A Visit From J.R. Loveless

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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!

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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.

Excerpt:

“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.”

“But I—”

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.”

To Purchase His Salvation

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3366&cPath=55_303%C2%A0

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/His-Salvation-The-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00AC3PDWU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358993831&sr=8-2&keywords=His+Salvation

Also available at other online ebook retailers!

 Thanks for being here, J.R.!

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27 thoughts on “A Visit From J.R. Loveless

  1. Believe it or not babes but I am actually pretty insecure and shy too about speaking in public. One on one conversations I breeze through and can talk to almost anyone but give me more than two people to talk to at the same time and my legs turn to jelly and my throat closes up. My mind wipes itself clean so badly that I once forgot my name when I had to introduce myself to a group at night school. (there were 15 of us including me) All they needed was my name and why I’d joined the course. I told them my maiden name rather than my married name and forgot why I’d joined and told them where I worked and what I did. I’d been married for about 5 years at that point so it’s not like I’d only recently changed it and heaven only knows why I told them about my job! *hdesk*

    • I tend to ramble and twist my hands when talking to people. Especially when everyone is looking at me. They did that to me at my job once where they put me on the spot and forced me to speak in front of the entire company without warning. That was uncomfortable.

  2. I’m afraid of self-promotion in any form. I’m currently working on revising my bio for both work & web & I find it a competely intimidating process. I just can’t think of a reason why anyone would be interested. When I disassociate myself from my work, letting the work speak for itself, I have no problem.

    • I don’t think you’re alone there. I tend to do the same thing. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never been overly promotional of my own work. I kind of just let it do its thing by itself. I mean I set up my website and stuff, but it’s just hard to wrap my mind around why anyone would be interested in reading about me. 🙂

  3. i am afraid of failing i always start something and never finish because i am afraid people will not like it or i will fail at it in the end i am also really afraid to speak in public
    my major scare is becoming a failiure
    jennifer blaney leblanc

    jenblaney@msn.com

    • I think everyone is afraid of failure. It’s not easy putting yourself out there. I think especially as a writer it can be hard sometimes because if people don’t like your book(s) then you begin to question yourself why am I a writer? I know more than once over the last four years I’ve questioned myself whenever I’ve read a bad review. :-/

  4. HI JR,

    I hate public speaking as well. The first time I ever had to speak in front of a group was about 6 years ago when my office moved to a brand new state of the art building. I had to get up in front of ALL my coworkers and talk about the department that I work in and what our group does to supporting the firm. I swear all I wanted to do was throw up. Then, a few years later the managing partner of my firm heard that I wasn’t a fan of public speaking, and don’t you know, he had me speaking at the annual firm meeting. Mind you, it was just to do intros to each speaker but, again, all I wanted to do was throw up. LOL. Since then I’ve been speaking at every tax department kickoff meeting (much smaller group compared to the firm meetings) we have every January and while I STILL want to throw up, I get up there every year and talk about my job and what I need from them to help me help them do their job better.

    I loved His Salvation and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

    Catch ya on facebook!

    Hugs,
    Sharon

    • Hi Sharon. 🙂 My boss did the same thing to me when he pushed me to go to California last year. That was the scariest event of my life. It was not only my first time in an airplane, but I also traveled all the way to California alone. I had to ride in a taxi for the first time in my life and go to an event that had hundreds of people at it alone. I latched onto the first person who was nice to me and stuck to her as long as I could as a type of security blanket. I spent a lot of panels by myself until the third day I was there when I ended up meeting this really nice pair of guys from Alaska. We got along very well and they invited me to have dinner with them. I learned quite a bit about San Francisco from the older man there as that was his home town and his family still owned a restaurant there, the restaurant we ended up eating dinner at. 😀 But if we don’t open ourselves up to new experiences, we really do miss out on a lot in life. I’ve been trying to push myself to get out of my shell. Going to Tennessee last year was a part of that.

  5. I’m afraid of failing or not being good enough. So much so that I have to be pushed and prodded to try new things.

    • Hi, Tricia. Thanks for commenting. 🙂 And I totally understand that. I have felt the same way my entire life. Outside of being teased and bullied in school, I was teased and bullied at home. My family has made me feel that way more than once. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a bit better at not letting people make me feel that way. But unfortunately, my job which is a big part of my life right now makes me feel like I’m not good enough, like I’m a horrible person sometimes because I’m so aggressive in how I handle things at work, and the people don’t ‘hear’ me.

      We all have to stick together. 🙂 Prod each other, hmm?

  6. There was a time when I was a backup singer in FL. The first time I went on stage I was a ball of nerves. I have no problem in speaking with ‘individuals’ anywhere but when it comes to standing behind a podium or speaking to a group of folks where all eyes are on me, YIKES!!! Let the Blabbering begin! LOL Fortunately, that nervous period only lasts a few minutes. Once I get used to the eyes, I’m okay.
    The biggest problem I have now, since the past three years is the dreaded fear of leaving the house. I have to get into a mind set for a couple of hours before approaching the front door. Once I’m in the car and driving I’m ok.Panic attacks suck!
    That is one beautiful tote!!

    • There are many folks who suffer from that type of fear or phobia. I’m glad you have the courage to overcome it. 🙂 There are some who can’t. It’s similar to an OCD complex where someone has a fear of germs or cats or the number 13. Sometimes it is very hard for those people to live day to day with these fears. The phobia that Monk had in the tv show of the same name and the guidance counselor on Glee may seem funny in the shows, but in reality it’s not funny at all.

  7. Hi JR,

    My greatest fear is probably speaking to my family over strangers. There really isn’t anyone who can lift you up or bring you down like they can. It took me months to tell them I was having my work published, and that most of it is M/M. And I experienced both up and down.

    But as is life, I suppose. Which is what I love about your characters as well. Their real.

    So regardless, thanks for writing people who aren’t necessarily perfect, but are still worth it..

    Hugs,
    Jess

    • My family is the same way, Jess. You are very correct in saying there isn’t anyone who can crush you or make you feel good more than your family. When my family found out I was writing m/m romance and then when I ended up getting published, its a big joke to them, and even to this day it’s still a joke to them. They make fun of it. And the same with my mother, the day I told her I knew she wouldn’t be happy for me, but her reaction was so disapproving it hurt. One of her comments was even don’t hold your breath. I have never forgotten that and I doubt I ever will. But I push past that because I am doing what I love and I am able to share that joy with the world.

      I know my novels never concentrate on the usual content where there’s always a factor of it being ‘wrong’ to be gay. I figure there’s enough of that in this world already, why bring it into the world of fiction and fantasy? In the world of fiction, you can make it any world you want. You can make your characters be whoever you want. Their lives are in your hands. Where is written that a great gay novel has to be about the struggles against the prejudice of being gay? Do we keep harping on the negatives or show a world where we hope to be someday where everyone is loved and accepted for who they are? Maybe that is fantasy, but isn’t fiction supposed to be just that?

      Anyway, thanks for sharing, and I am very happy to hear how you enjoy my characters and their stories. 🙂

  8. I’m afraid of alot of things some of them are your common fears such as the dark , the ocean which is saying something because I live in fl and surrounded by the big blue , but my biggest fear is losing one of my children I have three amazing kids and I lost my brother to a vehicular homicide recently and I know what it felt like to lose a brother but my mom lost her son and to watch how my mother one of the strongest go happy person you could ever meet has become the shell of a woman I know and admire and I’m not half the woman my mother is and that been a huge fear on my mind of late is how I could go on and move on

  9. I’m afraid of failure. That includes criticism. It’s so difficult to share my writing with the world, knowing that even though many may love it, some people will hate it and get downright cruel about it.

    -Charity

  10. I have a hard time with face to face confrontations like job reviews or discussions with my boss about a problem at work. Even if it’s no big deal, I get teary pretty easily.

  11. No issue with public speaking. I was a teacher and taught big lectures. I am scared of thunder and lightning! Also terrified of tripping UP the stairs and cracking a tooth. I don’t know how I developed such an oddly specific phobia but the wooden stairs coming from our basement growing up probably played heavily into that.

  12. Oh, dear, I think this is now the second week I’ve missed. 😦 I’ll answer anyway! I am not afraid of public speaking, good since I plan on becoming a teacher. But I am afraid of talking to men… At the ripe old age of 21 (said mainly in sarcasm) I have never been on a date. I’m not exactly gorgeous and my major in college didn’t have many guys in them so I never really caught anyone’s attention. So now I figure I’ll have to approach a guy one day if I ever want to date. *shudder* Makes me nervous…

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