Last week’s winner is now well on her way to enjoying the signed copy of His Salvation! I hope she enjoys it. 🙂 Thank you for participating everyone. We are on week six! It’s amazing how fast this is going by! Where has the last five weeks gone? Gosh, sometimes you wonder if we’re all just running to keep up with the world or if we’re really living our lives. This week’s competition is for another tote bag with the His Salvation cover on it. I heard Tali Spencer is really enjoying hers! Keep reading to find out how to enter to win.
I don’t know if you’ve all heard, but I’ll be attending RainbowCon 2014 in April next year. I’m very excited about it and I hope to meet a lot of new people, including some of my readers! I’d love to sit down and have a chat, see what your thoughts are on my books, what questions you had about my characters. Maybe we’ll get that chance next year. It will be the first official convention I will be attending as an author. It is a bit intimidating actually as I have never been comfortable being the center of attention. Thankfully my friend Sui Lynn will be there to hold my hand, LOL. She was my partner in crime in Tennessee when we went to the Silver Publishing Retreat. However, we weren’t in the spotlight so to speak.
Public speaking is a bit of a problem for me. I may seem chatty online, but it’s a lot different being behind a computer screen than being in front of a crowd of people. I was never very good at oral reports or getting up in front of the class for homework. My fear mostly boils down to having been bullied and teased throughout most of my school years. Although I have always been shy even as a little kid, but the majority of it comes to being afraid of being put in the spotlight to be made fun of again when I already had to deal with it. I’ve been through a lot of that, even by family, and it made it hard to really succeed until I was forced out of my shell when I was 19 years old by an ex-boyfriend.
My defense mechanism for my fear of public speaking has gotten me the label of ‘standoffish’ because I tend to hold myself back until I feel more comfortable. The most memorable time that I was told I gave off that sense would have to be when I went to a lesbian club here in Fort Lauderdale called New Moon with my friend and three of her friends. I was standing out front with them, having a cigarette (yes, I did smoke back then), and watching people around me (I am a people watcher lol) when my friend starts talking to this woman and her friend. The woman, a firefighter for a local department, was clearly into my friend while her friend ended up flirting with me. She even gave me her phone number and told me to call her to meet up for lunch. She was a very pretty woman, but I just wasn’t into her. I think I would have taken her friend up on it though, LOL. Just to see if it went anywhere as I kind of found her friend attractive. I think I’ve always been bi-curious, but never acted on it.
Anyway, back to the point, it is going to be very interesting to see how public speaking works for me in the upcoming events. I know when I attended Gay Days in Orlando back in 2011, I found it hard to talk to anyone just walking by like Amy Lane. Oh, now there is a woman who is a shining of example of how outgoing I would love to be. She is the type of person who can pull you into a conversation and keep you interested for hours! She kept pushing me to talk to passersby and people who stopped at the booth. She even advertised my book for me :). But it shows that I tend to need someone to hold my hand for these things to really feel comfortable doing that. When I traveled to California for work last year by myself that was the scariest thing I’d ever done in my life and though I felt exhilarated for having done it, it’s not something I would find easy repeating!
To enter this week’s contest for the gorgeous tote bag featured in the picture above, all you have to do is comment and tell me what are you intimidated or afraid of in your life? Are you afraid of public speaking as well? Are you intimidated by powerful men/women? Is there something that leaves you shaking in your boots petrified? Do you find it hard to speak your mind? What are you scared of and is there something that caused it?
Thanks for joining me again this week. 🙂 I hope I have managed to keep each week fresh and interesting. As with the previous weeks, below is an excerpt from His Salvation. I did receive an email this week to tell me that His Salvation received a ‘Joyfully Recommended Read’ from joyfullyreviewed.com. Read it here: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/recommended-reviews/march-2013-recommended-reads/his-salvation-by-j-r-loveless
Blurb: In an attempt to atone for his sins and find some solace, ADA Agent Gabriel Romero helps other Deviants in need. But with threats from both sides—Normals and the Deviants who despise them—he finds it harder and harder to outrun his ghosts, especially after a difficult mission to rescue twin brothers held at an enemy compound, where Gabriel meets Alexander Ryker. Gabriel finds his new charge unexpectedly attractive, and that’s a complication he does not want—one he thinks he doesn’t deserve.
Despite the frosty reception from the stubborn agent who rescued him, sheltered telepath Alex feels an instant connection through the pain he sees in Gabriel’s eyes, and he does everything he can to gain his attention. The realities he must face while mastering his ability are hard, but failing to learn to defend himself is not an option. Soon he’ll need his newfound strength to convince Gabriel he deserves to live and love again.
“FIGHTING for your life isn’t about being tough or macho,” Jackal stated calmly, twisting the large, very sharp double edged knife in his hands expertly. “It’s about staying alive. It’s about being focused on a goal and achieving that goal by any means necessary.”
Alex eyed the shiny blade warily. He still didn’t want to do this, but if Gabriel wanted him to learn it, he would.
“You have to let go of who you are and how you think. Holding back isn’t going to save your life or anyone else’s. It’s just going to leave you open for your attacker to hurt you and kill you.” Jackal suddenly spun and threw the knife toward the nearby target. The knife hit with a very loud thwack and Alex winced, biting his lip hard.
Striding forward, Jackal yanked the knife out of the target. “I’m going to show you how to disarm your attacker, where to strike to take them out, and the best types of blades to use. This is a double edged blade and is one of the better blades to use since both sides are sharp and you can use either edge to cut your attacker.” He turned the blade around and grabbed Alex’s wrist, setting the handle in his hand. “The handle should be slightly longer than your palm so that you can strike your opponent with it. Like this one, some knives have a metal pommel on the butt to make striking more effective.
“One of the biggest indicators of an opponent’s skill with a knife is the hold they have on the handle. There are four styles of grip: a fencer’s grip, the hammer grip, the reverse grip, and the ice pick grip. The fencer’s grip, the one I least recommend, as if your hand is struck you may very well drop the knife, is when you hold the handle between your thumb and forefinger, allowing the other fingers to wrap loosely around the rest of the handle.” Jackal moved Alex’s fingers, showing him the grip. “Ever seen the way a fencer holds their weapon? The point is held out toward your attacker, but despite allowing you maximum reach for the blade, it’s the least effective of the four.”
Jackal repositioned the knife, turning the blade along Alex’s wrist, one edge facing outward. “This is the reverse grip. You’ll see the blade is run along the inside of your wrist. The grip hides the knife, but in order to strike your attacker you have to be close to them. Also not a grip I would necessarily recommend, as it puts you in reach of your opponent.
“The ice pick is just what it implies. The handle is held in your fist with the knife pointing downward,” Jackal instructed as he once again moved the knife. “It allows you maximum penetration when trying to cut through protective clothing or body armor. Also not one I would recommend, as you leave your chest open for a strike and easily indicate your attack to your opponent.”
“There’s so much to remember,” Alex murmured softly, shivering at the feel of the heavy handle in his palm. “What’s the fourth grip?”
“The fourth and most effective is the hammer grip. You hold it like you would a hammer, in a tight fist with the blade pointing up and one edge pointing outward. Keep your wrist flexible as you move. Your attacker is less likely to knock the blade from your hand, and it allows you to use the butt of the knife to strike with if necessary. You can use this grip to slash, chop, or thrust the knife at your opponent.”
Jackal moved behind Alex, kicking his feet slightly apart and putting his right hand under Alex’s right elbow while gripping his left wrist and pulling it into his lower stomach.
“The next important technique is your stance. You also want to hold the knife out in front of your body with your free hand close to your midsection to protect your vital areas. Your free hand is like a shield, yet you can also use it to parry, throw anything you can, distract them, balance yourself, or even grab your attacker’s weapon. Just remember, it’s better they cut your hand than to lose your life.”
Stepping around Alex, Jackal slid another knife from his weapons vest. “The first thing you want to do is look for open targets. They don’t always have to be vital areas. Most people skilled in knife fighting will protect those areas instinctively. Drawing first blood is a psychological thing and gives you a huge advantage. Regardless of where you hit, keep striking them. Disabling them by going for the weapon hand is a good course of action as well.
“A simple cut or stab wound will not stop your attacker. Even a direct stab to the heart can still give them the chance to retaliate. There are multiple soft spots and major arteries in the body. The main ones are here”—Jackal touched the cool steel of the blade to the side of Alex’s neck—“here”—he lifted Alex’s arm and indicated the fleshy underside of Alex’s bicep—“and here.” Jackal pressed the knife close to his groin.
“Your opponent will bleed out in minutes, maybe even seconds if the cut is deep enough.”
Alex’s eyes widened, and he stepped back. “I… I don’t know if I can do this.” The idea of actually taking someone’s life caused his stomach to churn. How could he possibly kill someone?
Frowning, Jackal replied, “You may not have a choice, Alex. Whether you like it or not, you are a Deviant. We don’t always have the chance to decide if we want to kill someone. If someone is attacking you and intends on killing you, it’s either kill them first or be killed. There are several places you can cut muscles or tendons to disable your opponent, but only disabling them still gives them the opportunity to attack you again. It’s also not a smart idea, as you really have to get close to them in order to hit the right tendon.”
Alex wanted to go back to the farm, to be safe with his Grams again. He didn’t ask to be a Deviant. He didn’t even have an active ability like his brother did. Why would anyone think he was dangerous? His eyes burned as his chest tightened, and he rubbed at his heart. Despite knowing Jackal spoke the truth, it still caused bile to rise in his throat, and he found himself unable to speak.
Over the course of the next hour, Jackal instructed him on movement, stance, and disarming his opponent. Some of the moves reminded Alex of the martial arts training he’d already received at the ADA. By the time they’d finished, Alex’s clothing clung wetly to his skin, soaked in sweat. He wiped at his forehead with the back of one hand, holding out the knife to Jackal. Jackal shook his head and gently pushed his hand back to him. “Keep it, kid, it’s yours.”
Jackal cut him short. “Just keep it, Alex. You may never know when you’ll need it.”
He sighed and nodded. Jackal passed him a sheath to carry it in. “You can strap it to your ankle or just carry it in your waistband.”
Jackal stopped him as they were leaving the training room. “I thought like you once, Alex. I didn’t think I could ever hurt someone, could ever allow myself to do it, but watching other Deviants die the night the concentration camp was attacked changed something in me. I saw the hatred, the cruelty those Normals carried inside of them for our kind, and I knew if I wanted to survive I had no choice.” He squeezed Alex’s shoulder lightly. “Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want, but we never hurt someone just to hurt them. The people I’ve killed over the years wanted to kill me or one of the people I care about because they fear us, and the fear they carry makes them hate us.”
Alex remembered something Grams once told him and Jason.“People are afraid of what they don’t understand, and that fear makes them do things they wouldn’t normally do. Things that may seem horrifying to others, but to them makes perfect sense at the time.”
The sheath of the knife dug into his palm as Alex’s grip tightened. “I don’t want to be like them.”
Surprise entered Jackal’s face. “You could never be like them, Alex. Defending yourself is not the same as attacking someone for being who they are.”
“Isn’t it the same thing, Jackal?” Alex demanded. “Where is my killing them for hating me any different from them killing me because they hate me?”
Jackal stared at him for a long moment, unable to come up with a response to Alex’s logic. Finally, he sighed and leaned his shoulder against the doorframe. “You are truly a good person, Alex. And I understand what you’re saying, but sometimes those people don’t leave us a choice, and it’s not always the Normals who want to hurt you. Our own kind will also try to do so if they find something to gain from it. Not all of us, but look at Vincetti. The man locks up Deviants, brainwashes them until they agree to join him or they go insane from the constant torture, and doesn’t care one ounce when those Deviants are killed for what he considers his cause.”
Before Alex could reply to Jackal, his entire body sang out, and he closed his eyes, breathing deeply. “Gabriel’s almost here.”
Jackal gaped at Alex. “How can you possibly know that?”
He opened his eyes. “I can feel him,” he stated simply.
“You’ve got it bad, kid,” Jackal teased, lightly punching Alex in the shoulder.
Alex flushed and looked down at the ground. “It’s not about that. I feel a connection to him.”
Cackling, Jackal shot him a look, causing Alex to blush even harder.
He glared at Jackal. “I’m serious!”
“Whatever you say, Alex.”
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