by PG Forte
Paranormal/Erotic Romance
35K
Release price: .99!

All work and no play has been the story of Brenda Donovan's life these past few months. Her concern about the future of her family's inn has her tied up in knots--and not in a good way. Between searching for a buyer for the business, and keeping secrets from her cousins, she's had no time to pursue an actual relationship. But pretending to date sexy Max Murphy, the hotel scout who's there to assess the property? That's totally doable. Especially when games, role-playing, and light bondage are included in the package. Falling in love was never supposed to be part of their deal; but now her heart's in play and all bets are off. 
 
Max has no problem with hiding his true identity from Brenda's cousins. If that's the way she wants to play it, he's all in. But are Luke and Gwyn the only ones he's deceiving? 

 It's game, set, and match this time around. And when all the scores have been tallied, and everyone's secrets are finally revealed, will the cousins lose the Wild Geese Inn?

Excerpt
Buy Links