First off, on this last day of 2011, I just want to say “Wow!” Yes, it lacks originality and flair but it does express how awed I am by the response to yesterday’s blog… and cover, let’s not forget that sizzling cover. *grins naughtily*

Secondly, I vow to you NOT to participate in the “year in review” nonsense every news station parades out this time of the year. I hate that. We lived it, folks. And the bad stuff, well, I for one don’t want to re-live it again for jollies; and the good stuff I already carry with me 24/7. So humongous waste of time in my estimation. Go find some real news and get back to me then… Ok, rant is now officially over. We can now all return to romantic smut and chronic mental illness. Yes, I do know how to party on New Year’s Eve.

Thirdly, it is my sad duty to report that today is the last of the chapter sneak peeks for Shafts of Torchlight. We have indeed reached the last chapter. It is a sad day in Hellesgate.

Fourthly, if that’s actually a word and my spellcheck says that it is, I would like to announce that on Sunday and Monday I will reveal to you the titles to Books #4 and #5 of the Hellesgate Series. Try to restrain yourself from somersaulting in pure unadulterated excitement. We don’t need any ER visits on the night that big glowy ball drops. *smiles*

In lieu of a fifthly (which really kind of weirds me out), I give you your last chapter sneak peek of Shafts of Torchlight…


Chapter Twelve: By Choice


             “Did you ever ask?” Cane snapped before Matthew had the chance.

            “No. There was no need. It was already done.” (page 149)

 
So, does everybody have a clear picture as to what’s going to happen with Matthew and Cane in their newest adventure? I doubt it. The ending surprised even me.

To update all curious blog-readers, my search for novel titles is slowly leading me into the realms of insanity. Quick trip, let me tell you. Sometimes I’d just like to take my brain out of my head and give it a good shaking. But screaming “What the freaking f**k?” to myself and my mischievous gray matter really doesn’t accomplish a thing. I know. I tried. My doctor upped my meds after that one.

The new website is getting closer to making its debut. I think I’ve actually got a couple of pages up at chloestowe.com but heck if I know. I’ll keep you updated.

Tomorrow’s blog will be either really early or really late. I’m hoping for early but the Fates are already whispering in my ear, “Oh, girl, it’s going to be so late.” I apologize in advance. Fear not, however, I will announce its posting to every corner of the internet like I always do. Yes, I get off on heralding.

Well, I will leave you now to enjoy the last few hours of 2011. Be careful, be smart and most of all be happy!

Until tomorrow (next year, folks!)…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
Picture
Coming January 3rd, 2012!
It’s cover time! Yes, after twelve long days of putting up with my hype and my woes and my questionable taste in all things humor, you finally get a peek at the cover for Shafts of Torchlight. Are you excited? Is everyone rushing to their computers with sweaty palms and irregular heartbeats… or is that just me? *grins*

To accompany your eye candy, here is Chapter Eleven’s tease of the day…
 
Chapter Eleven: DiMaggio and Boss Tweed

“There was no turning back, however. Cane could only go forward.” (page 134)

 
January 3rd is only a few days away, everybody. Have you all reviewed Torched (Book #1) and Blow Torch (Book #2) like all good students of romantic smut series should do? I’d offer you my own cheat sheets to the novels but my chicken scratch is not safe for man nor beast. If you would like a little refresher on all things Hellesgate please see Day Eight’s blog for a look back to the characters of our small little Kansas town.

Whew! This promoting myself every day is something so foreign to me that it sends all my screwy brain circuits out for a dizzying spin. Whenever I get done publishing these daily masterpieces of egotism, I have to spend the next hour or so picking up the marbles scattered messily around my computer. Thankfully when it seems that I’ve actually lost track of a spent marble or two, God provides me with nice, shiny, new ones for me to scuff up the next day. It’s always nice when you realize that God’s got your back.

I think I’ll be needing some more divine intervention as I’m struggling with novel titles and building my first website at my recently purchased domain of chloestowe.com. Yesterday, I spent hours (yes, actually hours, folks) trying to come up with titles for my next batch of novels for Ravenous. I obsess. I know, I know, no surprise there. But I do try to keep it under some kind of control. I didn’t wake up every hour last night running titles through my head so I’ll count that as a success.

As for the website, well, I’m a perfectionist. You’re jaws are dropping, aren’t they? Yep, I’ve got a mania for every situation, folks. Anyhow, I will keep you updated on that marble-losing venture as well.

I will leave you now to go drool over my new cover. I’ve already shorted out two keyboards this morning myself, so be safe but stay horny… yeah, I can’t believe I said that either. I guess I lost a marble under the couch yesterday.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe


 
 
Depression sucks.

It sucks big.

No, I’m not even talking about myself. A friend of mine has been battling it for a while now and it’s finally reached the point that she really needs to talk to her doctor about it. Even lugging me and my baggage around as a friend doesn’t counter the stigma attached to psych drugs.

A person might fully understand, accept and support someone else who has to take these meds, but when it comes to their own lives and the thought of having to pop them themselves, it scares the living daylights out of them.

I understand. They don’t want to be “mellow.” They don’t want to feel drugged up all the time. They don’t want to be reliant on a pill to get them through the day…

It’s a stigma, a vile one that is based on people who are prescribed the wrong kind of medication (or any kind of medication in some cases) for the wrong reasons. My doctor has always told me that all he wants the meds to do is to give me more of an even playing field. That’s all I want for my friend. I just want her to be happy, to not get stuck down in the quick sand of depression where the more you struggle the further down you are dragged.

I tried to explain to her that the meds aren’t meant to keep you from getting down about life or angry. They’re meant to help you not get stuck in those pits. The meds are a ladder, a way back up to a world still filled with shadows but also filled with intermediate sunshine.

I pray that my friend will ask for that ladder.

I pray that I’ve led her to look for that help in the right direction….

On these kind of days, I just pray.

Now, to hopefully brighten your day, here is your daily chapter preview.

 
Chapter Ten: Heat

“Cane stopped, looked up and stared at his lover. “Did we just turn into a Lifetime Movie?”” (page 116)

 
Laughter…sometimes it’s a staunch ladder in and of itself.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
Day Ten breaks with a sad little sigh…There are no more reindeer games to play.

Yesterday I was so caught up in my gremlins that I forgot that my WWII reindeer were missing - and if that sentence doesn’t prove my mental peculiarities to my naysayers nothing ever will. *chuckles*

“Naysayers?” you might ask.

Yes, naysayers. Those people who scoff at my nerves, patting me on the head and telling me “just breathe and you’ll get over it. Everybody gets nervous. You’ve just got to get over it.”

I try to explain my condition to them again, even drag out a few medical records as show and tell material.

Another pat on my head, as they try to commiserate, “I used to get nervous too before a big test or a project. Just push yourself through it, Chloe, and you’ll be fine. You’ve got to try not to worry so much.”

After the twentieth to the thirtieth time at trying to explain myself (and swatting their damned hand off of my head by the fifth go-through), I admit defeat. I have to. I despise giving up and have spent most of the last twenty years fighting it tooth and nail, but beating my head against a brick wall won’t get me anything but some fresh symptoms of concussion.

Naysayers. They’re hard to turn. And the failure of not getting them to understand stings and stings and stings. And what’s worse is that the stinger they leave embedded within me breeds doubt… doubt that I’m not trying hard enough… that I’m just weak… that I’m just a big baby… that I’m a failure of a human being.

Sometimes it literally takes me months to recover.

Maybe I am weak? But I don’t think so. I hope by writing this blog I’m able to prove to a few of the naysayers and the latent naysayer in the back of my own head that I am strong.. sick but damned strong.

Whether you view me as weak or strong or just plain loony, here is your next chapter preview…

Chapter Nine: A Howl of Lost Wind

“He saw nothing. Nothing but white and cold and rock and water. Nothing that was going to help his husband survive the night.” (page 111)

I’m still missing my reindeer. *sighs*

It was fun dabbling in a little bit of historical romance. It’s a genre I’d love to explore, particularly exploring m/m relationships throughout the many varied time periods of human history. Of course, there would have to be a little willing suspension of disbelief but when isn’t there in historical romance? Anyhow, if you’re interested in seeing a Chloe Stowe take on the historical genre please drop a quick note to my publisher (www.ravenousromance). If there’s enough demand, there will be supply.

Or at least I hope so. *grins*

Until tomorrow where I promise there will be nary a naysayer…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
Publishing gremlins. They’re vile little creatures that sneak up on unsuspecting authors while we sleep. They nibble and gnaw at our confidence with jagged sharp teeth. They laugh at us as they derail release dates with dastardly intent but complete stealth. These gremlins have no names except the curses we utter as we bang our heads against stone walls covered with briars…

Bloodied, bruised and freshly briared, I hang my head low in defeat today. The gremlins have bested me and Shafts of Torchlight today. Due to their machinations and ill-wills, the third book in the Hellesgate series will not be released until January 3.

Damn their slippery little hides!

Instead of shaking my white-knuckled fist at the tiny beasts any longer, however, I will end this apology with true regret for the delay, with gratitude for you hanging in there with me and with a vow that I will keep blogging until the publishing gremlins let my baby go!

January 3, 2012.

It’s got a nice ring to it… and I’m sure that Dudley my tattoo artist can rework the 12/27 on my hip bone into a 1/3 with a minimal amount of scarring.

*smirks*

Thankfully the foul little gremlins haven’t foiled me completely. I still have chapter previews in my back pocket. I still have mental anguish to share like bon-bon’s. I still have quirky humor to see us all through the long, hard week… which, of course, means nothing if I don’t have you on my six. I hope you hang in there with me. My six would miss you if you were gone.

So if there’s anyone still out there except the proverbial crickets, here is your next chapter preview…

 Chapter Eight: Letting the Bastards Do Their Deed

“Praying for midnight was the only way Cane was managing not praying for dawn. If he could get over the hump of one day to the next maybe the darkness of Eastern Colorado masking as Iraq wouldn’t seem so suffocating.” (page 100)

So the blogging will continue. And come hell or high water, Shafts of Torchlight will be freed from the gremlins. *winks*

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
As release day for book #3 of the Hellesgate Series nears (tomorrow, folks!) and the last reindeer of our WWII love games has arrived, I’d like to take a few moments to re-introduce you to Shafts of Torchlight’s locale, a crazy little place called Hellesgate…

Hellesgate is a little town of about 500 citizens in southwestern Kansas. It has a post office, a small store, a gas station, a granary and a row of neat tiny houses running up Main Street. At first glance, Mayberry comes to mind, but fair warning: there are no Opie’s here.

Bingham Daughtry is an old, old man who runs the post office. He was a sniper in the Korean War and never got out of the habit of calling his gun his best friend. He’s famous for his hard lemonade and the senility he flirts with daily. He is a loyal man who says what’s on his mind and who defends the few he calls his friends with vigor and when necessary with violence.

The Eastons, Iona and Elwood, run an apple orchard on the outskirts of town. Iona babies her apple trees and her husband with an equal but fierce passion. While the couple were never blessed with children of their own, they were blessed with Cane, their nephew. Having raised him since he was a baby, they consider Cane their own and would gladly defend him with their lives.

May Shaw is an eccentric girl. A beautiful woman in her twenties, she is as slight as a thistle and as winsome as the prairie wind. She loves Cane Summerfield with a passion which frequently crosses over into the obsessive. Her stalking tendencies have mellowed some through the years but her incendiary love of Cane has not.

Jefferson Shaw is May’s brother. With all the passion with which May loves Cane, Jefferson hates him with equal fire. Convinced that Cane has somehow wronged his sister, Jefferson has vowed to destroy Cane’s life… that is if he ever sobers up enough to figure out how.

This is Hellesgate, Kansas. It is an environment rich with love, hate and fire. It is the bed in which Cane Summerfield and Matthew Archer’s love was sparked and their family was born. I hope you will drop by for a visit tomorrow and be sure to bring your friends and enemies – after all, there’s something for everybody (be it murder, mayhem or momentous love) in Hellesgate, Kansas.

However, Matthew and Cane’s love and adventures are by no means limited to Kansas. Denver, Colorado plays a crucial role in Shafts of Torchlight, a backdrop to a dangerous night in which lives are threatened and love is tested…

 Chapter Seven: Sleet in Denver

“Standing there alone at a frosted window Matthew missed the brush of arm against his arm, the tickle of breath against his neck, the sound of his own voice tangled in the sound of his husband’s.” (page 85)

Well, I believe I have flapped my jaws enough for today. Tomorrow I’ll give you a recap of the histories of Matthew and Cane and their little girl, Sahara. Until then, I leave you with the final reindeer of our WWII games…

I imagine Blitzen to be…

An assassin. He is a man who is sent in as a war’s last resort. He must blend in, get lost among the maddening crowd… until the final shot can be had. He trusts no one but his own gun. While he once hated his role as reaper, he views it now as a mission of mercy. The atrocities of the war have changed him, hardened him. In the mirror, Blitzen no longer recognizes himself. Who he will be after the war, if there is an “after the war” for him, only God knows. Until then his crosshairs are set on only one man… a man who is responsible for hundreds of deaths or so the intelligence alleges. When the truth of his target’s actions come to light, will it be enough to convince Blitzen to betray his own orders to save one good man’s life? Or will his own heart feel the cold death of his own assassin’s bullet?

Until tomorrow (Release Day!!!)…

Chloe Stowe and her Hellesgate homies.

 
 
 
Merry Christmas!

I apologize for the lateness of the post today but I’ve got a village full of elves to back me up that I’ve actually been busy merry-making and making the world a jolly place to “ho-ho!’”

Forget the wrapping paper, bows and ribbons; let’s just get to the goodies…


Chapter Six: Playing Dirty

“You like when I play dirty.” Cane winced and then abandoned the military stance altogether as he got a whiff of the candies. Holding out his hand, he revised, “Ok, forget that I just said that. Give me a rum ball.” (page 82)


Wow. I provided you with smut and a rum ball. How very festive of me. I will, therefore, forgo the tinseling of your dear heads in lieu of gifting you with “Donner’s” WWII reindeer game…

I imagine Donner to be…

An ambulance driver in the heart of Vienna. A broken leg when he was five that had followed him into his adulthood as a nasty limp had prevented Donner from military duty. He considers the disability as a blessing now as his loyalty has turned away from the Germans who occupy his homeland. Now, the only ones that he serves are the people of his Vienna, a people who must survive the bombs of the Allies to see the light of a free day.  As he risks his life to bring an old woman to safety, Donner meets a man who could save a hundred lives… if only the man wanted to. Will Donner be able to set the man straight before more than lives are lost, but hearts as well?

I won’t keep you long today, nor will I ply you with the less than sane details of my life. You can thank me by returning tomorrow when I’m sure I can dole out some whine and questionable wisdom for your entertainment and my mental health (no snickering, people.)

Have a blessed Christmas night and may this eve be the best of your life so far.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
Live from the Island of Misfit Toys… Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! We’re keeping a sharp eye to the skies for Santa while keeping our hands firmly on our pretty little meds. The last things we want on Christmas Eve are psychotic breaks. They’re messy and are generally party-downers. So here’s to keeping everyone merry and sane this December 24th!

I’ve got a real nice teaser for you today, one to tickle all of your drama-loving bones…
 
Chapter Five: Of Shots of Cold Water and Chasers of Fire
"The jingle and the little girl disappeared.” (page 65)

Are you intrigued? Are you setting all of your i-phones and other various electronic goodies to twirkle at you on Tuesday the 27th? Are you throwing a “Welcome Back to Hellesgate!” party Monday night? Are your guests coming dressed as Matthew, Cane or May?... Let’s hope not. This is what I was talking about keeping things sane, ok? Delusions may be fun on t.v. but they’re best left to the professionals in their straitjackets.

All kidding aside, I do hope you all have a magical day full of family, friends and faith.

Faith.

I cling to mine so much that I’m afraid it’s rather tattered and frayed. No, mine is no longer shiny and new. I’ve long since passed the point of being able to take it out at a party and showing it off as a sparkly accessory. Most of the time these days, I keep my faith wrapped tight across my chest. I’m no longer warm without it.

Occasionally, however, I let my well-worn faith show. Most of the time, it’s flashed in the tiny but bright little corners of my novels. You’ll find it in the old Hellesgate church, in Cane’s survival, in Matthew’s acceptance and in Sahara’s starry-eyed hope. And today, you’ll find it here. Read between the lines of my misfit existence and you’ll see God’s threads keeping me whole and giving me purpose.

Merry Christmas everyone. I wish you warmth and love.

Maybe it’s apropos or just dumb luck that today’s reindeer game would be Cupid…

I imagine Cupid to be…

An Army doctor whose heart leads where few will follow. It is his second tour of duty, his first embedded in the front line. His life has been one of the study of medicine. His life has been one of the search for his reason for being. He is fully prepared to die here in the war. He expects it; he almost wants it. Before he goes, however, he is determined to save as many young soldiers as his skill and his reckless bravery will allow. When he saves a man who could be a traitor, has Cupid finally saved one life too many?

Until tomorrow (a late afternoon posting)…

Chloe Stowe

 
 
Today, Chloe Stowe is sitting on Santa’s lap.

“What do you want for Christmas, little girl?” Santa asks me, because, yes, I’m still a little girl with big dreams and out of this world wishes.

“I don’t know,” I answer, because there is a lesson to be learned here and if I already knew what it was this whole exercise would be silly... we wouldn’t want that, would we?

“Well, little one,” Santa smiles down wisely at me, “you can have whatever your heart desires.” (I’m imagining Edmund Gwenn as my Santa. I loved the twinkle he always had in his eyes in the original Miracle on 34th Street.) “All you have to do is ask.”

I freeze. Yep, mouth open, words on the tip of the tongue, I freeze.

Santa smiles gently at me. “Just say it, Chloe. Tell me that all you want for Christmas is a normal, healthy mind and it’s yours. No more panic, no more meds. Independence, children, a world without the words “mental illness” being stamped across your brow, it will all be yours.”

And what do I say to this dear sweet man offering me every dream I had long since given up every hope of ever having?...

“No, thank you,” I whisper with big fat tears in my eyes. “Just promise me I won’t get worse, that’s all I ask.”

“But why, Chloe?” Santa’s brow furrows. “Why not have your burden taken away completely?”

I look him straight in the eyes and confess, “Without my “burden,” without my mental illness, I wouldn’t be Chloe Stowe any more. I wouldn’t be me.” I chuckle a little sadly as I add, “And I’d miss me.”

Santa grins and kisses me on the tip of the nose. “I’d miss you, too.”

“Thank you,” I say because really isn’t that what we all want out of life, to be missed just a little when we’re gone?

“Anything else I could give you?” Santa offers before our time runs out.

I grin. “A Johnny Depp – Scott Caan sandwich would be great!” I leave out the part where I’m the meat in the sandwich because, hey, I am a lady and this is Santa Claus we’re talking about.

I’m then hurried off his knee but before I’m whisked away by his helpful elves, he lays a finger on the side of his nose and says, “”Ham” it up, little lady, but don’t sprain yourself. You’ve got blogs to write.”

And there ends my silliness of the day.


Chapter Four: With Wantonness and Ease

 “The days began to roll by in a blur of moments that would only become important after…” (page 55)


Oops. I almost forgot. More silliness coming in the form of my WWII reindeer game of the day…

I imagine Comet to be…

A fighter pilot. With as much daring as skill, he strafes the Austrian skies with gunfire. Anger and a deep-seated hate fuel his every action. Having lost a brother to the first days of the war, Comet’s sole purpose in life now is revenge. But when his plane is torn from the sky over Vienna, will the man who rescues him save more than his life? Will the stranger save Comet’s heart?

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe (the little girl perpetually on Santa’s knee)

 
 
Tossing and turning, turning and tossing… that’s all I did last night and all I have to say about that is: Phooey. (Ladies and gents you have just witnessed the first time Chloe Stowe has ever used that word in her entire life. Yes, my phooey cherry has officially been popped. Was it good for you?)

Moving quickly on…

I need to write. I mean, I’ve taken the last few days off so that I could throw my beloved nephew a Tree-Trimming Party, which went splendidly last night, but cooking and decorating and general merry-making just doesn’t beat my squirrelly grey matter into submission. I’ve found that my warped brain cells are a lot like a gaggle of two-year olds on a sugar-high. I’ve got to just let them go run themselves rampant until they collapse exhausted in a corner somewhere, at which point I can finally get some sleep.

So today I am joyously diving back into my novel-making, hoping for a night free from tossing and turning and phooeys.

And to get the romantic smut train rolling, here is your next sneak peek…

 Chapter Three: A Bisexual Man

“Matthew grinned. He loved when Cane got all G.I. Joe with him. It set off all of Matthew’s fight, flight or fuck responses, responses that always ended in fuck.” (page 49)

And to further stroke my imagination, here is your WWII reindeer game of the day!

I imagine Vixen to be…

A wolf in sheep’s clothing. His loyalties can be bought, his allegiance sold to the highest bidder. He is a man who truly only fights for himself. Having been betrayed by everyone in his young life, he vows to return the favor to the whole world. But is there a man out there who can earn his trust and gain his undying love? And if there is such a man will he survive the war or simply become the latest cruel twist of Vixen’s fate?

That’s it for today, folks. My gaggle of two year olds are heading for the kitchen and the knives, so I’m off to prevent bloodshed.

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe