Guest post with Tammy Dennings Maggy
Epic Smorgasbord vs. Palatable Fine Dining
First of all I’d like to thank Lynn for having me here today to help kick off the promotional tour for the second book in my Now and Forever series. In just two short days, The Island will be released and I couldn’t be happier. It’s actually the prequel to For the Love of Quinn. There just seemed to be a few loose ends I wanted to tie up with that story, but once I started writing, it took on a life of its own.
It started out as a short story called “A Christmas Miracle for Jake.” I posted it in three parts during a Christmas blog hop last year. The response to that story was overwhelming. People wanted to know more…but not necessarily about Quinn and Jacob. They wanted to know more about the villainess and Grade-A BIOTCH, Julia Santos. This character literally took over and refused to keep quiet. As a result, The Island threatened to be a huge story just like the first book in the series. This was something I wanted to avoid this time around.
With For the Love of Quinn, I let the characters completely take over and tell our story. Yes, I did say “our” story. So much of the pain and loneliness both Quinn and Jacob were going through was mine. Being in a loveless marriage, heading for divorce, coming to grips with the death of my stepfather, and having my whole world turned upside down by a love from my past were just a small bit of what I was living through. Putting all of it down on paper and seeing it through the eyes of my characters helped me heal. Before I knew it, that book was a whopping 219,000 words! I believe Siren referred to it as a HUMONGOUS novel. LOL!
I happen to love epic stories, but many readers today want something that’s at the most, half that size. They want to be able to read it in a sitting or two and move onto the next one in their TBR piles. I wanted to appeal to more readers this time around, but all I succeeded in doing was cram too much story in under 55,000 words. As a result, Siren suggested I revise and make it into two novels, expand on them both, and thereby ensuring a happily ever after for everyone involved.
I have to say I was relieved they suggested it. I wanted to delve into Julia’s story so much more and still focus on Quinn and Jacob’s entire back story. This was my chance. I tore apart the first version and split it all up into two separate but parallel storylines. The Island now concentrated on Quinn and Jacob’s journey and Julia got her own book called The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3).
What did I learn from this experience? I’ll still write my books as the scenes come to me, but I won’t be so adamant about making them all fit into one book. I’ve learned to continue to let my characters tell their story and show me where it’s going to go and not be alarmed if it turns out to be more than one book in the mix. In the end, if it’s another epic I’ll break it up and keep the readers wanting more. Too much of a good thing will turn folks off just as much as too little. Above all, I’ve learned that I don’t only write for myself, I write so that others can enjoy the worlds and characters in my mind and my dreams. I’m the head chef sending out each course of the meal out to my diners. If I send it all out at once, they may miss out on all the delicacies in front of them. If I dish it out slowly, allowing each course to digest a bit, they will have a much better dining experience. In other words, epic smorgasbords look impressive, but the smaller courses served up during the fine dining experience is a hell of a lot more palatable!
Speaking of that, Siren-Bookstrand is offering The Island(Now and Forever 2) at a 10% discount through November 22nd. Go ahead and get your “serving” of the Now and Forever gang and let me know what you think.
After losing her brother in a fatal motorcycle accident, Quinn’s life spins out of control. Shutting herself off from friends and family in Michigan, she buries herself in her work, wishing for the pain to end. In her dreams she’s finally able to find the peace her heart craves on The Island.
Driven to recklessness over a heartbreaking betrayal, Jacob races his motorcycle on a rain slick California freeway. Near death in the hospital, he’s given a choice. Stay on The Island or go back for a second chance at love.
Destined to be together, but repeatedly torn apart, these two lost and melancholy people draw the attention of the Goddess Fate. As Quinn and Jacob’s lives hang in limbo, the soul mates are given a very special gift from the Gods, and the chance to finally have their love of a lifetime.
Story Excerpt (PG rating)
He said a silent prayer as he entered the room. Please, let this be a huge mistake. Jake can’t be the one here. It has to be someone else. Eric’s stomach churned and he struggled to keep down what little food he had eaten before he boarded the plane in Las Vegas. He had never seen his big brother look so small or helpless. The tears stung his eyes and blurred his vision a bit, but by sheer will alone, Eric held them back. It took several moments to comprehend the scene playing out in front of his eyes. The patient lying in the bed before him could’ve just as easily been a complete stranger, except for the long, light-brown hair. Eric would know that unruly mop anywhere. He stood frozen near the door, staring at the battered and broken body of his brother.
Jacob Hartley was wrapped head to toe in bandages, tubes, and wires. Machines surrounded the head of the hospital bed, whirling and beeping, keeping time with Jacob’s breathing and heartbeat. His face was barely recognizable, colored in various shades of black, blue, and purple. His eyes were hidden beneath severely swollen lids. Every now and then the respirator took over his breathing, just to give his body a little bit of rest. Oh my God! This can’t be happening. Eric approached the bed as his sister reached out for him. They clung to each other. Her body trembled against his, her fear coming off her in waves. He tried to continue to be strong for them both, but he was quickly losing the battle now that he was actually there.
Eric glanced around the room and found his mother, Katrina. She smiled as she stood up from the chair that was placed close to the bed. She was small in stature, but she looked ten feet tall to Eric as she walked toward Jacob. Katrina leaned over, kissed the one part of his stubbly chin not bandaged, and spoke softly near his ear. “Your whole family is here now, Jacob. I’m here, my son. Momma’s here. If you can’t come back to me, it’s okay. Your poppa’s there with you and he will show you the way.”
“Mom—Jake’s not going to die!” Maredyth’s red-rimmed eyes flashed with determination. “It’s not his time to go yet.” She reached for one of Jacob’s bandaged hands and clutched it tightly.
Eric knew he should try to hide his feelings from his sister, but he was struggling, really struggling to find even a spark of hope their brother would ever pull out of this. “Mare—”
“No! We can’t lose him, too. Pop’s been gone a year now. Are you telling me God would be so cruel to decide on a whim to take Jake away almost to the very day we lost our father?”
* * * *
“I’m right here my little girl. I won’t ever leave you. Jacob’s going to need all of us now. We have to convince your brother he has to fight his way back.” Michael Hartley approached the bed and looked down at his son, his middle child. “What were you thinking driving your bike at night during a storm, Jakey?”
“He wasn’t thinking clearly, Sarge. That’s the problem.”
Michael looked up at the blonde, heavily tattooed, and pierced young man leaning against the wall near the foot of the hospital bed. “You remind me a lot of him you know, full of piss and vinegar.” Michael chuckled softly to himself. “It looks like we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us here, Danny. Thank you for staying with him after the accident and dulling his pain.”
Daniel Quartermarsh moved to Jacob’s bedside. He nodded slowly and looked up at his partner. “I did what I could as soon as Fate let me go to him.”
“I know you did. I expected nothing less than if I was allowed to be there with you. It’s just hard to see one of my children in this state and not be able to fix it like I could when he was little.”
The younger angel smiled. “Don’t worry. We have a lot of ground to cover with him, and I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity for you to work your magic, Sarge. If Fate didn’t think we could handle it, she wouldn’t have entrusted Jake and the rest of them to us. Speaking of the others, I just checked in on Quinn. She’s throwing herself into her work again, but handling things okay for now. I left this world not even a month ago, and she’s not allowed herself to grieve for me.” He glanced down at the very battered and broken man in the bed. “Your Jake’s our priority this visit. Once we get him to The Island, we can work on getting Quinn there, too.”
Michael reached out and folded his arms around his wife. Katrina looked as beautiful to him at that moment as she did on the day they first met. He wished he could really hold her now, so she could physically lean on him during this horrible time with their son. Katrina took a deep breath and smiled. Michael knew she felt his presence with them, as always. “Your poppa’s here with us, Maredyth.”
Eric and Maredyth looked at each other and then back to Katrina with their eyes wide. Eric put his arm around his sister before addressing his mother. “I sure hope so, Ma. All of us could use him right about now.” Maredyth buried her face into Eric’s shoulder as he held her tight.
Daniel added his own angelic light and love to that already surrounding the Hartley family and smiled. “I bet the two of you visited each other’s dreams while you were alive, too.”
Michael kept his arms around his wife of over forty years and nodded. “Now and forever. I promised her I would never leave her, no matter what. Not even death can keep me from her and our children.” The elder angel sighed and his eyes filled with tears. “Jake has always been the free spirit of the family. I never worried he wouldn’t discover his path eventually. But now?” Michael shrugged and shook his head. “How did my son’s life get so out of control so fast?”
Adult Excerpt (EXPLICIT! Adults only!)
His eyes found hers once again and she began to fall. She didn’t care. Thoughts of going back or staying there on The Island disappeared. All she wanted to think about, to feel, and taste was Jacob. Quinn pulled his mouth back to hers. The sweet taste of the berries, mango, and papaya dazzled her taste buds as their tongues teased and danced with each other, fighting for control one moment and surrendering to each other the next.
Jacob finally freed her tits from the laces of her bodice. Watching him tug at the strings with his teeth made her heart beat faster and she giggled before she could stop. He winked and kept up the slow pace. Quinn giggled even more. “I stand by my first assessment. You’re a tease, Jake.”
“Baby doll, you haven’t seen anything yet.” He pushed her dress down to her waist and simply stared. “I’m not the only tease here.”
“What are you talking about?” Quinn slid her fingertips up and down his arms. His muscles twitched and pulsed at her touch. She wanted those arms wrapped around her and to never let go.
“You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. You don’t flaunt it, but every move and noise you make turns me on. I wanted to take this slow, but I can’t.”
“Stop thinking so much and kiss me.” She pushed herself up to meet his mouth once again as they moved on the bed so she was now on top of him. Jacob’s hands slid up her thighs, leaving hot trails with his fingertips. Her body quaked and her pussy clenched as a rush of fluid soaked her panties completely.
Jacob hooked his thumbs in the band of her underwear, snapped them off, and tossed them onto the floor. His hands slid up her body, pulling the dress up and over her head in a flash. He sat up, holding her in his lap, nuzzling first one breast and then the other with his stubbly chin and cheeks. The roughness of his skin against her rock-hard nipples sent her rolling toward another orgasm. She clung to him as he suckled harder on her right nipple while kneading her left breast with his hand. Quinn arched her back and bit her lip before crying out. “Jake, please don’t—”
He pulled back quickly, moving his hands to cradle her face. Concern filled his eyes. “Did I hurt you?”
Her eyes glistened with tears. “No. Please don’t stop.”
* * * *
The catch in her voice nearly broke his heart. The raw passion was there. Her body given freely to him, and yet she still questioned his desire for her. He knew that pain all too well. Here with Quinn though, it all faded away. She did that for him and he wanted so badly to do the same for her. He wiped away the tears that spilled onto her flushed face. He kissed her softly and held her close. “I want you, now and for however long we can be together. I need to be with you. I won’t stop as long as you want the same.”
Quinn slid off his lap and knelt up on the bed, pulling him up with her. She held his gaze as her fingers unfastened his shorts and then slid them down over his hips. Jacob quickly took off his tank top before crushing Quinn’s chest against his. She smiled and his heart beat quickened. “I need you, too. Make love with me, Jake.”
He slid out of his shorts as Quinn eased back onto the pillows. Jacob took in her entire sun-kissed body, naked before him. God, she’s so beautiful. Quinn welcomed him into her arms as he joined her on the pillows, his mouth finding her left nipple this time as his right hand trailed down her stomach.
She arched her back and moaned as soon as his fingers found her throbbing clit. Another wave of fluid gushed out of her and over his fingers. Jacob brought them up to his mouth to taste her. “Mmmm. You taste fucking fantastic. Your sister was right. Wanna try?”
Quinn giggled and licked his fingers clean. That move sent his body over the edge. His cock was bouncing with his need for her, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by his lover. She reached inside the nightstand for the box of condoms, spilling several over the bed. Jacob smiled as he placed one in her open palm. Quinn slid her hands down his abs to his pulsing member. She wrapped her fingers around his shaft and squeezed a little, eliciting a gasp from him. Carefully she tore open the wrapper with her teeth and quickly covered his cock with the ribbed latex sheath. He thrust his hips forward, causing her hand to slide up and down his shaft. “Oh, now who’s teasing?” Jacob moaned.
He eased Quinn all the way back onto the pillows, and slid down her body toward his prize. He wanted more than just a taste. He wanted to feast on her cunt until she begged for him to take her. He positioned himself between her thighs and looked up to see her watching him, her chest rising and falling rapidly. He winked before popping her clit into his mouth and sucking hard. Quinn nearly bucked him off but he held her hips in place, enjoying her squirming and sighs. It wasn’t long at all before he was rewarded once again with her sweet nectar.
He teased her a bit more with his tongue and then slipped one, two and then three fingers inside of her hot folds. Her pussy clenched repeatedly over his fingers and her body convulsed over and over again. Quinn’s skin flushed from her tits to her toes, because of him, because of what he was doing to her. He wanted more, so much more. He couldn’t wait any longer. He wanted to bury his cock deep inside her, go over the edge, and never come back.
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