If you do need to see them, however, be sure to leave a comment to that effect. Then check back next week. I'm sure someone can find some to post for you.
In the meantime, I thought I'd take this opportunity to answer the question that I'm sure anyone who's seen me at RT this year wants to ask: "What's with all the cookies?"
That's right. This year I'm giving away cookies. Lots of them.
See, it's been awhile since I was able to dream up any cute tie-ins to my books. I've longed for the good old days of Oberon Design giveaways, of Irish-themed prizes and gift-packs involving honey and tea. And I've envied my much more inventive Naughty Sisters with their rulers, their mini fireman hats, their EMT charms and handcuffs, their flavored body powder and chocolate body paint...and who knows what else I'm forgetting. Not to mention all the awesome wedding-themed prizes that have been floating around here for the last several months.
I was bemoaning my sad lack of promotable concepts late last year (over some freshly-baked Christmas cookies, if I recall correctly) when it hit me: I have cookies. I might, in fact, be the only author in the world crazy enough to have written an entire series about cookie-baking vampires. Why not take advantage of that? Why not, in a manner of speaking, embrace the cookie?
Okay, for clarity's sake: 1. I'm not talking about literally embracing cookies...that would be crummy...or crumbly...or something. 2. The series is not entirely written yet--there are still a few books left to go (I can't say for certain how many, because the number keeps changing). And 3. it's not really all about cookies, but some of my favorite scenes are and, really, who doesn't like cookies?
So, there you have it. I might not have weddings in my books (well, okay, actually, I have had a few, but that's beside the point), I might not have any cute sex toys to hand out (unless the ones in the NNN giveaway baskets count) but, by God, I do have cookies!
And if it is still Friday--or Saturday--when you're reading this and you are at RT, and you haven't scored a few cookies by now? Find me at either the Book Fair or the Fan-tastic Day party and hit me up.
And if you're not here in KC, well here's a cookie-themed excerpt from my upcoming release, Ashes of the Day (releasing May 21 and currently available for pre-order):
Damian was lifting the last tray of cookies from the oven when he heard the front door open. Soft masculine laughter reached his ears. Conrad. The sound was unmistakable. The sexy intent behind that chuckle was something else with which Damian was familiar. Too familiar. No. Not this again. His chest was suddenly so tight he could hardly breathe. His heart thudded painfully. Once, fool that he’d been, he’d believed that particular laugh—that particular intent—was reserved for him alone. Carefully, he placed the tray on the stovetop and listened harder.
Two sets of footsteps. Conrad’s, of course, and…a woman’s, by the sound of it. High heels, a little unsteady on the hardwood floor. Maybe too much to drink, or a touch too much venom? Had Conrad brought her home for the children’s dinner, or did he have something else in mind? The footsteps bypassed the living room and continued down the hallway. Ah. Well, that answers that question. More laughter floated back to taunt Damian. A bedroom door closed. A lock was turned. Damian bit back a snarl. “Marc, go and knock on your grandfather’s door for me, if you’d be so kind, and ask him if he intends to feed you and your sister anytime soon.”
“What?” The little boy frowned. “Why? I thought we were eating cookies tonight?”
“Sí. And so we are. But, as I keep telling you, they’re just a snack. If you’re eating your dinner very soon, we might want to save the cookies for afterward, so as not to spoil your meal.”
Marc’s eyes narrowed. The stubborn look on his face indicated another argument was about to ensue.
Damian fixed the boy with a stern glance. “Marcus, did you not hear what I said?”
For the space of a few more heartbeats, Marc stubbornly met his gaze, then he shrugged and went off to do as Damian had asked. Damian picked up the spatula and began to transfer the cookies onto a cooling rack.
“Don’t you like cookies, Uncle Damian?” Julie asked after a moment. She sidled closer until she was leaning right against him, a worried expression on her face.
Damian looked at her in surprise. “Why, yes, child. At least, I think I do. It’s been a while, and I’ve never had these particular treats, but I remember, when I was very much younger, being quite fond of such things. Why do you ask?”
“You’re frowning at them like they’ve made you angry.”
“Am I?” Damian made a conscious effort to relax his face. It was good that vampires could not get wrinkles from such things, he supposed. “Oh. Well…it’s nothing. It’s just that these cookies are still very hot and I’m wondering when they’ll be cool enough for you children to eat without burning yourselves.”
Julie’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “But the other ones are cool now, aren’t they? Can’t we eat those while we wait for these ones to cool?”
Damian sighed. “Of course. You’re quite right, chica. I was forgetting about that.”
“Grandfather says we’ll eat later,” Marc announced, running back into the room. “He and the lady he’s with are very busy right now.”
“How nice.” Mindful of Julie’s narrow-eyed gaze, Damian unclenched his jaw and resisted the temptation to grind his teeth. “Well…in that case, let’s have cookies, shall we?”
A few minutes later they were all seated at the table with cookies and milk. Marc eyed his milk with a dubious eye, but gulped it down gamely.
“I think I like these ones the best,” Julie said around a mouthful of chocolate chips.
“Do you? Buenisimo.” Damian frowned sternly at her. “But wait until you’ve finished eating, please, before you tell us any more about it. You can’t expect anyone to understand you if you talk while there’s food in your mouth. Besides which, it’s rude. And you might choke.”
“The other children never choke,” Marc observed.
Damian sighed. “Just because you haven’t yet seen something, Marc, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. One thing you can count on happening, however, is that if you don’t listen to what I tell you, there will be no more cookies for either of you. And I don’t just mean tonight.”
Marc eyed him speculatively, as though calculating how seriously to take his threat. Damian braced himself for another battle of wills. But Marc’s next question took him completely by surprise. “Is that lady here to be our new mommy?”
“What? No, of course not.” Damian shook his head. “Wherever did you get that idea?”
“What lady?” Julie asked, sounding just as surprised as Damian. “The one with grandfather?”
Marc nodded. “All the other kids have mommies. I thought maybe that’s why Grandfather brought her home?”
Ah, if only he were so altruistic. Damian sighed. “I know how much you want to be like other children, Marc. And it’s very sad that you two should have lost your mother before you ever had the chance to know her. But you can’t just get a new mother to replace the one that’s gone, no matter how much you might wish to do so.”
“Yes, you can, Uncle Damian,” Marc insisted. “You can too do that. I know you can. A lot of the other kids have more than one mommy. They said so.”
“But we don’t even know that lady.” Julie sounded worried. “What if we don’t like her? Besides, I’m hungry. Why does she have to be our mommy? Why can’t she just be here for dinner?”
“Because we don’t need her for dinner.” Marc pointed at the plate in the center of the table. “Eat more cookies if you’re hungry.”
“I don’t want more cookies,” Julie snapped, her fangs once more extending past her gums. “That’s not real food.”
“Children! Enough now! We’ll have no more of this talk.” Damian gazed at the twins in exasperation. If they didn’t learn to curb their tempers better than this, they would never be able to successfully socialize with human children. His annoyance quickly faded, however, when he caught sight of the wounded expression in Marc’s eyes, the faint wobble of his chin. Damian was out of his chair and crouching at Marc’s side in a flash. “Oh, pobrecito,” Damian opened his arms and the little boy crowded against him. “Don’t cry, my poor little boy, it will be all right.”
Marc hid his face against Damian’s chest and stifled a sob. “It-it-it’s not fair!”
“I know, chiquito.” Damian hugged the boy close. “And there are many things in life that will seem that way to you. Not just now, but always. I wish you could find some comfort in knowing that your mama was very special. I know she would have loved you both very much if she’d had the chance to know you, and I’m sure you would have loved her too—just as your grandfather does. But…that’s not how things worked out. I’m sorry. Your mother is gone. Please do not bring this matter up with your grandfather, niño. He knows you must miss her because he does too, but he is still not able to bring you another. You will only make him feel that he is failing you and I assure you he is doing everything within his power to be both mother and father to you children.”
“Could you maybe bring us a new mommy?” Julie asked and Damian cursed himself for not having made himself clearer. “Then we’d all be happy. Grandfather too.”
“No, chica, I’m sorry but I can’t. No one can.”
“Of course he can’t.” Marc scoffed at the suggestion. “Mommies are ladies and Uncle never brings ladies home. You know that.”
Julie nodded grudging agreement. Damian stared at them both. It really shouldn’t startle him that the children were perceptive enough to have noticed the differences in his and Conrad’s preferences, even at this age. But, ay Dios, here was yet another conversation they would have to have with the twins—years sooner than he’d thought it would become an issue.Buenisimo. Conrad would be so pleased.
“I wish you could though,” Julie murmured mournfully.
“Me too.” Marc mumbled, burying his face in Damian’s shirtfront once again.
“Sí. I, too, wish there was something more I could do for you both,” Damian said. His words gave rise to a thought. Nothing could restore their mother to them, of course, and recruiting a replacement was equally impossible since letting anyone else in on the secret of the children’s true nature was far too great a risk to take, but perhaps there was a way to make them feel a little better. “Now, mis niños, you must dry your eyes and finish your cookies. I have an idea.”
Only blood can break your heart.
New Year’s Eve, 1999. The world is braced for Y2K, but that’s not the only ticking time bomb in Conrad’s life. Damian wouldn’t be the first vampire to find a way to die, but Conrad is determined he will not be one of them.
Present day. Damian struggles to trust that fate could possibly be kind enough to give him a love as perfect as Conrad’s. Conrad balances on the keen edge of his own fear that one more slip of his formidable control could drive his lover away—permanently.
Julie learns the hard way it’s not just interspecies relationships that seldom work out. Even between vampires, love is not a smooth course.
Meanwhile, intrigue and conflict within the nest continue to grow, fueled in no small part by Georgia’s slipping hold on a deadly secret. Marc works to consolidate his position as leader of the ferals—and discovers that being a walking anomaly has certain advantages. Including some that are totally unexpected.