Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Question of the Week - Crimes

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If you could commit a crime with the guarantee that you wouldn't get caught, what crime would you commit?

Honestly, being a Catholic, I'm not sure I could live with the guilt of committing a crime.

Leap into Books Giveaway

Happy Leap Year! 

On to the giveaway!

Since I gave birth on Friday (I'll go into more details about that tomorrow), I'm in a very generous mood so I'm giving away my Kingdom of Arnhem trilogy in PDF format! To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.

Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.

The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.

Sir Geoffrey, along with some companions, has been sent away from Arnhem, entrusted by Queen Aislinn for a special mission, and has to leave behind the mysterious lady Celestia. On his journey, he uncovers seeds of a sinister plot, learns a horrible secret, and makes a new friend in exile Jenanna.

Their mission completed, Geoffrey and his companions rush to two different kingdoms to ask for aid. Danger and betrayal lurks around every corner, and even allies have secrets that could prove deadly. Geoffrey's feelings for Celestia grow and wane. After learning some of Celestia's secrets, he begins to have second thoughts about his love for her and is even drawn to Jenanna.

Rumors abound that the Speicans have enlisted a mage of their own, to work unspeakable, forbidden magic. The war between Speica and Arnhem has just begun. Will Geoffrey survive the battle to live another day and discover which woman he truly loves?

The Mystical Conch Shell of the Sea has been stolen, and it's up to Selliki, the selkie, to get it back. Selliki sets across the continent of Alethereia to find Arnhem, and Gabrael, the mage she loves. Selliki knows that no union between a selkie and a human have ever had a happy ending, but neither can ignore their feelings. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is.

The final war between Speica and Arnhem is threatening the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Speica and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, cowardice is revealed, promises are broken, and many people die. Trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn't end.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Catch Fire Blog Party

Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh! The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s site for details:

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can visit:
the author’s site 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Blog with Kenya Wright - How to Create a Well-imagined Fantasy World

Creating an urban fantasy world can be extremely fun. There are so many paths and possibilities. Granted, a lot of this information will probably not be included in the book, but it will be in your mind as you write your story.  Sometimes the process of creating the world changes or expands the story.  Here are the three concepts I believe all authors should consider when they create their world.

                Whether you have made a new species or not, I believe it is important to think about how your species developed. One example of this is vampires. How did your vampires come to be?  This popular species offers a wealth of potential that an author can use or revise. Some authors have utilized Christianity to explain their vampires’ existence by saying that the species is Cain and Lilith’s children. Other’s have explained the species through magic.
                In my book Fire Baptized, vampires were formed when demons bit humans and infected them with a virus. This is one of the many reasons why humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Additionally every species in my world has their own story of evolution. My fairies created shapeshifters by experimenting with human and animal genes. My pixies began as small magical organisms within the fairy realm that was accidentally transported by several trolls. Most of this information is not in the story, but these details formed the plot and characters.
                Obviously, your characters will speak English, but are there different dialects? If you have many magical creatures do they all speak English? Consider assigning your species foreign languages. Perhaps, the werewolves in your story are all from Spain, and the elves are from South Africa.  Furthermore, you can invent a language or dialect for certain groups. Maybe your mermaids put the verb at the end of the sentence, when they talk. I believe an author should have fun with this and push the limits of their imagination. However, the new language should be close enough to English so that the reader can understand what the characters are saying.
                In Fire Baptized, there are a group of shapeshifters called Rebels. They are revolutionaries that protest the humans for putting them in caged cities. They have chosen to reject everything that is similar to human culture; therefore they established their own dialect, coined Lib Lib. Instead of “I”, they say “me.”  There are a lot of other differences between Lib Lib and English. In order for the reader to understand what the Rebel characters are saying, I have another character present in the scene that is not familiar with the dialect and requires a translation. This way, the reader knows what is happening within the story.

                Every magical group within your world should have their own beliefs, values, religions, arts, etc. You can create your own culture for each species or you can use the many cultures that exist or have existed within our world.  
                Most of my supernatural groups’ beliefs and values are based on Afro-Cuban culture which is a combination of African and other cultural elements found in Cuban society. The caged city that my supernaturals live in is called Santeria. The Santeria religion originated in West Africa and was imported to the Caribbean by African slaves that later merged many of the beliefs with Christianity. This religion is practiced in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Columbia, and so on.
                I spent several months researching the religion and used what I learned to created Fire Baptized’s world. My entire caged city is divided into five districts. Each district is themed after a Santeria god or goddess’s colors, powers, and animals. Throughout the book, my characters are involved with festivals that are traditionally celebrated by Santeria practitioners. Additionally, my mystery plot was derived from the religion.

                In conclusion, authors should push the limits of reality during the world building process. Taking the time to consider your characters’ evolution, languages, and cultures is what will separate a well-imagined story from another one riddled with cliché and seen before settings.

Here’s a mini excerpt of Fire Baptized displaying how I used the Afro-Cuban culture to create my world.
The rush of wind lessened to a breeze. I opened my eyes and peeked over his shoulder as we turned out of Shango District. The habitat was divided into five districts. Each district was named and themed after a popular Santeria god. I lived in Shango’s flaming orange district. Zulu lived in Yemaya.
We entered the sapphire gates of Yemaya. A life-size statue of the goddess stood near the entrance, carved from spelled ice that could not melt. It shimmered in the moonlight, giving the effect of wavering liquid. Blue and white flowers lounged at her sandaled feet.
Even though it was in the middle of the night, Supernaturals kneeled in front of her, chanting. Their voices rose above the jeweled gates. Teal silk robes covered them. Cowrie shells, dyed in blue ink, draped around their necks. Gone was Shango District’s smell of death and blood, poverty and depression. The soothing scent of the sea hovered in the air and seized me, stirring up memories of Orisha beach during the summer, salt on my tongue, sand between my toes, and the calming waves of the ocean pushing me forward.
I sighed.
“You’re lucky to live here,” I whispered. Zulu’s body tensed under my arms.
“Luck has nothing to do with it," he said as we stopped at a light. "It’s a way for my mom to pay me off. To make sure I don’t call her Mommy in front of her Pureblood friends.”

Fire Baptized Blurb:

Since the 1970’s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.
Lanore Vesta is marked with a silver X, the brand of Mixbreeds, second-class citizens shunned by society. She stays to herself, revealing her ability to create fire only during emergencies. All she wants to do is graduate college and stop having to steal to survive. But when she stumbles upon a murder in progress, she catches the attention of a supernatural killer. Now all she wants is to stop finding dead bodies in her apartment.
Enlisting help from her Were-cheetah ex-boyfriend Meshach and a new mysterious friend named Zulu, she is steered through the habitat’s raunchy nightlife. But their presence sometimes proves to be more burden than help, as they fight for her attention.   
While the corpses pile up, and the scent of blood fills the air, Lanore is left wondering: will she find the psycho or die trying?

Kenya Wright always knew she would be famous since the ripe old age of six when she sung the Michael Jackson thriller song in her bathroom mirror. She has tried her hand at many things from enlisting in the Navy for six years as a Persian-Farsi linguist to being a nude model at an art university.
However, writing has been the only constant love in her life.
Now Kenya is publishing her first book, Fire Baptized, the urban fantasy novel she always wanted to read. This novel is the first book in a series.
Will she succeed? Of course.
For she has been coined The Urban Fantasy Queen, the Super Iconic Writer of this Age, The Lyrical Genius of Our Generation. Granted, these are all terms coined by her, within the private walls of her bathroom as she still sings the Michael Jackson thriller song.
Kenya Wright currently resides in Miami with her three amazing, overactive children, a supportive, gorgeous husband, and three cool black cats that refuse to stop sleeping on Kenya’s head at night.


Kenya will be giving away a $10 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour so be sure to leave a comment!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alien Zombies - Guest Post with Aubrie Dionne

Alien Zombies

Yes, you heard it right: aliens and zombies (two of my favorite things) combined. I wanted to write a zombie book, but I didn’t want it to be like all the other ones out there, with decaying humans eating people’s brains. I wanted to put my own twist on it, make the zombies original in a way that made sense with my sci fi world. This is how A Hero Rising came about. 

So, I came up with Morpheus, a substance gleaned from minerals mined on the moon. In A Hero Rising, resources on Earth are used up, so scientists send giant lunar freighters to the moon. Sure, it’s a great source of minerals, but little do they know an alien virus resides deep within the rocks. Exposure to this virus will not only give you superhuman speed, but will make you want to kill and transform you into a creature from another world.

This is the main reason for the fall of Old Earth. Sure, overpopulation has eaten away at dwindling resources, but it’s the outbreak that’s the last straw. In an attempt to keep the virus under control, the World Coalition bombs entire cities, and everyone who’s anyone has a ticket on a colony ship.

But, what if you were left behind?

Aubrie Dionne
Romantic Science Fiction and Fantasy
Get Swept Away to Other Worlds...

Tundra 37
A New Dawn, #2
Author: Aubrie Dionne
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Length: 288 pages
Release Date: February 2012
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-49-7
Print ISBN: 978-1-937044-51-0

Amazon               Barnes and Noble

Tundra 37 Book Trailer:

A New Dawn Novel, Book Two
Gemme is a hi-tech matchmaker who pairs the next generation of Lifers aboard the Expedition, a deep space transport vessel destined for Paradise 18. When the identity of her lifemate pops up on her screen, she’s shocked that he’s the achingly gorgeous and highly sought after Lieutenant Miles Brentwood—a man oblivious to her existence. Believing everyone will think she contrived the match, she erases it from the computer’s memory.
Just as comets pummel the ship and destroy the pairing system forever.
With the Expedition disabled, the colonists must crash land on the barren ice world of Tundra 37 where Gemme is reassigned to an exploratory mission, led by Lieutenant Brentwood. Only in the frozen tundra does she understand the shape of his heart and why the computer has entwined their destinies.

A Hero Rising
A New Dawn, #3
Author: Aubrie Dionne
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Length: novella
Release Date: February 2012
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-83-1

Prequel to A New Dawn - Book Three
After watching his love leave on a colony ship, James Wilfred must save those left behind from a planetary apocalypse. Their salvation lies in an unfinished ship tucked away in a secret government base, and only James can break in and pilot him and his people to freedom on a nearby space station.
Skye O’Connor’s boyfriend never returns after his gang attempts an assassination of the Governor, and the State Building is destroyed. Worse, crazed moonshiners addicted to the chemical Morpheus have stormed the city, and she must find a safe place for her and her boyfriend’s daughter. When a heroic man saves her, Skye asks to accompany him on his quest to find the last colony ship left on Earth.
As the city falls around them, James and Skye must work together to build a new future, all the while rediscovering their ability to love, before the apocalypse claims them both.

About the Author:

Aubrie is an author and flutist in New England. Her stories have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, A Fly in Amber, and several print anthologies including Skulls and Crossbones by Minddancer Press, Rise of the Necromancers, by Pill Hill Press, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night by Nightbird Publishing, Dragontales and Mertales by Wyvern Publications, A Yuletide Wish by Nightwolf Publications, and Aurora Rising by Aurora Wolf Publications.  Her epic fantasy is published with Wyvern Publications, and several of her ebooks are published with Lyrical Press and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, she plays in orchestras and teaches flute at Plymouth State University and a community music school.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Question of the Week - Happiness and Tears

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Have you ever been so happy you cried?

I have. When my then boyfriend proposed to me, I got teary eyed. Again on our wedding day. The first time I held son #1 and then son #2. I'm sure I will for baby #3. So I guess some of the major milestones in my life I've been so happy I cried.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekly Progress Report - Editing and No Baby (Yet)

I already stopped editing for the publishers that I work for which has freed up a bunch of time for me to edit some of my own stories. I received awesome feedback from beta readers and am incorporating their feedback into the different stories. It's a little scary to be almost ready to start querying again. Scary but also exciting.

In other news - no baby yet. My due date came and went yesterday but it wasn't without some bumps. A little after noon yesterday, I realized I hadn't felt baby #3 move. At all. Which was so so scary considering that baby #3 is by far the most active. I called the doctor's office, they sent me to triage and hooked me up to the monitor. The heartbeat was good and strong and they checked the fluid level. Everything looked good so they sent me home. I'm ready for baby #3 to come into the world. Here's hoping my body is soon too.

How goes your writing? Your reading? Seen any good movies lately? What have you been up to? Aren't great beta readers awesome?

Check out some other great progress reports this week:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Creature of the Week - Aliens and Their Creatures - Guest Blog with Cherie Reich

Hello, everyone! Nicole has a great creature feature on her blog, and I’ve decided to talk about the creatures from Medusa and Persea in my space fantasy romance Defying Gravity.
 I suppose the first and main creatures are the aliens.

Perseans are from Persea. They have varying shades of blue skin, yellow eyes, and blond hair. On top of their head, they have antennae that detect their moods and can even blush. All Perseans wear a collar with a blue gemstone that regulates their electrical energy. Linia, the female lead, is a Persean.

Medusans are from Medusa. Their flesh is more normal in colors to most humans. Their hair appears like dreadlocks that writhe like snakes around their heads. They usually have thinner facial features (nose and lips), and their eyes are always green. They have a secret third eyelid over their eyes that protects creatures from their infamous Medusan stare. Oh, and we can’t forget their forked tongues. They also heal very quickly. Alezandros, the male lead, is a Medusan.

Persea is a vibrant and verdant planet and has many unusual creatures. These creatures include:

Pegasifly – a small winged horse-like insect known for its sharp bite.
Trorc – an ugly, rather stupid creature that is half-troll and half-orc.
Draken – A feather-coated dragon that can fly and breathe fire.
Fluffter – A furball of an animal, about the size of a small dog. They are often used as pets, but wild fluffters do exist.
Rabbix – This creature has the body form of a rabbit, but its tail is fox-like, and it has a fox’s sharp teeth. Rabbixes are very wild and often vicious and sneaky creatures.
Slithering – The Persean word for “snake.” They come in various colors, like black. One of the more venomous ones is the red and white electric slithering.

Medusa is a dying planet. Very few creatures still exist, except for the few that live underground or hibernate for long times. Their creatures include:
Giant Bulltoad – A toad-like creature about the size of a small dog.
Slog – Half-sloth, half-slug, it is a furry creature that uses its belly to get around. They are slow creatures known for hibernating for many years.

It’s always fun to create new creatures. If you’re a writer, have you ever created a new creature? As readers, what are some of your favorite creatures?

We’re also giving away a copy of Defying Gravity and a first chapter critique (I’ve been a freelance editor since 2010). Nicole will fill you in on the details.

Thanks for having me!


Defying Gravity by Cherie Reich

Book Description: Homesick upon the SS Perseid, Linia, a young linguist, thinks she signed up for a mission of peace, but her crew members have another plan: attack the planet Medusa.

Bored with his dying planet, Alezandros, a space cruiser pilot, joins the Medusan Army in his quest for adventure.

When the SS Perseid clashes with the Medusans’ space cruisers, Alezandros and Linia’s lives intertwine. Sucked through a wormhole, they crash upon a post-apocalyptic Earth and are captured by cannibals. In adjacent cells, Alezandros and Linia cast their differences aside for a common bond: escape. But when romantic feelings emerge between them, they might do the unthinkable because for a Medusan and a Persean to fall in love, it would defy gravity.

Book Links: 

Author Bio: Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor and library assistant. She enjoys writing horror, fantasy, and mysteries, but she doesn’t let that stop her from trying other genres. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her e-books include Once Upon a December Nightmare, The Best of Raven and the Writing Desk, and Defying Gravity. She is a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Valley Writers and placed third in Roanoke Valley’s BIG READ writing contest.

Author Links:   

Twitter @bookworm0753 

To enter Cherie's contest, follow Cherie's blog or twitter account and leave a comment stating which prize you would rather win - it's ok to say both!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review - NanoStyle’s Valentine’s Day Jewelry

NanoStyle’s Valentines Day Jewelry

I recently came across  NanoStyle is the first, and only jewelry company to imprint 24kt gold words, verses and symbols onto cubic zirconia jewelry and onyx stones.

I received the I LOVE YOU in 120 LANGUAGES ONYX PENDANT, a black onyx stone in a silver setting on a 45cm silver chain……..
NanoStyle sends along a little magnifying glass so you can read “I Love You” in 120 different languages. How romantic is that? I was very impressed by the quality of the pendant. It's beautiful and I love wearing it.

Visit NanoStyles site to see all their pendants, also be sure to visit their Facebook and Twitter pages, for more information.  There is everything from religious images and phrases to Zodiac signs, there is definitely something for everyone!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Jamie Ayres is having a contest. From her blog:

If you’d like to participate, then please email me at by 5pm tomorrow & post the first page of your manuscript on YOUR blog. I will compile a list of the participating blogs and post them here tomorrow. That way, everyone can hop around and post constructive feedback on each others first page. I will randomly draw five names to receive a personal critique from Heather (Burch). I’ll announce those winners tomorrow on my blog and then contact you with instructions. Also, I  will personally visit everyone’s blog to comment and will keep a tally on who is leaving the most helpful comments for others:) That person’s reward will be a mailed copy of Heather’s book (Halflings) *can I get a woot, woot* I’ll announce that winner on my regular blog next Wednesday.

Here is the first page of my MG fantasy adventure, THE PRINCESS'S TREASURE HUNT:

Princess Cassandra accidentally stabbed herself with her sewing needle. She glared at it and shoved her thumb into her mouth so she wouldn't get any blood on the fabric. Lady Bethany would have a fit if that happened.

She risked a glance outside the large peak-shaped window. The sun shone down from the height of its journey, and Cassandra wanted nothing more than to throw aside the stupid patchwork and run down to the stable to fetch a horse. Not that Philip, the nasty stableman, would let her ride one. After the incident two months ago, Cassandra was banned from horseback riding, and Philip told that he would lose more than just his job if it was found out that he had aided her.

Cassandra sighed and glanced around at the other ladies in the small sewing room.

"Is something wrong, princess?" Lady Bethany asked. With a sharp nose and sharper eyes, Lady Bethany, her tutor in ladylike graces, had an awful habit of knowing when Cassandra was plotting some fun.

"No, nothing's wrong," the princess said.

"Then you better get back to practicing."

Crooked, shoddy, her handiwork simply wasn't presentable. Not for a maiden, certainly not for a princess. And she didn't care a whit.

"Actually, I am feeling a little under the weather," she lied, pressing her hand to her forehead.

Lady Bethany pursed her lips, and a crease formed between her eyes.

Lady Helen lowered her sewing project and smiled. "Go and lay down. We hope you'll feel well enough to join us at supper."


Any and all comments/critiques/thoughts/suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Question of the Week - Valentine's Day

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How was your Valentine's Day? Did you do anything special?

Hubby and I celebrated Valentine's Day early this year. My mom and siblings watched the boys  so hubby could surprise me with tickets to see a Broadway play in NYC on Sunday. We saw Seminar which is about four wannabe writers taking a writing seminar. The instructor was Alan Rickman. He did a phenomenal job. After the show, we were able to get all five cast members to sign our playbills. Now that was awesome. The show was a little too risque for my tastes but I was surprised by how much I laughed. It was a great trip.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crystal's Magic - "That's YAmore" Blogfest

I know I don't normally post on Saturdays but I thought the YAmore blogfest sounded like fun. All you have to do is post 250 romantic, swoon-worthy words from your YA WIP.

So here's my entry (it's a little under 250). It's a scene from Crystal's Magic. I hope you enjoy reading it!

“Where is this coming from?”

“Oh, get off it, Crystal. I saw how you were looking at him.”

“And why should you care?” she snapped. Vince was so infuriating! She liked him one minute and the next, she wanted to punch him.

“Of course I care, why wouldn’t I care? Haven’t you been listening to me at all today?”

“How do I know it’s not just because you’re jealous of Gavin?”

He shoved his hands into his pockets and stomped down the sidewalk. After a few steps, he stopped. “You coming?”

She said nothing but followed him.

When they reached her front door, he touched her arm. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t like me,” she guessed. “You just don’t want me to be friends with Gavin.”

“If I didn’t like you, would I do this?” He cupped her face and gently pressed his lips to hers.

Crystal stared at his closed eyes for a second before she shut hers. She puckered her lips, but he already pulled away.

He laughed softly. “You’ve never been kissed before.”

“Not really. Brian kissed me in the first grade but that doesn’t count.”

“No.” He tucked some of her hair behind her right ear. “Let’s try that again.”

This time, she puckered her lips and kissed back. It was sweet and tender and everything a first kiss should be, even if it really was their second.