Category Archives: JM Paquette

Author Spotlight: JM Paquette

I thought it would be fun for you the reader to learn a little about each of our authors.

So for June I introduce you to JM Paquette.

JM Paquette writes cheesy vampire romance novels filled with action, adventure, intrigue, and sometimes slightly steamy sex scenes. She enjoys alliteration and puns of all kinds.

Jen has her first full length novel in: Klauden’s Ring.

When Hannah van Kreeosk fled from her father’s castle and all of the expectations of being First Daughter, she thought that finding a willing meal would be the worst of her problems. A natural born vampire, she never expected an attack that would leave her wounded and in need of protection. Traveling with the handsome elven warrior Rory Tallerin proves a tempting way to spend her time. Unfortunately, Hannah’s father isn’t quite done with her, and not everyone in Rory’s little band of survivors is what they appear to be. Between running from goblins and her father’s dedicated magician, the last thing Hannah needs is another knife in her back. The conflict in her heart, however, may prove to be the more troubling wound. When forced to choose between the overwhelming demands of her body and the foolishly sentimental desire in her heart, Hannah must discover her true nature.

She has also contributed several stories in the annual Ink Slinger’s Guild Anthologies found here.

You can follow JM at the below links:

Twitter: @authorjmp

Website: http://www.jmpaquette.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorjmpaquette

And of course you can always submit a story starter and you might be lucky enough to have JM Paquette be your author!

 

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Representatives and Tyrants by JM Paquette

For Joe Trangata

“If we could solve the problems of all people’s troubles, you can go home again, but you might have to solve a crime.”

The crowd laughed appreciatively at the baron’s joke, and Josephine tried to hide her annoyance.

“Well, that’s a lovely sentiment for a novel,” Josephine smiled, playing to the audience both in the throne room and watching remotely through the magic mirrors at home, “but do you mean to release her?” She looked at the baron, her expression trying to show him that the time for banter was gone, that serious decisions must be made now. She looked back at the hunched form of the girl in the defendant’s box. “This girl has been ripped from her time and place.” She paused to let that sink in, waiting for the low murmuring of the courtiers to quiet. “Wrongfully taken to our world.”

She turned away from the baron then, addressing the crowd. It wasn’t up to them, not at all, but their reaction would likely sway the regent. “She has no knowledge of our customs,” she told the eager viewers, some of whom began to nod in agreement. “She does not speak our language. She likely has no understanding of what has happened to her. We all know how dangerous magic can be to the outsiders.” The girl began to shudder a little, hiding her face in her long blonde hair.

Right on cue, Josephine noted. Good girl. “The only decent thing to do is to send her back where she came from as soon as possible.”

She turned back to the baron, noting the slight annoyance on his face, and felt the heat rise in his chest. Baron Genshaft did not do well with annoyance. Josephine tried not to look up at the walls of the chamber. She didn’t need to see the former representatives who had displeased the lord, faces frozen in agony in their respective magical prisons, trapped until the Baron chose to release them. Occasionally, on a particularly uneventful day, the Baron would release one, listen to the blubbering and pleading for a time, and then kill them. It was a fine line to walk, representing those who were brought before his throne. She wanted to please her ruler, mostly because she enjoyed being alive, but she also had an obligation to her clients. Some of them deserved the punishment, no doubt, but not this one.

The girl had come over by mistake, stumbled through a door and been picked up by one of the palace’s trackers. They came through like that every now and then. It was her job to represent them, to speak for them. Sometimes, Baron Genshaft let them go without a fight, bored by the question. Sometimes he kept them for a while, to play with. And sometimes he killed them right there in the throne room.

Josephine had coached the girl as best as she could, using the limited language the spell gave her: Keep your head down. Don’t challenge him in any way. Don’t look like you even know what’s going on. If you’re clueless, you’re no fun. He’ll be bored and let you go.

As she waited for the verdict, Josephine hoped she was right this time.

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Company Retreat by JM Paquette

For Dan Neuman

“I’m too fat for this.  What we need here is an action hero, not a bank manager,” Stan muttered as he surveyed the obstacle course before him.

The company retreat had sounded like such a good idea—team building, trust exercises, all that stuff that the consultants said was so lacking at Barnett Bank and Trust. And all those things were great, he had thought, for his team. They really needed to learn to work together. Hell, he had convinced the Board that the retreat was not only necessary, but would positively impact their bottom line!

He never thought that the Board meant for him to join his team in these ridiculous exercises. Staring out across the rope bridge now, Stan knew he had made a terrible mistake. It was one thing to put on the sweatpants and sneakers, to show up with smiles and encouragement and cheer everyone on as they strengthened ties with one another; it was another to actually complete an obstacle course that had clearly been designed for Marine training. The rope bridge was almost twenty feet off the ground! Stan’s vision went gray at the edges as he considered the drop.

And even if he made it across the damn bridge, there was a wooden wall to climb, an actual wall with knobs for handholds as if he could actually climb anything. His resume had a lot to say about bottom lines and cash flow returns, but he had never wanted to actually climb Mount Everest or anything. He left that kind of adventuring to the heroes. He just stayed in his comfortable office and counted the money (insurance policies on extreme sports were a new revenue stream he had developed).

A hand touched Stan’s shoulder, small, but strong and reassuring. “Come on, Mr. Johnson,” Sally Sampson, drive-thru teller, said, face flushed with excitement as she took in the bridge before them. “I won’t let you fall.”

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Hardy’s Pants by JM Paquette

Also for Cliff, but an entirely different genre!

“I have only one question: where did I get these pants?”

The room had fallen silent when the magic went off, people glancing around nervously to see the damage. Sometimes the magic waves did nothing at all; sometimes, there was a lot of blood to clean up. Kitsen looked down at his clothes again, trying to decide if it was only his clothing that has been swapped out, or if the constricting material about his waist and chest was a sign of worse damage. He looked quickly at Nell, with whom he had been reciting the plan a few moments before. She didn’t look horrified, so that was a good sign.

“So, the girl is in the tower?” Fred volunteered helpfully, the young man clearly trying to get the conversation back on track. The rest of the men looked casually away from Kitsen, trying to ignore the magic as much as they could. A man in the back of the room had fallen over and had not gotten back up. No one was willing to touch him and see.

Kitsen nodded distractedly, cautiously pulling at his new outfit, hand reaching up to touch a new earring. “That’s the information I received,” he said, thoughts of glory and rescue and spires and princesses fading as he realized that the clothes he was now wearing were actually starting to affect his breathing. “I can show you…” he paused, trying to catch his breath. “In a moment,” he finished.

“Nell,” he gestured to the woman standing closest to him, “a little help here?” She acquiesced without a word, but her face was slowly turning red, color creeping up from her neck and ears to her cheeks as she took in the amount of bare flesh revealed by the gaps in his new outfit. He stepped towards her, the circle of eager male faces moving aside as he dealt with this newest magical inconvenience.

A quick snap of her blade and the shirt came free. She moved as if to repeat the motion for his pants, but he grabbed her wrist. “I’ve got this part,” he insisted, taking the blade and slicing the material free. As they fell to the floor in a pile of linen, he saw a name carefully written on what remained of the waistband: HARDY.

He thought for a moment, running the name through his memory. He couldn’t recall ever knowing anyone named Hardy, so that was a bit of a relief. Wherever this Hardy was after the magic wave, Kitsen didn’t have to worry about him. Though he spared a thought for the small naked man who must be out there somewhere–maybe he had been covered in Kitsen’s clothes.

“My clothes,” he muttered, annoyance bubbling up at the loss of a perfectly good shirt and pants. The material was new and sturdy and comfortable–and it wasn’t so easy to get good clothes these days, especially for someone as tall as he was. He reached a hand absently for his pocket, trying to touch the reassuring bulge that had occupied his front pocket for the last six days.

He froze as his hand touched bare skin, not registering the shapeless cloak that Nell was holding out in his direction.

The map was gone. How were they supposed to rescue the princess without the freaking map?

Frantic, he knelt and picked up the pants on the floor, shaking them out. A folded piece of faded parchment fell out of a pocket. He lifted it gently, opening it carefully and examined the marks on the inside.

It was still a map.

Hatchmarks were clearly mountains, and Kitsen recognized the Vanya Mountain range to the north. The X marked a cave, and there was a stylized dragon along the side, tail curling around a pile of what appeared to be gold and jewels, smoke rising in long swirls from its huge maw.

“It’s a treasure map,” he whispered, eyes meeting Nell’s, offered cloak and previous embarrassment forgotten.

Nell smiled, a real smile, but then her face grew serious again. “What about the princess?”

“Screw the princess,” Kitsen said, standing up, wrapping the cloak around himself, and tucking the map into a small pocket sewn into the inside. He turned to address the room.

“Hey guys, who wants to go kill a dragon?”

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Parachute Pants by JM Paquette

For Cliff, Escalator Extraordinaire, a story about some pants.

“I only have one question: where did I get these pants?” Robert scanned the room lazily, taking in the two armed goons standing to either side of the door, the boss man casually seated behind the executive desk, the open windows that were only slightly too high for him to easily survive a normal jump to the ground far below, and finally to his own lower half–the red poofy pants clearly not the ones he had worn in the bar when he had allowed them to capture him.

When no one said anything, Robert gestured to himself, tone mocking as he chuckled, “Seriously? Did you raid MC Hammer’s wardrobe for these things?” He caught the ghost of a smile on one of the guard’s faces, gone before he could really register it as an expression, but he knew it had been there. He still spoke to the room, but directing his words slightly more specifically to the man at the door. “Come on, guys. If this is really my last moment alive, I’d hate to die wearing ridiculous pants. What happened to my clothes?” He grinned, then added, “And which one of you guys undressed me?” He eyed the guard, who was now actively trying to stifle an expression. “Was it you, tough guy?” He turned his attention to the boss man still sitting behind the desk. “I know you’ve been trying to get me naked for years.” He pulled at the pants, the material stretching in his fingers. The pants definitely had a lot of room in them to move. That was good. He would need that soon. “Are these your pants?” he asked, stepping forward to lean against the desk. He saw the boss man’s eyes flicker away from his face to his waist as Robert pressed himself against the worn wood, the most response he had seen from the man since he had been brought to this room.

“Wait,” Robert said, nodding as if he had suddenly figured it all out. “I remember now.” He leaned down to peer into the boss man’s face. “It was your daughter. She has been trying to get me naked almost as long as you have.”

The boss man’s eyes narrowed at the insult, and Robert grinned, knowing he had finally found the right spot. “Did she tell you about it?” he jeered. “Did she like what she saw?” He looked around the room, nodding at the guards. “I don’t mind, you know.” He sat up straighter, sure to flex the muscles in his chest. “I like to give every now and then, charity, of course. Poor girl can’t get laid without drugging men in bars and dragging them back to her father’s place–”

Robert didn’t see the exact signal the boss man gave to his goons, but the two soldiers  at the door moved as one, swinging automatic weapons into practiced hands. Robert hadn’t spent the last ten years training for no reason–he dove to the side of the desk, feet coming under him in a perfect crouch as bullets sprayed the wall and the window, glass shattering and shards of wood sprinkling his head and shoulders. With barely a pause, he redirected to scoot behind the desk, crashing into the boss man’s legs  just as the barely trained goons continued their barrage to follow Robert, canvassing the back of the room with gunfire.

Robert felt the jerk as the boss man took a few bullets before he fell, but not enough to end him. He landed with a heavy thump on the floor behind the desk, and Robert ignored him, reaching under the desk to find the handgun he knew was secured just underneath. The cold feel of steel was reassuring, even though he knew it would be there–he’d seen the glint of metal the first time the boss man’s daughter had dragged him into this room to have her way with him on her father’s desk. He’d been undercover then, scoping out his future target, and she had been a lovely bonus, moreso since he used the unexpected encounter to plan his final strategy. The rest had been so very easy.

The two goons stopped firing when they realized they had shot their boss, and Robert wasted no time, jerking up on one knee and popping two deadly shots with the handgun over the desk. The two goons fell without a cry, but the sudden silence echoed in Robert’s ears. A grunt from behind him caught his attention, and he turned to look at the boss man, who now lay clutching his wounded thigh with both hands.

Robert considered the red stain spreading across the khaki from beneath his fingers and looked down at his own ridiculous pants. There was nothing for it then. He finished the job with a quick final shot, then shoved the handgun into his roomy waistband.

He moved to the window, calculating the distance to the ground. Perhaps the pants would soften the impact a little bit; after all, they were called parachute pants.

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The Short Story by JM Paquette

For Carlos Hoegg–

“It was a dark and stormy night……sigh.”

Lieutenant John Baker put the paper down, took off his glasses, and rubbed his eyes. His wife had insisted that teaching the creative writing class on Thursday nights was a great idea. He would get to interact with people who weren’t soldiers. He would get to talk about the written word again. He would rekindle the passion he had back in college, before the draft, before the war, before the world had gone crazy.

She hadn’t mentioned that he would have to plod his way through drivel that he would have been embarrassed to write back in middle school.

He sniffed, putting his glasses back on, determined to get through the stack of stories before him. They weren’t all bad. Some were actually quite good–inventive characters, clever dialogue, snappy pacing–all the things his degree had insisted were important when crafting fiction. But those classes seemed so far away now.

Reading these stories was a release, a break from the daily onslaught of reports from the field, some much needed creativity in a world that craved its former innocence. He envied the youth of his students, longed for their optimism, but knew that in a few years, they too would have to serve. The war wasn’t going well. Soldiers were needed again, and soon the recruiters wouldn’t be so picky. Warm bodies in the seats could be trained to enter the right commands to make the drones work.

He thought of his students, those fresh-faced boys and girls peering into the vidscreens, watching as skirmishes spiraled into battles–battles they could not win. They deserved more, he thought, more than the bleak days ahead. He was supposed to be encouraging their creativity. That sense of wonder, that fresh perspective was what they needed if they were ever going to win this thing. If he had to dredge through some trite plotlines to get them to that creative place, so be it. Everyone had to start somewhere.

He turned his attention back to the paper on his desk. And sighed. The “dark and stormy night” line was truly cliche. He thought he had focused an entire lecture on cliches and used that one as an example of what not to do. He dove in, hoping to find something more than an unusual event on a rainy night.

It was a dark and stormy night when the man sat reading papers at his desk. The hour was late, but the man was determined to finish reading.

A flash of lightning burst through the window, followed by the pounding of sudden rain. The low roll of thunder echoed in the Lieutenant’s teeth. He looked out the window, then back at the paper. That is odd. He’d collected these essays two days ago. There hadn’t been rain in the forecast. He turned back to the story.

The man knew that the war was useless, but he couldn’t keep himself from trying. There was nothing else to do.

The Lieutenant sat up in his chair, reached for the cold cup of coffee sitting abandoned on the desk, took a sip, and refocused on the page in front of him. The words were still there, little black hatch marks stark against the white paper. It isn’t possible. The civilians don’t know how badly the war is going.

As he took a sip of his cold coffee, he reassured himself that nothing was out of the ordinary. Lightning flashed outside, and the jolt startled him. He knocked the coffee cup over, spilling cold coffee all over the stack of papers.

Light flashed again outside the window, and it made the Lieutenant jump, hand carelessly knocking over his mug. He stared at the liquid soaking into the stack of papers. No. This is not possible.

Distracted by his accident, the Lieutenant didn’t hear the sound of the door opening, the soft sound of the enemy’s footstep covered by the echoes the rain outside. But he did notice the barrel of the gun when it pressed against his temple.

Lieutenant John Baker froze, sweat beading on his upper lip, as the cold metal ring of the weapon pressed against his skin. This is how it ends, he thought.

After the sound of the gunshot faded into the thunder of the storm, a delicate hand reached out and picked up the paper. Curious eyes scanned the last few lines.

This is how it ends, the Lieutenant thought, and then the trigger was pulled. The sound echoed loudly in the small room, but soon faded into the rain. The shooter noticed something on the desk, a paper that the Lieutenant had been reading, something so absorbing that he had not even noticed the door creaking open. As the suddenly nervous eyes scanned the page, a voice spoke in the silence.

The hands holding the paper began to tremble.

“It was a dark and stormy night,” a voice began.

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The Red Glow by JM Paquette

For Lisa Barry

 

“When did you start eating pickles?”

Micah asked, face dim in the reflected glare from the street light on the corner.

Talia closed her mouth, bit her lip, and glared at him. “When did you start being an idiot?” she retorted.

“I must be an idiot,” he moaned, pressing his body against the side of the house. “I’m here with you.”

Talia gave him her sweetest smile. “You know you love it,” she told him, then peeked around the corner. No one waited in the backyard of the house. She could see the shape of the loons perched on the wires leading to the street, but they were silent now. The birds only echoed noises they heard anyway. She and Micah had been quiet, and once they slipped back there, even the light from the street wouldn’t hit them. “Come on,” she waved, and stepped quickly into the shadows behind the house. She felt Micah come up behind her, his hands pressing against her shoulders as he lost the light.

“Hold on to me,” she told him. “The stairs are right over here.”

“This is a bad idea,” Micah complained in her ear.

“Shut up,” she told him. “I know how to get in to my old house. It’s fine.”

“Key word there, sweetheart,” he whispered, fingers tightening as she took a few steps, “Old house. You don’t live here anymore.”

“No, I don’t, but I still know my way around.”

“I don’t doubt it,” he continued. “What I do doubt is that we should be here at all.”

Talia groaned as they reached the concrete pad that marked the bottom of the back stairwell. The window into the basement never locked properly. When she had lived here all those months, this was her way inside if she forgot her keys. She doubted the new owners had noticed it yet. She had only discovered it out of desperation one day, locked out of the house with hours to wait until anyone she knew would be done with school or work to come rescue her.

“Why are we doing this?” Micah asked, staying put while she hunkered down near the window, hands feeling for the right grip.

“I have to know what it is,” she said simply, wishing she could explain better than that.

“It’s a stupid lamp,” Micah insisted. “That’s what you see through the window. A friggin’ red lamp.”

“Who the hell has only a red lamp?” she asked, thinking of the red glow she could see emanating from the kitchen window. She saw it every night as she walked to the new place, the same glow, with the rest of the house shrouded in darkness–not even the porch lights were on, and this was a neighborhood where everyone kept on their lights at night. “It’s the only light that is ever on in this place. And what about the person who lives here now? Have you ever seen him?” She paused, “Or her?”

Micah shook his head, his shadow a dark blur of motion in the darkness. “No, I haven’t. You know why? Because I don’t care. You don’t live here anymore, Talia. Why do you care so much?”

“I have to know,” she said again. “Haven’t you ever wanted to know what your old house looks like after new people move in?”

“Ummm…no,” Micah said decisively.

“Seriously?” she asked. “Strangers living in the rooms you used to live in? You don’t wonder where they put the bed or the couch or the tv?”

“You are crazy,” he scoffed. “Absolutely nuts.”

“Maybe. But I want to see.” She found the bottom of the window and started to slide the glass up. There was no resistance.

“Ok,” he relented, “I get it. You’re curious. But this is called breaking and entering.”

“No one’s even home,” she insisted, settling the window into place. “Are you coming?”

She ducked inside.

Micah groaned, thought of the sex he would never have again if he didn’t follow, and knelt by the window. He could see Talia’s shadow in the basement, her silhouette outlined by a dim red glow that seeped through the gap at the bottom of the basement door.

That was one serious red lamp.

He climbed in carefully, not making any noise, and followed her up the stairs. He managed to get a good look up her short cheerleader’s skirt as she walked, and he was still staring at her backside when she turned around to face him at the top. She rolled her eyes at him, then gestured at the door.

Micah shrugged. In for a penny, he thought, and reached for the door knob.


Outside, a loon screamed.

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