Contest: Born This Way Giveaway

Blurb: Dayton Whitmore injures his arm playing basketball with his lion-shifter friends, and his best friend asks Dayton to check on her estranged brother Hart while he’s in Atlanta visiting a specialist. Though Dayton and Hart were never close, he grudgingly agrees.

Banishment from his pride meant Hart Sherman could never see his family again. His liger heritage—a tiger mother and lion father—was a thorn in his alpha father’s side. He always planned to go back for Dayton, the man he knows is his mate, but he uses his career as an entertainment attorney as an excuse to avoid risking Dayton’s rejection. When Dayton shows up unannounced on his doorstep, Hart wants nothing more than to claim him.

Knowing what it means to be a lion’s mate, Dayton isn’t in any hurry to make a lifetime commitment. To convince Dayton he’s serious, Hart must come to terms with the circumstances of his birth—and find a place in the pride for them both.

Available now for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press!

Interested in winning an e-book copy of Born This way? Leave a comment below with how you’re “Born This Way” for a chance to win!

Contest closes Friday, June 21, 2013 when I’ll draw a random commenter to win. (Please be sure to leave your email so I’ll have a way to contact you!)

Suit Up Sunday: Alexander Skarsgard

Eric Northman TuxedoSo, I have a bit of a weakness. It’s a man in a tux. There’s just something so…*rawr*…about that black and white with the bow tie and yeah….

Then you add Alexander Skarsgard’s sulty stare? Forget about it. I’m done for. I mean really, is he trying to kill me with that come hither look? Cause I tried to climb into the laptop to lick him but….

(You didn’t need to know that, did you?)

Eric Northman in bedAnd as if the man doesn’t do *really* good things to a tuxedo, he looks amazing out of one too! How fair is that?

I mean, not that I’m going to complain or anything. Please, take your shirt off. Anytime. No really. And if you want to lounge in bed, I know one you can rest your weary head on any day of the week!

Seriously. How does he do that with the look?

Oh, and then there’s this.

Kill me. Seriously. Oh wait, maybe I shouldn’t say that considering…(heh)

And the best of all. He’s ba-ack. Well, Eric’s back on True Blood anyway. And I for one cannot wait to see how he gets himself out of this mess.

Suit Up Sunday: Joe Manganiello Revisited

alcide suit
Joe Manganiello in a Suit. Drool.

So, summer is upon us and my television schedule is almost complete. Some of y’all know I’m not a big TV watcher. The exception is Teen Wolf and True Blood. Only one more week before the new season of True Blood premiers and I can’t wait! Why? Well, a couple reasons really. This guy is the first.

Oh man. He does *nice* things to a suit, doesn’t he? He could do nice things to me too….

I just want to look at him. Admire the pretty, pretty muscles. I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to pet him. Can someone out there set that up for me?

I want to lick right….there.


I’ll wait…

Okay, so since I’ll probably be waiting for a while, I’ll tell ya that this sexy fella is such a great scowly werewolf character that he often inspires my own paranormal characters. Seriously. He’s inspiring.


I just…I can’t even.

I heart him. And in one week, I will get to see him on True Blood again.

A personal note

Dear Bully-
Actually, you know what, I’m not going to call you a bully because by definition a bully picks on someone weaker than them. I’m not now, nor will I ever be, weaker than you.
It’s funny. I hadn’t heard from you in a while. I mean, I knew you were still out there occasionally spewing your nonsense, but you really hadn’t been actively being an ass to me or my friends. I thought there for a minute that you’d actually moved on. Gotten a life, perhaps.
But no, here you go again. I’ve got to tell you though, this time? Yeah, you made me laugh. I really appreciate that you made a total idiot of yourself in your quest to “get me”. No really. It was funny as hell and I really needed a good laugh.
Here’s the thing though: I’m sick and tired of you. Your gossip doesn’t really hurt me, but it does hurt my friends. That’s not okay. Come after me if you must. Leave the people I care about out of it. Although, I’m sure you get a thrill out of all the drama you think you create. Honestly, it’s the only reason I can come up with for why you continue to do what you do.
I’ve got to tell you though, just as your lies haven’t hurt me in the past, they aren’t going to hurt me now. The only thing you really do is waste my time. See, I’ve got great friends and those friends know who I am, lumps and all. They know I’m cranky some days and they know I have a bad temper on occasion. They also aren’t afraid to point out when you do something ridiculous, just so I’m aware. (And yes, I know about your other identity, the one you don’t think I know about.)
So yes, I know you’re still doing that thing you do where you try to make everyone else look bad so you can prove that you’re right and make yourself look like some sort of hero. The thing is, you aren’t right. And all of your so-called “proof” is a made up bunch of horse crap that no one believes.
If you’d once bothered to ask the question you so desperately want the answer to, I’d have given it to you. But I refuse to “go public” with your accusations as you so obviously want me to do. In fact, this post is as close as I’m going to get to ever lowering myself to your level.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, thank you. Thank you for not following gossip mongers who have a vindictive streak a mile wide. Thank you for not paying attention to small-minded people who get off on hurting other people to make themselves feel better. I wish I could tell you that I would explain this whole mess to you, but I can’t. See, that would just give the mean and spiteful person who keeps trying to hurt me more power and it would hurt the other people this person has set their sights on too. I refuse to do that. So please don’t ask, because I won’t explain. I would like to tell you not to let some random stranger on the internet have power over you. And I’m here, if you need someone to talk to.
And for you, the one who keeps on pushing, who seems determined to “find the truth” at the expense of so many others, to you I say get a life. Seriously. You need one that isn’t so full of hate and drama. You need real people in your life who aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re being a total asshole. You really need people who aren’t entertained by your antics—because in reality, they all make fun of you behind your back.
I really do wish you well. I hope someday you realize what you’re doing and change your ways. That would be really amazing.


Coming Soon: Born This Way

I’m really excited to announce that Born This Way, my new paranormal novella is now available for preorder over at Dreamspinner Press! 

Blurb: Dayton Whitmore injures his arm playing basketball with his lion-shifter friends, and his best friend asks Dayton to check on her estranged brother Hart while he’s in Atlanta visiting a specialist. Though Dayton and Hart were never close, he grudgingly agrees. 

Banishment from his pride meant Hart Sherman could never see his family again. His liger heritage—a tiger mother and lion father—was a thorn in his alpha father’s side. He always planned to go back for Dayton, the man he knows is his mate, but he uses his career as an entertainment attorney as an excuse to avoid risking Dayton’s rejection. When Dayton shows up unannounced on his doorstep, Hart wants nothing more than to claim him. 
Knowing what it means to be a lion’s mate, Dayton isn’t in any hurry to make a lifetime commitment. To convince Dayton he’s serious, Hart must come to terms with the circumstances of his birth—and find a place in the pride for them both.

Available June 19th! 

Suit Up Sunday: Tyler Hoechlin (AKA Derek Hale AKA the “erek” in Sterek)

Derek Hale
Exhibit A: Tyler Hoechlin in a Suit

Only ONE MORE SLEEP until Teen Wolf Season 3 and I get another Derek Hale fix. And really, who can resist the scowly alpha werewolf? Not me. I mean, first of all, see exhibit A for what the man looks like in a suit. The word sinful comes to mind. A few other words come to mind too, if I’m honest.

Bloody Hale he’s hot.

Seriously…he’s even hot all beat up and bloody. How is this even fair? I mean, I’d love to say that I watch Teen Wolf for the plot…but I’d be lying.

Stiles and Derek
I wish he’d put me against a wall. 

Okay, not totally lying, especially if the plot involves Derek and Stiles. *whistles innocently* I cannot deny my obsession with Sterek. It has reached new levels of fangirlishness. Heck, I thought I was obsessed with Spander….nope. Well, I was obsessed with Spander, don’t get me wrong, but this whole Sterek thing…Yeah. I got it bad!

But I digress. Back to the hotness that is Tyler/Derek. Yeah. This. For serious real. Just sit. Watch. Try not to lick the screen.

And if the above isn’t enough, how about this wicked, wicked smile?


So if you’re looking for some wonderful deliciousness, check out Derek on Teen Wolf. Or just take a look at the Sterek fanfic. Ya know, in case you’re into that kind of thing. *g*

Poppy’s Pick: Until Forever Comes by Cardeno C

paranormal romance recommendations

I’m starting a new feature on my blog today called Poppy’s Pick. Most folks know I’m an avid paranormal reader and they ask me for recommendations. There’s nothing I like more than telling my friends about a great book so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you all.

My first recommendation is Until Forever Comes by the delightful Cardeno C. Book two in the Mates series, Until Forever Comes is an amazing addition to the series. Here’s the blurb:

Ethan Abbatt is a wolf shifter who can’t shift. Plagued by pain and weakness all his life, he hopes to find an honorable death by joining his pack mates in a vampire attack. Instead, Ethan learns two things: draining his blood releases his pain and his wolf, and he has a true mate—a vampire named Miguel. 

Miguel Rodriguez is more than four centuries old. Strong, powerful, and vicious, he walks through life as a shadow, without happiness or affection. When a young shifter tells Miguel they’re true mates, destined to be together, Miguel sends him away. But Ethan is persistent, and Miguel can’t resist for long. Once Miguel gives in, being together comes naturally. The challenge is keeping themselves alive so they can stay by each other’s side until forever comes.

Cardeno C

I love books that take your typical paranormal tropes and spin them around. CC does that beautifully in this book. The twist? Well, shifter Ethan is sick, but draining his blood helps. Who better to mate a wolf who needs his blood drained than a sexy and powerful vampire! Miguel is a strong and powerful character who doesn’t quite know what to make of his mate. It makes for some really great twists in the story. I enjoyed the power differences between the two. Ethan’s innocence was charming and unusual for a shifter character. I’m sure you’ll love him as much as I did.

Since I had so much fun reading this series, I sweet talked Cardeno into answering a few questions about life and the books.

Why don’t we start by having you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
CC: Hmmm. I fear this will be dull to nth degree. I’m a fairly low-key person, more than a bit of a home-body, better with friends and small groups than big crowds, vegetarian for more years than I wasn’t, and really thrilled to have the privilege to write.
If we were to look around the desk where you sit to write, what would we find there?
CC: Pillows. I don’t have a desk. I write in bed or on the couch. JThat aside, you’d find various cups of coffee, tea, and Diet Coke.
Do you have a favorite personal mantra, quote, or saying that describes your outlook on life and the way you approach each day?
CC: I’m not sure if I have that exactly, but when tough decisions come my way, I try to remind myself that I have to live with whatever I do or say or don’t do or don’t say, so I better act in a way that’ll make me feel right about my life choices long after I’ve made them.
When you have the chance to sit down and enjoy some quiet reading time, what sorts of books are you most likely to pick up? Who are your favorite authors?
CC: I don’t have a lot of free time so when I read these days, it’s almost always books in our genre. As far as naming names, I try not to do that but I don’t think I’ll surprise anybody by saying that I’m a big Mary Calmes fan. I’ve also enjoyed some books from Dreamspinner’s #tweetaway, including Kim Fielding’s Good Bones.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Who are your latest crushes (celebrity, book character, or otherwise)? Do you ever keep those people in your mind when writing your own works?
CC: For many years, I’ve adored Joseph Gordon Levitt, Matthew Montgomery, and Seth Green.
Let’s talk about the Mates series. What inspired you to write the first book, Wake Me Up Inside?
CC: I wanted to write a story about bigotry and acceptance but I didn’t want it to be heavy-handed or preachy. It seemed to me that putting that message into a paranormal world would make it more palatable. That’s the inspiration for the whole series, not just the first book. Plus, I like shifters.
Cardeno C

A little birdie told me that you’re really inspired by music. Is my birdie telling the truth and can you tell me a little bit about how music inspires you?
CC: I love music of (almost) all kinds. I listen to it whenever possible, including when I write. Usually when I start a story, I think about my general plot, my characters, what I want to say, and then I find an inspiration song (sometimes two) and listen to it throughout the writing process.
Until Forever Comes has a really different tone than Wake Me Up Inside. Did you do that intentionally?
CC: I supposed that depends on what you mean by different. Some of the major differences that were intentional are:
·                     Wake Me Up Inside is written in the third person, Until Forever Comes is in the First.
·                     Wake Me Up Inside is a childhood friends to lovers story, so it spans many years/decades and has more softness to it given the ages of the characters and the setting. Until Forever Comes is a story of mates who meet as adults. It’s a much faster courtship.
·                     Wake Me Up Inside ends more than 50 years after Until Forever Comes starts. In Wake we hear about some incidents that took place in the past and get a sense that the past was more violent and less accepting than the present, but we don’t actually live those things. Even within Wake, we see growth and change due to the main shifter character, Zev, and the love he feels for his human mate, Jonah. Until Forever Comes has a darker, rougher feel. It’s the start of the growth and change within the shifter world, but as is often the case with growth, it’s slow going.
·                     Finally, the dynamic between the mates is very different in the books. Wake is told in the third person by Jonah and Zev, two men with the types of personalities and builds that are traditionally considered strong in an overt, obvious way. Until Forever Comes is narrated by the small, up-to-then sickly Ethan. He can’t hold his own in a fight, he doesn’t have an education or a job, he is looked down on by almost everyone, and he’s not ashamed to admit that he’s scared much of the time. Ethan’s mate is Miguel, an incredibly powerful vampire who fears nothing but causes those around him to cower and beg. He has money, property, and the admiration/respect of his peers. So on the surface Ethan and Miguel are as different as Jonah and Zev are the same. But that’s just the surface.
Ethan is a shifter with some pretty unique qualities. What inspired you to have Ethan have the blood condition he has and what sort of research did you have to do for that plot line?
CC: I read about a person who had health issues due to having too much blood several years ago and I found it interesting. When I was planning this series, I remembered that story and wove it into Ethan’s character and his connection with his mate.
Are there any other books planned in the Mates series?
CC: Yes. I’m going to bring the past to the present, taking us from where Until Forever Comes ended until Wake Me Up Inside. And then we’ll go to where Wake ended.
What’s up next for you?
CC: I’ve been working on books for my Family series. Strong Enough is the next one and it’ll be released in August. It’s about new characters. Then More Than Everything will be released in November. It’s about Chase, Daniel’s friend from Something in the Way He Needs, and about characters we meet in Strong Enough. I’ve also got a short novella called A Shot at Forgiveness that was released June 1st.

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Poppy. It was really fun!
Nothing like an amazing author, huh? Thanks for answering my questions Cardeno and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next! 
If you’re interested in more of Cardeno’s works, you can find them over at Dreamspinner Press. 

A Poppy in Texas

Texas Burgers
In-n-Out Burgers for Three. Yum.

I had an amazing trip to Texas over Memorial Day weekend. Visited with +Xara X. Xanakas and had a blast in the Lone Star State. Warning: Do not read this if you are hungry. *g*

To recap, I shall first say that *getting* to Texas was the worst part of the trip. After flight delays out the wazoo, I was only able to make it as far as Dallas, so Xara and her Spouse had to make the 3 hour trek to pick me up. It’s okay though, they fed me dinner at midnight…my very first In-N-Out Burger. (California’s finest on my first night in Texas–the irony was not lost on us.)

Dinner at Jack Allen’s

We fixed that on Thursday though with Breakfast Tacos for brunch. I had never had chorizo so it was another culinary adventure for me!

Mani/Pedi and shopping time followed. I would show you a picture of my cute toes, but well…you’d probably rather see the food. Then we met up with Spouse for dinner at Jack Allen’s. If you’re in the area, GO THERE. Seriously. Amazing food. And drinks. And more food. Also, our server was absolutely adorable and I wanted to keep him.

John Mueller’s–Home of Awesome BBQ

The next day, Xara’s Spouse and I were out the door bright and early to…wait for it….get in line for BBQ. Yeah. We had to wait in line because if you don’t, it’s all sold out. Crazy, huh? Apparently it’s part of the experience or something. I’m still undecided on that part.

There were a few jokes at my expense, mainly that I’d never had BBQ before because I hadn’t had Texas BBQ. I scoffed. No really, I did. Then I had a wee little taste of brisket. Um. They were right. I’d never had BBQ before. Cause wow. Seriously. I just….yeah. It was awesome.

John Mueller’s BBQ

Besides the brisket, we had beef sausage, beef ribs, and prime rib. Oh, and this squash casserole that was…well, let’s put it to you this way. I ate it. All. By myself. I didn’t share. I didn’t think I was ever going to eat again. Like…ever.

Of course, I hadn’t considered that I’d asked Xara’s Spouse to make me a real Texas steak. Yeah. More food.

Xara’s Spouse’s Steak…and sides. YUM

Not only the steak, but brussels sprouts and potatoes and mushrooms and…seriously. I didn’t think I was ever ever going to eat again.

(But OMG just remembering those brussels sprouts is making me want to make them for myself right now.)

Okay, so it wasn’t all food. There were drinks too. You’ll have to check out Xara’s Thirsty Thursday posts to find out what tasty beverages we were sampling.

Okay, fast forward to Saturday and we had made our way down to San Antonio. Dinner was at the super cool Tower of Americas.

View from our table at Tower of America

It’s one of those restaurants that rotates. Yeah. I was a little concerned about that bit, but it was really awesome. Food was good, but the view was spectacular. Plus, got to see my aunt, uncle, and cousin which made it even more awesome-sauce!

Out-building at the Alamo.

And then the big reason for the trip to San Antonio! I wanted to see the Alamo. You can’t take pics on the inside, but we did get a couple outside and of te grounds. Such beautiful buildings and so much history.

Gorgeous tree at the Alamo

The grounds were really beautiful too. I wasn’t expecting that so it was a nice surprise. We wandered around for a while and did a bit of souvenir shopping (I got a cool coffee mug!) before…wait for it…we had more food.

I know, I know. All we did was eat. LOL But apparently Mi Tierra’s is a “gotta do it at least once” kind of place in San Antonio. It’s a huge restaurant. Lines around the block to get in.

And then I had to see it for myself–anyone who’s read Snakeskin Boots by Xara might remember a little scene in that book with bats coming from beneath an overpass. That’s a real thing! The pics were really hard to take, but that smoky looking stuff? Yeah. That’s bats!! Gazillions of them!

All in all, a fantastic weekend with great friends and new experiences! I can’t wait to go back!

Suit Up Sunday: Dylan O’Brien (AKA Stiles Stilinski, AKA the ‘ST’ in Sterek)

Guess what?! It’s only 8 more sleeps until Teen Wolf Season 3!! Weee! (Pardon me while I have a massive fangirl moment.) June 3 is the big day, so I thought I’d do a little Suit Up post with one of my all-time favorite TV characters.

What is it about the adorkable Stiles Stilinski that keeps me coming back for more? Well, let’s see: he’s cute, sarcastic, super smart, funny as hell, and a great friend.

That not enough for you? How about this: STEREK

This would be Sterek. Go on. Google it.

For those of you who don’t follow Teen Wolf in crazy fangirl fashion (and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t, but okay…) Sterek is the slash pairing of Stiles and Derek Hale. *swoons*

I’m sure no one is surprised that Poppy the Paranormal Girl loves the werewolf. No one is, right? *crickets* That’s what I figured.

But really, it’s all about the Stiles for me. I absolutely love the character and Dylan O’Brien is such a charmer!

If you don’t believe me, see this adorable gif as Exhibit A. How cute is he?!?! Doing the little dance with the wolf hat on! Awwww!!!!

I can’t wait to see what mischief Stiles gets up to this season! I’ve been trying to avoid the spoiler/rumor mill, but man it’s hard! I really love him!

So if you haven’t watched the first two seasons yet, go for it! You’ve got 8 days! Go on! Shoo now. Watch Stiles and report back to me!

Suit Up Sunday: Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Now last week on Suit Up Sunday, I gushed over the amazing Robert Downey, Jr. As awesome as RDJ was as Sherlock, I’ve got to confess that Benedict Cumberbatch has won me over.

What is it about this guy that draws me in? Okay, so the accent is incredible. The eyes are swoon-worthy. He’s got that scowly thing I seem to love more than life itself. And let’s face it, the man can rock a suit like nobody’s business. Shouldn’t take much more than that, right?

But then you have to add John Watson into the mix! My slashy fangirl heart goes boom. I just…I can’t even. I’ve watched both series multiple times already. All the innuendo, the cute little wink-wink, nudge-nudges that we get, and I find myself…well, I’m sure you can imagine exactly what I do where these two are concerned!

Oh, and have I mentioned that Benedict Cumberbatch can rock the blond? *swoon*

Seriously, I think the man is trying to kill me dead. I can’t take it. I just want to stare. Repeatedly. To him and John Watson. *nods*