The gorgeous banner that is my blog title was created by Kayden McLeod, using an image of Jimmy Thomas

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sneak Peek - 1-900-SURPRISE! #RomFantasy

1-900-SURPRISE!
Short, sexy contemporary with edge!

April 30th from Eirelander Publishing
- in eBook and Audio!

When her lover, Martin Fowler is called away to Washington and she can't go with him, Daniella LeBeaux is restless and edgy. Martin's older, worldly, and has a reputation that would make most women think twice about trusting him. Dani loves him, and trust is not what's making her anxious and edgy - lust and loneliness are combining with a little too much to drink. When the phone rings, and it's Martin, delayed again, he teaches her a new way to make love long-distance style.... but who's watching Dani? And is Martin really ready for the revenge his actions incite?

Excerpt:

An hour after her father had gone home, Martin called. He was, in fact, on his way back to New York. Despite the fact that she had an early call for rehearsals the next day, Daniella chose to wait up for him. It was approaching 2 AM now and he still wasn’t home. She glanced at the clock. Less than ten minutes had passed since her last check.

She had stopped drinking after her father had gone, taken a shower, and now she was sitting in the apartment with only candlelight and soft music for company. She smiled, unable to subdue the flutter of excitement in her stomach when she thought about seeing him walk into the apartment. She went to the window, staring at the street as if she could will the scarlet-colored Corvette to appear.

Her father’s visit, and the revelations he’d shared played through her mind again. It explained why Andrew had taken Martin on as a partner in the private investigations firm that was doing extremely well due to the talented men who ran it. To his credit, Martin had tried to dissuade Daniella’s interest in him, especially given her age. She’d been seventeen when they’d met, and her father’s disapproval of her infatuation with Martin had been vehement. Persuading either of them that her teenage crush was actually soul-deep love and adoration hadn’t been easy. By the time she was twenty-one, Martin had been convinced; it had taken more months than she cared to recall to make her father understand and accept it. But, it had finally happened, and she was happier than she’d ever been in her life. Most of the time.

The glitter of soft, dancing light from the flickering candle-flames sparkled on cut crystal and drew her gaze to the bar. She decided to have another drink, even knowing it was likely to be a bad idea come morning. She poured a healthy dose of the scotch Martin preferred, and then tried to settle into an armchair. She closed her eyes and let her head fall back against the plush cushion in an attempt to relax.

A single mouthful of the drink reminded her of the way it tasted on Martin’s lips. She let that image settle in her mind, smiling at the shiver that rippled through her. Martin was a stunning man, and she never tired of looking at him, or listening to him, or being in the same room with him.

He was tall, with dark brown hair, and equally dark eyes that dominated a strikingly contoured face. At forty, he was scarred emotionally and physically, but he was beauty incarnate to the woman who loved him. The image of his lean, muscular limbs, and her frequent cataloging of every gorgeous inch of him, made her tremble with longing.

She tossed back the remainder of her Scotch and slouched deeper into the chair erotic memories led her thoughts. The warmth of the liquor coursed through her, creating a flush on her skin that she knew would be visible had Martin been there to see it. She let herself be carried along on the alcohol-edged wave, and felt an undeniable rush of hungry desire when she thought about having Martin beside her in bed. The nights had been the hardest part of the separation—she’d been going to bed later and later over the past week in order to spend as few hours as possible sleeping alone.

She was still finding it difficult to believe just how much she missed him. The apartment was eerily quiet in the morning, and equally so when she came home. The evenings started driving her crazy within a few days. She was always wound up after the extended rehearsals, but that excess energy generally found an outlet in Martin’s arms.

Daniella abruptly cut off that train of thought by getting up to fix another drink, this time making it considerably larger than the previous one. A slow stroll back to the window revealed only darkness and an empty street below. It had rained earlier, and the scattered puddles created sporadic mirrors and reflected back the glare of streetlights and passing car headlights. An absent glance at her watch didn’t offer her any reassurance—he was nearly an hour late now. She forced down the threat of panic that wanted to blossom into a full-fledged fear and told herself that he was all right. His identity was protected and all precautions had been taken to ensure his safety. With her father in charge of that, she had no doubts at all about the quality of the security surrounding Fowler at all times.

Uncomfortable at the window, Daniella spun on her heel and dropped into the armchair again. About halfway to the bottom of this drink, memory steered her thoughts inexorably back to the bedroom she shared with Martin. The tension knotting her muscles was as much sexual as it was concern for his unexplained lateness, and the sudden ache between her thighs was more than enough to awaken her entire body with anticipation. Another gulp and the second Scotch was gone.

Daniella was beginning to feel a bit more relaxed again now that alcohol was dulling her perception but there was still an edge of panic lingering within her. She couldn’t help wondering if something had happened to Martin; he was never hours late without calling—a habit he was slowly drilling into Daniella as well. She looked at the glass in her hand, debating whether to refill it a third time. It was now almost three o’clock, and she decided to have the drink then go to bed—alone. She couldn’t suppress the flare of anger that shot through her at the prospect of another night in the huge bed without Martin. In her heart, she knew nothing serious had delayed him, which meant he simply hadn’t bothered to call.

Twenty minutes and a third drink later; Daniella was staring at the empty glass again. Her head felt pleasantly fuzzy.

Disappointment and annoyance kept her on an emotional seesaw...

April 30th from Eirelander Publishing - in eBook and Audio!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Price of Piracy and Theft #RomFantasy


First off, that image is for real–it hasn’t been Photo-shopped or messed with in any way. There was a time when I would never have shown anyone a cheque like that, I’d have been ashamed of it, figuring you’d all think my writing sucked so bad no one wanted to buy it. I’ve learned since that the real shame lies with every person who steals my hard-earned reward for the work I do and thinks nothing of it. I’m not alone in this, either–there are a lot of authors who are stepping up and stating they see similar cheques now, and many are getting so discouraged they are wondering if it’s even worth the effort to continue publishing books for thieves to steal.

Ironically, this cheque represents December sales–right in the middle of the Christmas gift giving season. The truth is, the publishing house this is from is a well-known one, and the books this represents have been the victim of piracy sites no less than six times in recent months. The count on one site alone stated that there were 5000 copies of these titles downloaded by pirate supporters. You see the result of all those stolen books, it’s there in black and white. It’s a damn good thing I don’t have a family counting on me to support them, because we’d be living in a cardboard box by now.

Most people don’t stop to think that when they grab that “free” book they’re stealing from the creator of the book.  After all, it’s just one little book, right? All those one little books add up, though, and this is the result of it. So, for the titles I spent a couple hundred dollars promoting and bringing to my readers, I have earned the grand total of less than $50. THIS cheque is actually a few cents more than last month, too.

I know it’s human nature to like to get things for free, everyone does it–but at some point we have to weigh that against supporting artists we claim to like and admire. If there were children waiting to be fed in this equation, it wouldn’t be pretty. The average reader has a home and family, they work hard to have a decent life, they’d be horrified if their work was given so little credence and appreciation that they weren’t paid. Realize it’s the same for any artist/writer/musician, etc. Creative arts are a business as well as a calling to many, and people who love to create are suffering losses and trying to find ways to stop the flow of their work’s life-blood.

There is no way to stop this, many people fight it tooth and nail–others give up in despair after losing days/weeks/months to constantly battling with pirate sites. Some exceptional voices will one day fall silent because they will give up. Others will persevere because they refuse to do less. The only way to stop piracy theft is for people who read to buy their books, not steal them. I’m not talking library borrowing, but actually going to sites knowing you’re stealing the money from your author of choice. Maybe if you’re a huge name in the business this is less of an immediate concern, but for the mid-level and starting authors–this is devastating. If you worked for weeks on a project at your job, and your company invested other people’s time and work into it, then presented it to the public–but you didn’t get paid a dime for all that effort, ask yourself how you’d feel about that? Would you want to keep working that job?

Too much of life comes down to dollars and cents these days, and art has always been a prime target for theft in one way or another. But, at the end of the day, stealing is still stealing, and if you don’t want to be part of the problem, be part of the solution and always buy the book you want, or borrow it from a legal source, like your local library. Too many authors are getting cheques that don’t even cover the postage cost to mail them, it really isn’t remotely fair to them to devalue their work to this level, is it?


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Triad of Power: First Quest #RomFantasy

TRIAD OF POWER: First Quest 
A seductive fantasy quest from Crimson Frost Books

Available Now at:


Blurb:

Book One of Three: During the time before the Great Forbidding was created, it was believed the defiance of the Renegades could be contained. To that end, the Council of Power called upon their Ancient Gods for assistance. In response, the Gods ordered creation of the Triad of Power–three swords, each one imbued with the essence of a gift unique to those who would wield the weapons as the Guardians of Foress. Like all magic, each crafted blade contained the driving sorcery of its creator–not all wizards are immune to the weaknesses of men, and within the Triad, conflict itself was bred without conscious intent or knowledge. So begins the legend, and the epic fantasy of the TRIAD OF POWER.

Excerpt:

Sherindal cursed when she stumbled, and solid ground took shape beneath her feet. Spinning around, she saw she was half a world from her father’s domain. Gritting her teeth, she searched the sky, seeking a point of reference that would tell her precisely where she was.

Loremor?

It had to be. The port city was less than a mile to the east of her position, and Ember beckoned several days ride west. She tried to put thoughts of Rienn from her mind, and body, then trudged eastward. She was many hundreds of miles from the one man who would forever be her courage and her strength. Rienn’s faith in her had always made her brave. He believed in her, and she often drew on reserves within her to insure she didn’t disappoint him. It had become her personal code of honor not to let him down. Thus far, she was successful.

While she traveled, she pulled from her memory all she knew of the Triad of Power, and those who were destined to be the keepers of their magic. She had spent most of her childhood studying texts so ancient they were mythical to most of the populace of the planet. But Sherindal learned the lessons well, and each of them was cached deep in her mind, drawn forth like wizards drew spells when they were needed. Her knowledge never failed her. This time was no exception. The Renegades were a group of mages and wizards, witches and sorcerers of all ilks – they had once been part of the High Council that had ruled the world of Foress. Discontent with their role as protectors and not being worshipped as gods, they had grown increasingly powerful while the rest of the council idled in studies and acted as advisors to mortal men who ruled as kings.

When their treachery was discovered, the High Council had acted in a fashion none anticipated–they had called upon the old gods of Foress.

And they had been heard.

Many ages had passed since then, and if the Triad was required as a united force, that could mean only one thing–the Forbidding of the Ancients was weakening.

Sherindal was M'Har’s heir, and Rienn was descended from the mage empowered by the God of Deception, Shadin. She didn’t know if he was aware of the Divine blood that ran through his veins, and she was not anticipating the day when she would be forced to reveal to him all that he was, and how the weapon he carried was truly meant to be used.

It was the blood heir of Karman, the God of Foresight, whom she sought now. The greatest of the swords was Diviner, a weapon that carried the gift of vision. If Karman’s descendant was half the man Rienn was, the weapon would be in strong and capable hands. But if this man was weak-willed, or unable to command the magic, then they might yet be lost.

It was not a comforting thought, to be sure. She dismissed it for the moment, and returned her focus to the immediate task–finding the weapon. Once she had Diviner in her hands, she would then concentrate on finding the proper owner.

Loremor was now in sight.

Her first stop upon entering the bustling and noisy city was to find a shoppe and buy a heavy cloak. She’d forgotten that it would be the cold season in the port city. Ember was located inland, close to the vast lake the kingdom had been named for, and it was warm when the rest of the world wasn’t. She’d clearly stayed too long in the comfort of her lover’s palace if the icy air was causing this much discomfort.

Chilled to her bones, Sherindal stumbled into the first public house she passed, eager to escape the icy winds that ripped through her clothes and sank like daggers into her flesh.

She peered into the shadowy gloom of the alehouse and wrinkled her nose in distaste. The place was like any other dive, filled with the scents of too many bodies, not enough of them washed, and the stale odors of food and drink. There were other stenches, and she chose not to think too much about their sources. Smoke hung over the room, a dirty gray cloud that obliterated the beams of the ceiling. Overhead, the candle-laden lamps looked like they were suspended by sorcery. In a murky corner, close to the vast stone hearth, a table had been vacated. She went to it.

The fire warmed her and she began to relax as sensation returned to her frozen limbs. A serving girl approached her, and she ordered wine and food. She gave the filthy child, for child she must have been beneath the layers of dirt that obscured her true age, a bright silver coin for her trouble. It insured her solitude and decent service, as well.

Sherindal bit back the urge to voice her wrath when the innkeeper took the payment from the child and sent her scurrying after a backhanded smack. As the girl, tears flowing, ran to the rear exit, Sherindal’s attention was caught by the fair figure who paused long enough to comfort the girl before he entered the main room.

The newcomer’s hair was as light as her own, his dark eyes shrewd and intelligent. He walked with an arrogance that was casual and obviously natural to him. He was lean and attractive, as well as gently mannered. His smile, when he was returning the flirtatious overtures of the serving wenches, warmed like sunshine and charmed thoroughly. Sherindal was intrigued.

The innkeeper had seen her interest. She laughed to herself when the young man approached after a few words being exchanged with the owner.

“Good day to you,” he said quietly, dark eyes alive with amusement.

“And you, my lord,” she replied and leaned back in her chair. “Do I know you?” She was sure she did.

“I think not.”

“Your name?”

“Gerith,” he replied. He was slow to offer the name, and he watched to see if she reacted.

Sherindal ran the name through her memory and smiled.

“Gerith, second son of the Royal House of Loremor, student to Xanthor, heir apparent to the throne.” She arched an eyebrow when he scowled at her. “Provided your brother, Cantor, does kill himself in the games he loves so much to play.”

“Keep your voice down,” he snarled in sudden fury.

“Problem, Your Highness?” she queried sweetly.

Gerith glared at her then sat at the table. “I recognize you, too. Though I’m not sure why, or from where I know you. Why are you in Loremor? I cannot imagine it is by choice.”

“I have my reasons for being here, my young prince. Though in all honesty, it was the closest city to where I was... deposited,” she replied, choosing the word as the easiest explanation. When he didn’t question the use, Sherindal re-evaluated her judgment of him, and included an awareness of magic to his intelligence. “I have to find a place called the Labyrinth.”

Gerith laughed, a silken breath of sound that ruffled the air between them. “You have reached your goal, Lady,” he told her when she glowered at him.

“What?”

He nodded at her astonishment. “This is the Labyrinth,” he repeated, then his eyes narrowed thoughtfully. “What is it you expected to find? And why?”

“I’m not entirely certain.” For a moment, she peered at the room in general, searching. She felt nothing. No ripple of awareness, no hint of magic. Just hard-working people and a smattering of cut-throats and thieves. M’Har’s spell must have gone wrong; there was nothing here that would help her.

“Be careful, Lady,” he advised. “The innkeeper is not a man of solicitude, but he did request that I warn you not to linger.” 

“I am more than capable of taking care of myself, Your—” His grimace halted the usage and she nodded. “Gerith. Though, I thank you for your concern.”

“Not mine, Lady,” he replied. “Who are you hunting, by the way?” he asked when he rose and readied to leave her table.

“I wish I knew. What or where is the Oubliette?”

Gerith’s eyes were thoughtful.

“Yes?”

“Sherindal,” he mused. “Rienn’s consort.” He bowed. “I should have remembered sooner.”

“You know Rienn?”

“Not well. How is he?”

“Angry,” she replied dryly. “And very likely to get much angrier before this business is over.” She paused then asked, “Do you know of this Oubliette?”

“I do, and it’s not a place you should go willingly without a sword you trust guarding your back.”

“Why are you here, Gerith?” she wondered, her head tilting to one side as she looked up at him. “A son of the Royal House need not serve drinks in a tavern.”

“If he wants to know the truth of the kingdom he might one day inherit, it makes sense to understand the people who live within it.”

“And Cantor prefers you out of the way of his pleasures.”

“That as well,” he laughed.

“What does your father say about this un-princely behavior?” She smiled. “I am guessing he is aware of none of it?”

“You know my father, what do you think?”

“I think he resents you for reasons that have little to do with you, young prince.”

He nodded, but before Gerith could ask the question her comment begged for, he was called away.

Available Now at:



Monday, April 07, 2014

My special guest today: Laura Enright #RomFantasy


Laura's probably going to want to reach out and touch me for this, but we have known each other for well over twenty years now, and we've never met. We became friends pre-internet days via the wonderful world of pen pals. She is one of the most talented people I know, and her letters should have been published they were sometimes so funny and entertaining! I know I never wrote back anything that was as wonderful to her as her much-loved letters to me always were. But, she still talks to me anyway!! It is my distinct pleasure to have her here as my guest today, so you can all get to know her and her writing better. She's good, and I don't say that lightly. So, welcome Laura!!

Has writing been something you always did, or was it a discovered talent that came to you at a later point?

I think I’ve always been interested in writing. I’ve always been a bit of day dreamer and making up stories. I remember my grade school had a science fair when I was about 10. The project I did was on the planets but turned into my explanation of how life could be on the planets; what kind of life it would need to be considering the conditions on the planets. I think I passed, barely. I was around that age when I wrote my first book. It was about a woman who finds a lost collie on the beach. I wrote it on small notebook paper and bound it with staples. I think I even designed a cover. I guess you could say I self-published.

Do you remember how it felt when you were offered that first contract? What emotions stand out in your memory? 

I was both elated and terrified. The first contract was for Chicago’s Most Wanted. I had a friend who, after hearing me whine about how hard it was to find a publisher for my fiction, suggested that I work on a book in the signature series that he was writing books for. Potomac Publisher’s Most Wanted series. And he gave me his editor’s contact information which is a big deal. I figured that if I did this it could perhaps be a notch in my CV for later proposals on my fiction. The editor liked the idea of Chicago as the topic and sent me my first book contract complete with all the legalese. I was thrilled but at the time uncertain if I would be able to fulfill the contract. Nonfiction was a new experience for me. It would take a great deal of research.

Yet, I took the plunge and it was a fantastic experience.

And it’s funny when I consider that all three books I’ve published so far have been unexpected projects in some way. I explained Chicago’s Most Wanted. Well, to Touch the Sun was a novel that came out of the blue because while I enjoyed reading vampire novels, I never had a desire to write one. I didn’t have a character or concept in mind. At the time I’d been trying to an interest an agent that I had been in pleasant communication with in my work. He wasn’t interested in what I’d sent him up to that point, but he encouraged me to keep trying. So, checking the website, I discovered that the agency represented a vampire series. And knowing how popular vampires were at that point, I decided to try my hand at the genre. Unlike other novels I’ve written where I went in with clear ideas of plot and characters, I had nothing but a two word idea: Vampire chef. And even that idea seemed a bit ridiculous. But the more I fiddled with it (and it changed in a number of ways as I worked on it) the more concrete the characters and plot became, the more I fell in love with it. And when I verbally presented the idea to the agent after meeting him at a convention, he was enthusiastic about it. He told me to send him a proposal when it was finished.

Unfortunately, by the time it was finished he had mysteriously left the business completely and the other members of the agency weren’t interested in it. That was a heartbreaker. I was on a hunt for an agent or publisher for a novel that I started on a whim that I fell in love with more so than anything I’d written before.

Around this time, Potomac Publishers contacted me asking if I wanted to do another Most Wanted book. I gave it some thought and came up with vampires as the topic. Not only was the variety of the subject perfect for such a book, I was hoping mention of it might look good in proposals I sent out for To Touch the Sun. Like with Chicago’s Most Wanted, writing Vampires’ Most Wanted was a great experience but nerve wracking at times though at least at this point I’d been through it before. It didn’t lead me to a publisher, but as with the other two books it was a project that came about unexpectedly and was a lot of fun to do. 

Is this a first book, part of a series, or the latest in a long line of many?

The first of many. It’s kind of funny too. I refer to myself as the woman who wasn’t interested in writing vampire novels who now can’t stop telling the stories. While hunting for a publisher, I wrote three more novels in the series and a spin off novel featuring two paranormal investigators that are found in the third novel. And I have ideas for more. Like I said I just really fell in love with the characters. I think the second novel is my favourite because it sort of crystalized what I was doing with the universe I’d created. I also especially like the fourth novel because it features a character that comes up in the second novel and best addresses one of the themes that runs through the series. Basically, while vampirism can give you certain powers, it can also be inconvenient (my vampires can’t go out during the day, for example). I think it’s important to have such inconveniences for the sake of the drama. But what if you’ve become a vampire and you don’t have a castle in Transylvania to flee to when the sun comes up? What if you aren’t rich? The fortunes of this character rise and fall in his long life and when the novel opens they have definitely fallen. It’s a bit of a prequel. He’s struggling with what he’s become, having to deal with it on his own, and how he must live now without the resources to make it all easier. 

Narain in To Touch the Sun had that problem right after his conversion. But he lucked upon people who could help him. In fact when To Touch the Sun opens one of the problem he’s facing is that he’s lost his beloved Sophie who was not only his wife, but his food source. Her sacrifice through the years enabled him to lead as normal a life as possible considering his condition. He was able to realize his dream of becoming a well-respected chef. They have a good life in Chicago. There are certain restrictions (like the sunlight issue) but nothing that they can’t work around. But his having to feed, even though he doesn’t have to kill the host, has always been a problem for him and Sophie made it all that much easier. Now he has to bring himself to go back to something that he finds morally offensive. But if he doesn’t, he runs the risk of turning into something dangerous which could destroy everything he’s worked for. So, that’s where he finds himself when his world suddenly starts blowing up around him with other problems: Trying to retain that sense of normalcy.

What is the oddest thing that’s happened to you since you chose to become a professional writer? Will it ever make it into a book, or is that a secret?

I’ve actually not had anything really odd happen. I did have one time right after Vampires’ Most Wanted was published in which the producer of the Nick Digilio Show, a Chicago radio show, was trying to track me down but couldn’t. I have a tendency to stay up very late when I’m not working the next day. One Saturday I think I got to bed at 6 a.m. So I must have turned off the phone ringer and slept right through this producer trying to call me because the show had a cancellation and needed a guest for later that night. Apparently when he didn’t get a hold of me, he called the Park Ridge Library where I work and my coworker Lisa found my friend Diane’s name as my emergency notification. That afternoon I was awoken to a pounding on my apartment door. My friend Diane drove in from Palatine, about 45 minutes away, to wake my butt out of bed so I could call this producer and be on the show. Now that’s friendship. 

The interview that night went really well and even led me to be on the show to promote To Touch the Sun recently. This time the show was on at 2 a.m. so I had to stay up from 7 a.m. the day before. Then I took a taxi downtown to the Tribune Tower. Now 2 a.m. is an ideal time to be driving downtown, but I just thought it might be easy to just take a taxi. I didn’t count on the mid-March snowstorm that hit around the time the taxi picked me up. It was an interesting ride down, but conditions weren’t too bad at that point. The interview went really well and it was a thrill to be in the studio at the Tribune Tower (a great building with a lot of history to it). It was on the way back that things got dicey. The producer helped me track down a cab to take me home but I bet the cabbie didn’t expect the kind of drive we had on the expressway 15 miles back to Park Ridge. Visibility, practically nil, not helped by the sheets of snow falling off the tops of the semis that sped past us and slamming into the windshield. At one point he asked me to keep an eye out for the exit, which would be an accomplishment since I’m pretty nearsighted even in good visibility. We made it home though. I gave him a lot of credit (well both financially and respect-wise) and a really good tip. 

I seem to have issues with radio interviews. When Chicago’s Most Wanted came out, I went downtown to be on the Mike North Show. It was 7 a.m. in the morning, a beautiful drive. The show went well. I came back to the parking garage and couldn’t get out of it for about an hour. I couldn’t find the kiosk to pay for the parking. The garage for the studio was connected to a hotel and that just confused the issue leading me to go on a walking tour of a good portion of real estate just to figure out how to pay for this parking ticket. By the time I did get out, downtown Chicago was packed with people and cars. But again, it leads to a story to tell.

Do you have your next book underway, or other titles in the planning stages?

I have a few projects I really need to get to. Part of the issue now is marketing To Touch the Sun, which can be a full time job in itself. A lot of people think it’s “write the novel” and you leave the rest to the publisher, but an author has to do a lot of hustling on her own. And with my publisher being in Nottingham, England, I’ve been trying to do what I can for the local market and the American market. So I’ve been working on all that. I would love to get the sequel to To Touch the Sun tweaked. All the finished novels in the series are in one form of draft or another. In a few months I’ll probably run it past the publisher and see if he’s interested in continuing the series. I also have an Asian dragon novel that I want to start shopping around again. I was doing that last year when I finally found Dagda Publishers for To Touch the Sun. I sort of put that on the back burner. I have some other urban fantasy I’d like to finish too. Novels I started but put aside when To Touch the Sun got a hold of me. 

One thing I have to do is get back to a book project that I’m working on with a man whose father was falsely accused of being a loans hark in 1960s Chicago. It’s a really compelling story about how this prosecution of his father dramatically and negatively altered the family’s lives and he wants to get the information out there after all these years. I think it has some legs. But it’s going to take a lot of work. We started it last October with some interviews with him. But I had to put it aside while I concentrated on getting To Touch the Sun out. Now I want to get back to that.

Do you have a favourite genre and why? Is it one you write in, read in, or both?

Of the novels I’ve written most seem to be science fiction or fantasy based. So that’s probably the favourite. But I’ll try anything. And often I’ll mix genres. I self-published on Kindle a novel called Trouble that is humorous science fiction with a western flair. The publisher for To Touch the Sun is touting it as a horror novel but it’s not pure horror. It’s not your typical vampire novel either. And there’s a lot of action, humour, pathos in it. I have a little history in it. For me, it depends on the story for which genre or genres I use. 

I think in my reading I tend to lean toward the sci fi and fantasy. It’s been unfortunate for a while now that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and read anything that isn’t research for something I’m working on. But I’ll often listen to books on CD in the car. Right now I’m listening to Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris, which I’m not sure what it’s classified genre-wise. It’s good. It’s a sequel to Chocolat. I think she’s a fantastic writer. I’m also very much into the historical novels that Ken Follett writes. The reader for that is exceptional. But I’d like to get back to more paranormal, fantasy etc. And some hard core science fiction. I was looking at some Nancy Kress books in the library the other day. It’s been a while. I have to finish the third book in The Strain series. An excellent series. The last “fantasy” type book I read for an online book club I was moderating for Pioneer Press was Anne Rice’s The Wolf Gift. 

The less said about that, the better.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? Does it change from book to book or remain the same?

I think for me To Touch the Sun offered the most exciting part of the process in as far as I had no clue what I was doing with it. It was a total surprise. And it went in directions I didn’t expect it to go. I think that’s one of the coolest things. When you’re writing along and maybe you hit a road block and an idea sparks that makes it all work. It’s fantastic. But with To Touch the Sun, it being something I wasn’t really sure I could do effectively, seeing it take shape was really exciting. The other thing I noticed with this series in general, because I was so very much bitten by a bug for it at this point, I kept having these ideas for scenes and such at all times of the day. That’s what I mean about day dreaming in the earlier question. I can be working at the library, I can be standing in line at the checkout or driving and I start day dreaming scenes and dialogue. So frequently I would write out a scene that might appear later in the book that I had to figure out how to patch onto another scene. It became almost like a puzzle. Sometimes I had to figure out how to logically go from point A to point B. And sometimes I’d come up with ideas for other characters or future books simply by trying to figure that out. In the second novel, the character of Max Edison was simply there to find a body in a cemetery. I had no plans to make him anything more than that. But as I neared the end I suddenly realized that he could be valuable in the third novel, so I took him made up his friend Lazlo and brought them into the third novel as paranormal investigators. All that I find a great deal of fun. It really stimulates the mind. 

Now this is my first series that I’ve written so I never had that sort of experience with previous novels. But certainly I had the times when I needed that spark to knock down a block in the narrative and something would pop in. I wouldn’t mind doing a series for the characters in Trouble. I like those characters and could see them moving on into future novels.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? What kind of book do you think would come from the collaboration?

Why…Denyse Bridger* of course! And I think the collaboration would be FAHBULOUS! But since she’s far too good for me, and this may sound like a corny choice, but I think J.K. Rowling. I’ve really liked the last two non-Harry Potter books she wrote. Honestly, I’m not sure what would come from the collaboration. It would be interesting to try though. (*Clearly she's lost her marbles on that first option, but I love her, so she's forgiven.)

Where can readers find you on the web?


To Touch The Sun
Available at: AMAZON

Synopsis:

1916: France, World War I

Narain Khan was 25 when he left his native India to fight in the trenches of the West­ern Front dur­ing WWI. It was his hope that he could stay on after the war to pur­sue his dream of study­ing the culi­nary arts and becom­ing a world class chef. Instead, he fell to shrap­nel amidst the car­nage of that bit­ter war. Car­nage which, when dark­ness fell, attracted some­thing ter­ri­fy­ing: A roam­ing pack of feral vampires–mindless feeders–who fell upon the sol­diers left wounded and dying in No Man’s Land. Attacked by the fer­als, Narain was trans­formed into the other type of vam­pire: A sen­tient capa­ble of mov­ing about in soci­ety with only a few restric­tions and able to feed with­out killing the host. While in the fugue state of his con­ver­sion, he was found by Alphonse Reno, a man who had lost his own son to feral vam­pirism and who is sure the con­di­tion is bio­log­i­cal, not meta­phys­i­cal. Work­ing to find a cure in hopes of bring­ing back his son, Alphonse con­vinces Narain that, unlike fer­als, he could lead a rel­a­tively nor­mal life.

Present Day: Chicago, U.S.

Narain has reached a cross­roads. Help­ing him adjust to his con­di­tion through the decades was his beloved Sophie who was not only his wife, but his food source once they real­ized she wasn’t sus­cep­ti­ble to the con­di­tion. Her sac­ri­fice enabled him to lead as nor­mal a life as pos­si­ble, mak­ing hunt­ing for food unnec­es­sary. Can­cer had taken Sophie the pre­vi­ous year and after the stock of blood she had saved up has been depleted, Narain is faced with again hav­ing to hunt for his food, some­thing he is both morally opposed to, but also causes him to fear pass­ing on the con­di­tion to unwit­ting, per­haps dan­ger­ous hosts. If left too long, how­ever, hunger can bring out the deadly feral nature even in a sen­tient vam­pire. As a well-​​respected chef and owner of a suc­cess­ful Chicago restau­rant, Narain has worked hard to pro­mote a veneer of nor­mal­ity. The last thing he and his busi­ness part­ner and friend Dom Amato needs is for Narain’s hunger to get the bet­ter of him.

Events con­spire, how­ever, to drag Narain away from the safe life he has cul­ti­vated back into one of mad­ness and dan­ger: The attrac­tion he feels for micro­bi­ol­o­gist Cassie Lam­bert, who has a link to his past Narain is unaware of, and the re-​​emergence of a ghost from the Great War. Cap­tain Regi­nald Jame­son was a sadis­tic preda­tor when Narain had chal­lenged him dur­ing their ser­vice in the trenches of France. The vam­pire Jame­son of 90 years later is infi­nitely more dan­ger­ous, his sadism backed by the bizarre abil­i­ties of their con­di­tion. The dis­cov­ery that Cassie Lam­bert has made about the cause of vam­pirism is one that Jame­son is will­ing to kill to obtain.

Jame­son has brought back another ghost from their shared his­tory in his search to find immu­nity to sun­light. The exper­i­ments of his researchers, how­ever, have resulted in the cre­ation of a third, more ter­ri­fy­ing breed of vam­pire: Boris, a psy­cho­pathic mon­ster who will stop at noth­ing to destroy all in his path.

In try­ing to pro­tect Cassie from Jame­son and Boris, Narain will have to rely on skills that he’s allowed to atro­phy over the decades. In a cli­matic strug­gle, Narain will have to learn that to defeat the real mon­sters, he has to embrace what he is and awaken the beast within. And to touch the sun, he will have to risk being burned up in its fury.

Available at: AMAZON

To learn more about her books and what else she's getting up to:

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Beached - a new release from @RosBaxter #RomFantasy

Meet Ros Baxter, and her wonderful new book. I have to admit, I love this tagline: 

Because no-one gets to be a mermaid in their dayjob...

Let's hear about her new book!

Beached

Beached is the second instalment in my sexy mermaid mystery series, The Aegira Chronicles.

Today is release day for the sexy new mermaid mystery, Beached, the sequel to Fish Out of Water.

A beached mermaid; a sexy mercenary with too many secrets; and a mission impossible.

As the forces of darkness gather, Princess Lecanora must come to terms with exactly what she would do to save the underwater kingdom she has always called home, and the Land she has come to love.

For fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Charlaine Harris, and everyone who ever dreamed of being a princess, a mermaid, or a kickass heroine. 


Praise for Book 1 of the Aegira trilogy, Fish Out of Water, and Ros Baxter:

"A nicotine-addicted, land-living police deputy with questionable taste in men, who just happens to be a mermaid. Gee, she was fun to read... made me instantly want to read the next one in the series"

"...an exciting new author to the genre who not only writes with humour and panache, but is good at sucking you into her world and keeping you there with sassy dialogue, zany characters and a hot romance. I can feel the start of a major fan crush heading my way."

‘'You have never read anything like Ros Baxter. A big dose of satisfying feelgood. You have to read this book!' 5 Stars.

Ros Baxter:  Fresh, funny fiction 

Sister Pact - Harper Collins 2012 
Fish Out of Water - April 2013 
White Christmas - Dec 2013 
Lingerie for Felons - Mar 2014 
Beached - April 2014 

Find Ros here:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Words and more words... thoughts about writing #RomFantasy


I’ve been out of the loop lately in terms of saying much, but I’ve been catching things here and there. Which means of course my brain has been mulling over attitudes and assitudes as I’ve begun to call it all… What can I say? I’ve been watching the stars of the new literary world–and yes that was the Sarcasm Fairy whizzing past... These wonderful new authors who believe their own fabricated publicity to the extent that they feel the “right” to look down on others. In my opinion, and I realize no one asked for it, there are very few real stars of the literary world. Many, many award winners, and just as many respected and well known writers with large followings. But the “stars” are few, the names everyone knows even if they don’t read their books–people like Stephen King, Nora Roberts–this is where I confess I’ve read one King book, and not one by Nora Roberts despite many attempts. BUT, I give them the respect they are due, because they have worked hard and undoubtedly deserve the accolades bestowed upon them. Others who come to mind are Tom Clancy, Patterson, Danielle Steel, J.K. Rowling… each of these authors, whether you like them or not, has achieved their “stardom” in the field of writing. So, tons of people now make millions of dollars, yet you have to ask around to find someone who knows them–welcome to the new world of publishing.

BUT, what about the mid-level authors with the big assitudes?? I use that word because most of them behave like asses with their attitudes. They think somehow they’re better than the average working writer because they’ve got a best-seller in some small house, or they’ve been nominated for an award. Hey, celebrate, it’s given you bragging rights. It hasn’t given you the right to act like you’re suddenly world class famous. Social media is full of this crap…almost as full as the authors themselves in some cases. What the hell ever happened to behaving with some kind of graciousness? I know, I’m dating myself because in most cases, manners and class are only concepts now, and that is truly sad!

Editors… The jewels of a writer’s life, don’t kid yourself. The editor can bring you to the top, or ruin your confidence, but either way, the writers who don’t think they need them are just listening to ego, not reality. I have to admit, I had it pretty easy from the time I started writing and offering it to the public. To this day the rejections I’ve received number under a dozen–and that is over 10 years pro, and years before that as a fan fiction writer. I have been, and continue to be, very lucky for whatever reason. I’ve had the worse editors and thankfully in more recent years, the best of the best. The ones who think all there is to editing is correct punctuation and grammar are the ones who’ll really do your talent some damage. Just like those who think their job is to rewrite your work to their personal style can be deadly to your confidence and your work. But then there are the ones who want to work with you and make your work the best it can be. They take the time and care to explain why certain things work, and others don’t–why it’s important to focus on the small details to make the overall picture more beautiful.

That leads nicely to another of those realities some people refuse to accept. Writing is an art that is never still, it’s forever in flux, changing and evolving. It needs to be tended like a garden, with care and attention. New techniques have to be employed for the most beautiful blooms to grow, you have to relearn over and over. If you stop learning, reading, extending yourself to be better with each new story or book, you will soon be old news. I am in the painful transition of attempting to learn to write again, with a tighter and faster style, a more immediate and accessible feel. I used to love to write deep imagery and emotion. Over the years, editors have stripped away those things, deeming them unnecessary. I’ve been told to cut out the deep POV that was present in my books, told to cut the descriptive passages, told to be stark and direct… I’ve had editors tell me over and over how beautiful my writing is, then give the wackiest reasons for not contracting. After a number of years, it’s totally paralyzed me in terms of being creative. I stopped writing entirely for the first time in my life. When I tried, I’d sometimes get 20,000 words on the page then dump it because I hated it. I didn’t just second guess, I third, fourth and fifth guessed–to the point where it was all garbage in my eyes. Coming back from that darkness to find anything worthwhile in writing is proving to be a real challenge. Thank God I’m not doing it alone, but with an exceptionally gifted editor and friend who believes I can be a good writer again.

Content and styles change, reader tastes change. If you really care about writing and storytelling, you have to move with that, and be open to the learning process every day. It’s not easy when you encounter snide remarks and shots from people you think are friends, and you’re targeted by others who have agendas and want to see you fail. This is a competitive business, and there are some truly gifted and incredible writers who love the craft and are friends to their fellow writers. Others resent anything good that someone else gets because they think it should be theirs. That’s human nature, it goes with any job. The real key to becoming the writer you want to be, I believe, is to focus on the stories you want to tell. Care about all of it. Give readers worlds that make them smile, and feel good. Whatever your genre is, study it and bring your best to it. Never stop learning. The moment you think you have nothing left to learn, or no need to change–retire, because you’re no longer going to happy. No one gives a damn how successful you were years ago, it means nothing. It’s what you bring to the table now that matters, and if it’s not a current, viable product, you’ll soon discover no one cares. That hurts, but that, too, is reality. Yeah, it bites… welcome to the real world.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Blast: The Blood That Cries In The Ground @VRevGB @GoddessFish


The Blood That Cries in the Ground
by Gregory Bellarmine

BLURB:

Italy. A tough master of novices, Father Dante encounters the bold young priest Antonio who challenges his identity and accuses him of being the Saint Nicholas. But despite the Father faking his death, a determined Antonio discovers a rather alive Dante arrayed in kilt and armor.

In return for Antonio’s silence—and to protect the town from attracting all manner of darkness—Dante agrees to tell his life story. Without explanation, Dante orders Antonio to meet him at night in the abandoned Cathedral, the site of a former battle that the Church has kept secret for a generation.

Until today.

The Criskindl. Ice Steeds. The Unborn. Saint.

From the Dark Ages’ when Poet-Sorcerers ruled kings, to the Holy Land when a new civilization was rising, to Revolutionary France where love is lost and gained, Father Dante pursues the one responsible for both his master and his mother’s deaths: Black Peter, his brother.

Excerpt:

I stood up and snarled. "All this for a romp?"

Catherine walloped a blurring slap across my face. Though lights danced in my periphery, I fiddled with my jaw to click it back into place.

"My flesh is pure, Nicholas. Is yours?"

She spun on her heel and wheeled towards the night-dark palace. Wrath trailed her like her billowing fur, an anger punctuated by images that flashed into my mind. One vision showed Catherine as a girl: enraptured, she listened to stories of a man of powerful purpose; another had her beat an armored opponent twice her age in straight-sword combat, but her thoughts always wandered to a future where some day she would find me.

A wind billowed my vestment. "Befana gave me a wife? Why?"

Once the darkness had consumed my Catherine, a dread poisoned my heart. I ran after her, and the second I took my first stride, I partially understood why Befana had sent her. I was alone.

"Catherine!"

A giddiness filled me, only for a terrible fear to steal into my soul. What had I done?

"Catherine please?"

I headed for the balcony and midway up the stone steps, she paused in a half turn, her lips parted just so. I took a deep savoring breath.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Gregory Bellarmine is the author of the bestselling Monthly Roman Breviary. He lives a happy though sometimes sleepless life in the UK with his wife, two children and rather cheeky Parson Russell Terrier.

Website  |  Email  |  Gregory’s blog  |  Twitter  |  Book Trailer  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon USA  |  Kindle



“The Blood That Cries in the Ground will grab the reader by the throat with a death grip from which it is impossible to break free.” -Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite - Read the full review HERE

Gregory will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Enter via the Rafflecopter below!

You can also follow the tour HERE - the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Welcome @OpalCarew - Giveaway! #RomFantasy

I'm sure many of you are familiar with best-selling author Opal Carew, and her mega-sexy/HOT tales of passion and love. I've been a fan for ages, and honestly think she does this genre better than anyone else. I was thrilled when she agreed to do an interview with me, and she has some wonderful goodies up for grabs, too - so settle in and get to know her better, and find out all about her new release, HIS TO POSSESS!


Available NOW:



Has writing been something you always did, or was it a discovered talent that came to you at a later point?

Writing was not something I've always done. I didn’t start until shortly after I had my babies. When I was at home with them, I started reading Harlequin romances. Always a creative person, I was looking for an outlet for that creativity and started thinking about writing romance. I adore a good love story and being swept away by the powerful emotions they make me feel, so romance was the perfect fit. I enjoy watching two (or more) people come together, overcoming all obstacles. Plus, I love the sexy aspect! (At the beginning, my writing was actually too hot for what was trending!)

Do you remember how it felt when you were offered that first contract? What emotions stand out in your memory?

I always say that I was an overnight success after 14 years of trying. On my 24th wedding anniversary (I had been writing for about 14 years at that time), I got a call from Emily Sylvan Kim from Prospect Agency to tell me she wanted to represent me. She sent my book to an editor at St. Martin`s Press that day, then called me a few hours later to say it was on the editor’s desk and she was reading it right then! The next day, I was told that the senior editor missed her subway stop while reading it! They made an offer for a three book deal later that week

It was 14 years of building, writing, planning, learning and frustration that then culminated in a big burst of joy when I found out that I was going to be signed! I actually thought I would explode with pure happiness!

Is this a first book, part of a series, or the latest in a long line of many?

This is the complete book of the erotic serial, His To Possess, an intoxicating tale of a woman torn between a dominant billionaire and a tattooed, bad boy rock musician. His To Possess was first published as a six-part e-serial novel, and is now available in this full book, featuring special bonus material. Two characters from this story will continue to live on in my upcoming e-serial His To Claim which will release on June 3rd. I also wrote a self-pub prequel to His to Possess entitled, Taken By Storm.

What is the oddest thing that’s happened to you since you chose to become a professional writer? Will it ever make it into a book, or is that a secret?

Haha! You can be certain that in this line of work, there are quite a few odd moments that happen! It’s hard to remember all of them when asked, but one thing that frequently happens to romance authors is you catch yourself discussing erotic subjects or plot points casually in a public place and suddenly realize that everyone around you can hear what you are saying! It's so funny to live in your own writing fantasy world where anything goes and then hear yourself talking just a little too loudly about it in a restaurant or public transit and seeing people's reactions!

I’m continually surprised about what makes it into my books from real life. I don't tend to draw on real-life experience but sometimes I will be inspired by an event. For example, I was watching the reaction of a friend who had joined me at my booth at Sexapalooza.  She was wide-eyed and uncertain at all the goings-on around us and it gave me the idea to write a heroine who was at a show just like this (I called it Sex-a-la-gala) with an author friend, and is approached by BDSM master who introduces her to his world. That was Secret Ties, and it’s the opening scene.  You can read more about it here

Do you have your next book underway, or other titles in the planning stages?

His To Claim, the sequel to His To Possess will be out in June! You don’t want to miss this, with its hot biker rock musician hero! The covers are incredible. You can view them here.

I’m also currently working on Riding Steele, a hot biker story for St. Martin's Press! It will be released in October. I also decided to self-pub two connected novellas, Hot Ride and Wild Ride. Hot Ride and was featured in the New York Times Bestselling Box Set, Riding Desire. Wild Ride is part of the “Invitation to Eden” book series involving 27 authors, sharing their works via three ebooks a month, starting this March and continuing until December!  (See www.invitationtoeden.com for more information.)  Hot Ride will be released individually on April 15th. Wild Ride is the second book and will be released September 16th. The third part of my “Office Slave” series will be coming out late spring/early summer, and you can look forward to a box set featuring BDSM!

You can anticipate and watch for these titles on my author website, or you can sign up for my newsletter.

Do you have a favourite genre and why? Is it one you write in, read in, or both?

The first books that really captured my interest were science fiction.  When I first discovered these wonderful stories of ‘what if’ and brave new worlds, I was mesmerized.  Later, I discovered romance, and those books drew on my emotions.

Now my favourite genre is erotic romance! I also love fantasy and futuristic and I do sometimes write in those, but always with an erotic focus. I love strong heroines and happily-ever-afters. What fun to write a heroine choosing between two equally appealing heroes? I like pushing beyond traditional boundaries and dealing with a woman who is growing and evolving - questioning her sexual boundaries and pushing past them. Writing in the erotic genre allows me to do this. Same with fantasy and futuristic - I love that anything goes and you are only limited by your own imagination.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process? Does it change from book to book or remain the same?

For me, the most exciting part of the writing process is being along for my characters' emotional journeys. I love it when my characters really start to come to life; when they reveal their inner secrets, and deepest traumas, and I start to feel their hidden passions. I am continually surprised by my characters. They come to life and develop as I write them, revealing things to me that I hadn’t planned on but just evolve naturally throughout the writing process.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? What kind of book do you think would come from the collaboration?

Oh my goodness! There are so many talented authors in my genre that I would love to co-author a book with and many that I have already had the pleasure of self-publishing with! Instead, I will reveal to you that I would have loved to co-author a book with the great Isaac Asimov. I can only imagine what kind of a book would come from our collaboration!

I actually met him once and he made up a limerick about me on the spot. Unfortunately, I couldn't write it down. (Would you have stopped one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time and said, "Excuse me, Mr. Asimov, could you wait while I get a pen?")

Where can readers find you on the web?

Readers can connect with me online here:

Website  |  Twitter  |  Newsletter  |  Facebook

My latest release is His To Possess. It came out on March 18th!

First published as a six-part erotic serial, His To Possess is the intoxicating tale of a woman torn between a dominant billionaire and a tattooed, bad boy rock musician. Now available for the first time as a complete book, this edition features sizzling new bonus material.

Jessica’s life was in ruins…until she met him.

Standing in the rain feeling lost in a new city, with no job and no prospects, she’s about to give up. Until Dane Rainier pulls up in his limo and offers her a ride—and sweeps her into the life of her dreams. Now she has a high-powered job and is having the best sex of her life, exploring her submissive side under the masterful hand of a gorgeous billionaire.


But there’s a part of her that’s still holding back. Because the truth is, she’s never gotten over her ex-boyfriend Storm. A heavily muscled, motorcycle-riding rock musician, Storm couldn’t be any more different from Dane… and she just can’t get him out of her head. Now Storm is about to reappear and turn her whole world upside down. Both Dane and Storm make her body burn to be possessed, but will her indecisive heart cost her the love of both men?


Available NOW: