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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

GUEST: Robert “Doc” Gowdy

BUILDING CAPTAIN BONNY MORGAN’S WORLD FOR THE NOVEL CAPTAIN BONNY MORGAN: THE CASSANDRA PROPHESY

So, how did I go about building the world that my characters inhabit in my novel, Captain Bonny Morgan: The Cassandra Prophesy? For me, building Bonny Morgan’s world in the novel was quite easy. Being a big fan of science fiction—novels, movies, and television—I had a ready template to work from, especially where futuristic galactic space travel and alien worlds are concerned. However, I wanted to do something a little different given my love of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean at the turn of the eighteenth-century. I also used my Ph.D. to good advantage in that I put to work for me my knowledge of mythology, particularly the writings of Joseph Campbell in The Hero With A Thousand Faces, and supplementing that with Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey where Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (the monomyth) is readily explained in literary terms.

Nevertheless, I built my novel’s world around Captain Bonny Morgan, a beautiful, mysterious, fairy-like galactic pirate. I derived her name from the real pirates Anne Bonny and Sir Henry Morgan. As a result, given my love for the Golden Age of Piracy, I made her a true pirate, right down to the West Country brogue she speaks, and placed her in a high-tech, futuristic galaxy where pirates roamed freely among various pirate strongholds like the real Tortuga. But in my novel’s case, it became Spiller’s Point (where, by the way, they serve Spiller’s Ale—good to the last spilt drop). In the case of Spiller’s Point as a pirate stronghold, or safe haven, I drew on my love of the mountains, particularly the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Building around the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, I fashioned Spiller’s Point as a very green, vastly mountainous planet with dense, dark forests, and high mountain peaks with glaciers that produce spectacular waterfalls. On Spiller’s Point I placed a pirate tavern called the Pretty Red. The Pretty Red is an ancient tavern, perhaps several millennia old, created in log cabin fashion and hidden within a narrow valley among very mountainous terrain. The pirates must know its coordinates in order to get there, and its fairly hidden from most ships’ sensors.

However, to compliment Bonny Morgan, I had to create a pirate world, or galaxy, in which she could operate. Drawing on ancient Irish mythology, I took as my model for my galactic pirates, the mythic Fianna—mythic Irish warriors. As a result, I made the bulk of my galactic pirates descendents of the “ancient” Fenians derived from the Fianna. As Fenians, then, they are all basically of Irish descent, and speak with an Irish brogue—not all, but most of them, anyway.

As a result of all this beginning “world building,” I found myself very quickly sketching out galactic maps in order to situate the various pirate strongholds, the center of the Galactic Empire, and internal tavern diagrams and Brethren Hall diagrams in order to situate locations in my mind, various pirate shootouts, and spacecraft battle scenes. While doing this “world building,” I happened on creating the pirate Queen, Colleen O’Malley, who is the leader of the O’Malley Brethren (one of nine Brethren factions) and has a pirate hideout on the snow planet Prilla. She, too, has an ancient, but high-tech, hideout facility, in which she also has an in-house tavern. It is in Colleen O’Malley’s Brethren Hall in-house tavern that Bonny Morgan does much of her pirate business and planning (not to mention the Pretty Red on Spiller’s Point).

In effect, then, I created one huge galactic Caribbean in which my characters live and operate. And that “world” served as a wonderful contrast for my favorite character (and the most fun to write) Tink to operate in. Tink is my nod to both J. M. Barrie and his creation, Tinker Bell. While Tink is a full-grown, human woman, she is nevertheless very Tinker Bell-like. She is beautiful, mischievous, playful, and very much in awe of the “world” around her. And having Tink operate within an ancient (albeit highly technologically advance) pirate world was a lot of fun. However, Tink is also a slave. She is the Princess Lysette’s favorite slavegirl, another main character in my novel. Nevertheless, since Tink is a slave, I had to also create within the galaxy a “world” in which slavery was an ancient practice and tradition. So I had to build a “world” in which slave rules, etiquette, and protocols are observed, including the buying and selling of slave. Hence the creation of Miin, the planet where one of the galaxy’s premier slave market’s is located. There Tink meets Jon Black, a pirate of the same species as Bonny Morgan, and who owns a café in the Miinian Slave Market. And there she also meets Lady Brit, a beautiful young Miinian noble who is drawn into Tink and Princess Lysette’s adventure, along with Jon Black.

So in addition to pirates and slavery, I also had to create “worlds” in which royalty and nobles exist. And it seemed that the more I wrote, the more the “world” I was creating, created itself. I was quite fascinated by how once the germ of an idea began to take shape, the darn thing took off and snowballed into a rather wonderful, and quite magical, “world” in which my characters exist and, to my mind, live.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert “Doc” Gowdy is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Ph.D. in Literary Criticism and Theory and an emphasis on Nineteenth-Century British literature. His specialization in literary theory is psychoanalytic criticism and theory, particularly Lacanian psychoanalysis, with further emphases on Milton and Eighteenth-Century British literature. Doc Gowdy is currently an adjunct assistant professor at Texas Woman’s University where he teaches various literature courses. His interest in writing is long standing, but aside from academic writing, his first novel, Captain Bonny Morgan: The Cassandra Prophesy is his first foray into fiction. Captain Bonny Morgan is based on archetypal themes and patterns from mythology, such as fairies, goddesses, and the Hero’s Journey, and based loosely on Doc Gowdy’s active duty service in the United States Marine Corps with special emphasis on the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean at the turn of the Eighteenth-Century.

My Facebook page is listed under Robert Gowdy.

Shades of Death - Trailer



Available in PRINT at Amazon.com or
Solstice Publishing

Also available in
eBook Format

Monday, May 24, 2010

Guest: ANGELA KAY AUSTIN

Please welcome my lovely guest today, the very sweet and talented author Angela Kay Austin...

I don’t know how many times over the past twenty years I’ve written, edited, and submitted to agents, or publishers: big and small. I kept (and still keep) a record of submissions, and of course of the rejection letters received. I used to grade my progress by the lack of formality to the rejection letters. Meaning, if I received hand written notes or requests to resubmit as progress. I look back at some of my query letters and marvel at the errors both grammatical and in my story descriptions. Wow. How did I ever have the nerve to keep going?

Frankly, I’d given up. I’d given up because of so many reasons, but I kept writing. Somewhere along the line I bumped into critique partners who offered enough positive feedback that I got a second wind. That second wind lead me to several writing groups until I made it to the Washington Romance Writers where I met a fabulous group of people that have helped me achieve my dream of becoming a published author.

Love’s Chance my first release from Red Rose Publishing remained on the RRP Bestseller list for ten weeks! My first review outside of my editors and critique partners came from a reader who reached out to me through my website to tell me how much she loved reading the story of Sinclair Mosley and Chance O’Malley. The fact that that reader reached out to me warmed my heart, and made me feel like WOW, this is why I do this. Now, of course since that time I’ve received all sorts of reviews, like any author, but that one reader sealed my destiny.

Thank you, Denyse, for allowing me to visit again!



Love’s Chance released February 11th from Red Rose Publishing. It can be found at Red Rose Publishing.com or Amazon.com

Blurb: To pay back her parents and prevent the loss of their family business, Sinclair Mosley leaves her family and friends behind. Pennsylvania doesn’t welcome her with open arms, but Chance O’Malley does. At the risk of losing everything that brought her to Pennsylvania, including her family’s restaurant, Sinclair must decide if she’s willing to take a chance on love.

The following excerpt is from Love’s Chance, I hope that you enjoy it.

Chance pulled out a chair beside Sinclair and sat. He leaned back and rested his arm across the back of her chair. His thigh touched hers underneath the table. “Your presentation was really good. I think you were the only one who actually kept to the time limit.” He ran a hand across his military hair cut. “How long was Raquel up there? Forty-five minutes.”

She could feel her cheeks redden due to his nearness. “I think so.”

Chance’s look fixed on something across the room; he shifted in his seat. His body leaned closer to hers. “So, when are you leaving? I’ll walk you to your car.”

She followed his stare. Raquel Dickinson, Bakery Category Manager, stalked in their direction. Her broad, angry movements destroyed the effect of the body hugging dress she wore. Reddish blonde hair flowed like untamed fire over bare shoulders.

Sinclair searched the room for her boss, Daniel Houser. She caught a glimpse of his back as he and his wife slipped out of the dining hall. As the breath escaped her, her shoulders slumped. Not so much as a pat on the back or job well done. For some reason, he spent as little time as possible around her. He wasn’t a bad guy, but he definitely was not the ‘go to’ guy in case of emergency. “It looks like I can leave at any time.”

Chance stood, and pulled out Sinclair’s chair. “Let’s go.”

Raquel reached their table before they could leave. “Calling it a night so early?”

He stood between the two women, and reached for Sinclair’s hand to help her stand. “Yeah Raquel it’s been a long night, and I’ve got a meeting in the morning.”

Raquel leaned around Chance. “Sinclair, do you mind if I walk out with the two of you?”

“Of course not. Are you ready?”

Chance released Sinclair’s hand, but walked closely behind. “Raquel, where did you park?”

She snaked her arm around his. “Next to your truck.”

“And Sinclair what about you?”

“I am on the other side of the lot. You really don’t have to walk me all of the way.”

“Sinclair, Chance and I would not dream of letting you walk to your car alone.” Raquel rubbed her hand up and down Chance’s arm, and looked up into his eyes. “Would we Chance?”

Chance stopped underneath the awning in front of the banquet hall. “Sinclair, wait here. Come on Raquel.” Chance and Raquel walked into the night toward their cars.

Sinclair didn’t wait; she headed in the direction of her car. Footsteps behind her caught her attention.

“Sinclair. Stop.” Chance’s voice was stern. He blocked her path. “I asked you to wait.”

“I know, but I didn’t want to be any trouble. You and Raquel…you seemed—”

“We seemed what? If you have a question, ask it.” His stare was amplified by his silence.

She had questions, but they didn’t matter. She shook her head from side to side. “No. It’s really none of my business.”

“None of your business?” Chance walked slow and close.

“No. You and Raquel have your own thing.”

“We do have a history, Sinclair, but—”

Sinclair stopped at her car door. “But it’s none of my business.”

Chance stepped in closer. “What if I want that to change?”

She took a step back. “It couldn’t”

He stepped back, and stared. “It couldn’t or you wouldn’t let it?”

“Chance, I can’t.” She turned to open her car door. “Thanks for walking me to my car.” She stepped back to open the door, for a moment her body fit into his. She slid into her car, and shut the door behind her.

You can visit Angela on her various sites here:

http://www.angelakayaustin.com/
www.Facebook.com/AngelaKayAustin
www.MySpace.com/AngelaKayAustin
www.Twitter.com/AngelaKayAustin

Friday, May 14, 2010

RETRIBUTION: Silent Death

I'm really excited about this one - it's a hot thriller, with a very sexy hero..... my debut with Noble Romance Publishing, so I hope you'll drop by and check it out! Here's an excerpt.... not erotic, but there's plenty of sexy action in the story, believe me!!! I have posted a hot excerpt over at my Facebook Fan Page, though.... ;) Check the sidebar for the link.



RETRIBUTION: Silent Death
Genre: Action/Thriller/Erotic
Publisher: Noble Romance
Cover: Fiona Jayde

BLURB:

Adam Walker is one of the Company’s best field agents, a highly trained, well-honed killing machine when that’s what’s needed. But, he’s also a man of many secrets, and one of them is that he’s a ninja, one of Japan’s mythical death warriors. When another of Adam’s secrets, his lover Kiku, is killed, he turns to the one person he trusts, fellow agent Shainna Barton. While Shainna covers for him on a mission, Adam metes out his revenge, and discovers that his friendship with Shainna has a much deeper meaning that either of them ever realized…

EXCERPT:

Adam's steps were sure and silent as he made his way to the rear of the small theater. Exhaustion consumed him, but the residue of rushing adrenaline afforded his body a moment of false energy. Successful in yet another assignment—when the body turned up with the stolen files, there'd be no questions asked. Business as usual.

Still, the timing had been off, and there'd been no time to warn Kiku to stay at home. Uneasiness whispered inside him again, as it had for most of the past hour. Not for the first time during recent weeks, though . . . . He wondered if it had been wise to reject her desire to take their relationship to a more intimate involvement. Loving Kiku was as natural to him as breathing. But being her lover was something he hadn't honestly considered. Not until she'd brought it to his attention.

Why he hadn't noticed her love changing to passion baffled him now, as he thought about it. He'd told her intimacy of that kind would create distractions within his mind—the kind that might one day get them both killed. She'd been skeptical, though uncharacteristically reticent about explaining why, when he questioned her quick acceptance of his decision.

He thrust the doubts aside as he reached her office and entered. As always, the closet-like room appeared in complete chaos. An organized mess, she called it. He crossed the short space and picked up the phone as he settled on the edge of her desk. He was about to dial her home number when a flicker of movement drew his attention to the small, private parking lot separating the theater from a large apartment building next door. Adam slipped the receiver into its cradle and moved to stand in the shadows next to the small window behind her desk.

He spotted Kiku's nearly naked body and he froze. Instinct guided him as fear and rage surged through him. Reaching beyond the haze of tumultuous emotions, he drew on his training. A careful look at Kiku told him she was dead . . . her neck broken. Again, the flicker of shadows betrayed a presence. He waited. Seconds passed, so drawn out by tension they felt like hours, but one-by-one he saw each figure with striking clarity. And in that brief instant, each of the five faces was burned indelibly into his memory. He knew one of them by name, and recognized the others as students of Caisson's dojo. The heavy weight of the gun under his left arm all but spoke to him the alluring suggestion to pull the weapon and use it was so tempting. Adam had to force himself to resist using his weapon, a task made all the more difficult when Caisson bent over Kiku and placed a mocking kiss on her forehead.

He tore his gaze away, no longer trusting his ability to control his grief-enhanced rage. As he leaned against the wall, he realized he'd been holding his breath. Slowly, he exhaled, shaking uncontrollably despite his imposed strength of will.

When the wracking spasms of anguish subsided, he emerged from the theater's office and left without looking back.

* * * * *

Less than half an hour later, Adam slipped into Kiku's small flat. Like her office, it was in disarray, although not to the same exaggerated extent. He did a thorough, systematic search of the entire four rooms, removing every trace of his presence in her life. The items were few, for he seldom left even the smallest of articles behind. No photographs of them to be found, together or individually, a house rule they'd agreed to years earlier.

Hovering in the doorway, he took one final look at the place. It was so much like her, he thought, inhaling the light residue of sandalwood incense in the air. Books on every subject to satisfy her insatiable thirst for knowledge were strewn about, along with old theater posters, exotically painted masques, and cassettes and CDs in various languages. Despite his protestations, a map hung on the wall, dotted with postcards from the countries they'd traveled together. He hesitated for a moment then decided to collect the cards and destroy the map.

When he finished, he locked the door and turned his back on this place, too. Kiku would have expected nothing less from him.

* * * * *

Shainna Barton sighed in weariness as she kicked open the door to her apartment to drag her luggage inside. She'd been out of the country for over a month this time, and home seemed more appealing than she would have thought possible. She was growing tired in more ways than one.

A quick slam and the door shut firmly, leaving her in the silent, air-conditioned sanctuary she'd bought only a year before, a purchase she'd recognized as the first step toward her accepting pending retirement from the field.

She'd called home the night before, and her oldest and dearest friend had opened the apartment and stocked the cupboards for her. DeeDee Caulwell was one of the few constants in Shainna's life. She honestly didn't know what she'd do without her.

The phone rang. She stole a glance at the caller ID. Dee. Shainna dropped her shoulder bag and flopped into a chair as she grabbed the phone. The worry in DeeDee's voice hit before the actual words, and Shainna automatically reached for the TV remote control to turn on the news report her friend was going on about with such dread. The reporter's words ran together as Shainna's world twisted wildly on its axis. Her pulse roared so loud in her ears she barely heard DeeDee say she was on her way over.

* * * * *

From her window seat, Shainna looked out at the night sky. Her chill had very little to do with the air-conditioned air. The ice reached into her soul and expanded outward to her quivering limbs. She wasn't prone to infatuation, never had been, but there was something almost obsessive in her passion for Adam Walker. They were friends; the relationship worked for them. But Shainna had realized, long ago, the hunger she felt in Adam's company had precious little to do with being friends. If she'd been less honest, she would have hated Kiku Shimoda, simply for being the love in Walker's life. But Shainna was too much a realist to pretend the other woman was the reason Adam didn't love her.

She sighed and closed her eyes, letting her head thump gently against the wall at her back. Adam's amazing topaz eyes came into focus so quickly she was startled to discover he wasn't next to her. She could feel him, though. All around her. Inside her heart. His pain was agonizing—and total. He was out there, and by now, he knew.

"What are you going to do, Adam?" She asked the question aloud, as was her custom when working possible angles to a puzzle. She shivered when the answer, like a cold caress, brushed her consciousness—a promise of mayhem and death—as if Adam had spoken directly into her mind. They'd been connected on some level for what felt like forever. And in that moment, she wondered if he'd actually heard her and responded.

Before the odd thought could create another conundrum for her to ponder, she was distracted by a knock at the door. She crossed the room and opened the door, breathing a thankful sigh at the sight of her friend.

"Are you all right?"

She shut the door as DeeDee glided past, shedding her coat and tossing it into a chair before she turned to Shainna.

"I'm still trying to take in what's happened." Shainna confessed. "This is going to destroy Adam. Especially when he finds out what the press is reporting. I don't even know where to find him, Dee!"

"Maybe that's for the best." DeeDee's features showed visible concern.

Adam Walker was always a touchy subject between them, and the gentle censure in her friend's voice made Shainna's temper flare.

"Okay, Shain." DeeDee held up her hands in a gesture of surrender before Shainna had time to snap. "Truce. Back off. What are you planning, anyway?"

"If I know Adam, he's going to find who did this." She paced, chewed her thumbnail, and tried to make her brain function past her fear for the man. Kiku was the world to Adam, and Shainna knew—via the Division grapevine—the two had been a solid couple for some time. Whether or not the rumors were based on truth wasn't relevant to her heart. She'd tried not to resent Kiku for Adam's lack of interest, but it hadn't been easy when every part of her spirit and body cried for the man in ways she wished rather to never have experienced.

"And . . . ." She finally added. "He's going to make them pay for what they did to her—in blood."

"That sounds like Adam," DeeDee agreed, her tone reflecting her dislike and her near contempt for the man they discussed.

"Why do you hate him so much?"

Startled, DeeDee didn't answer for a moment, then she laughed. "I hate what he does to you. Adam himself means nothing to me. I know you'd walk through hell for him, and he wouldn't have to ask you to do it. What would he do for you, Shain?"

"The same thing if I needed him."

"You're so certain of that. Why?"

"Because he's Adam. Because what exists between us is a lot deeper than simply trusting another agent with your back."

"What happened in Italy last year?" DeeDee asked. "You've never said much, but something changed between you and Adam on that mission."

"Yeah, we took our last day and went sight-seeing like normal people. I got drunk and told him I loved him. We blamed the wine the next day, and pretended it never happened."

"What did he say?"

"I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies."

DeeDee's frown of confusion made Shainna laugh. "It's a quote we found earlier that day, a 15th century Italian poet called Pietro Aretino wrote it. Adam told me we were friends, there was no room for anything else between us."

"But he's always willing to ask you to risk your life for him!"

"It's my job, Dee. And his!"

"Not this time. This time it's personal, so you should stay out of it."

"How am I supposed to do that? He's going to need backup, and if I know Adam, he's going to make it clear he wants me."

"Doesn't mean Michael will agree." DeeDee reasoned. She'd been fidgeting and tidying up the apartment from the moment she'd started the conversation. Now, she stopped moving. "He does have some control over Adam."

Shainna laughed at DeeDee's careful words, barely recognizing the shrill, hysterical edge that turned the sound brittle. "No one controls Adam," she said, barely above a whisper. "Michael knows that better than anyone."

"So, what are you going to do?"

Shainna trembled. "Wait." She returned to the window and stared into the night once again. "I'm going to wait for him. What else can I do?"


BUY IT HERE

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wendy Wax is back!!

I am happy to announce that THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER is being published as a mass market paperback for the first time on May 25th –just in time for readers to pop into their beach bags this summer!

How is Wendy celebrating? With her Match the Cover Contest!

Please let your readers know!

Readers should send Wendy a shot of themselves reading The Accidental Bestseller on the beach—any beach—by August 1st and they’ll be entered in a drawing for a beach bag of books by some of her favorite writers!

They visit www.authorwendywax.com click on ‘Join Wendy's email list,’ fill in the form, attach their photo, and hit 'submit' to enter.

Photos will also be posted on Wendy's Facebook page. Readers should be sure to friend Wendy so that they can see their shot!

I hope that you'll share the news of Match the Cover Contest and that one of the winners is from your site!

Also, please let me know if your interested in hosting Wendy for a guest blog or Q&A or would like to receive more information on The Accidental Bestseller.


Thank you for your support of Wendy. It is truly appreciated.

P.S.

Magnolia Wednesdays is out on bookshelves now and we are delighted by the great reviews it has been receiving. It has been described as, “an honest, realistic story of family, love, and priorities with genuine characters” by Booklist. Publishers Weekly proclaims that Vivien is “an easy protagonist to love.”


Sunday, May 09, 2010

ROGUES: A review by R.L. Stuemke

ROGUES
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
BUY IT HERE
Adventure Fantasy/Romance (mildly erotic)
Cover by: Dara England
Model: Jimmy Thomas

Three stories, one kind of hero, pirates anyone? Includes the short stories Angel-Fire, Storm-Singer, and The Phantom’s Lair… Historical adventure, and the darker mystery of an ageless vampire who keeps a witch at his side, his protector and his lover through eternity...

A review by R.L. Stuemke

I suspect this is a common occurrence among movie-goers: we see a movie, and find ourselves drawn very, very deeply into its universe, especially the characters – or at least, one character. Drawn in so much, in fact, that we begin to wonder, what made this person? What influenced his or her personality? What didn’t the film tell us? And we create our own explanations, our own theories.

Occasionally, a certain film character invades a writer’s being so strongly that it will end up being adapted for original fiction. For author Denyse Bridger, it is quite obvious that this happened when she met Captain Jack Sparrow, in the three ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films. The first two stories in her pirate anthology, ‘Rogues’, concern pirate caption Jack Stanton, who for all his similarities to Sparrow, still takes on his own personality.

For one thing, there is very little of the supernatural or paranormal in either ‘Angel Fire’ or ‘Phantom’s Lair’. There are pirates, in the Caribbean, and you may hear a familiar accent in the dialogue, but the stories are both quite original. In ‘Angel Fire’, Jack Stanton, stranded in Nassau without a ship of his own, has engaged himself for yet another night with a beautiful, sexy gypsy named Angelique. Expecting the usual purely physical adventure, he isn’t prepared for what Angelique does to him, and is totally surprised when he begins to have very intense, drug-induced, visions.

First, he sees the past, haunting, painful memories, but then things move forward, showing him people he has never met, and at least one person he thought was dead, old friend Commodore Barkley. One convenient scandal cost him that friendship, turning Barkley into an opponent instead. Could Edward possibly still be alive?

Then, the here and now shows up, very loudly – Angelique’s husband, a very large, very angry brute, storming up toward his wife’s room – and Jack has to make a rapid exit. He finds a safe bed for the rest of the night in a different tavern, but realizes it’s time to get out of Nassau, and not just to get away from the angry husband. Aha, an old acquaintance has just docked her sloop; could that provide him with transportation? Will it get him to Tortuga, his chosen destination, or will the notoriously unpredictable weather of the Caribbean lead him even further astray?

‘Phantom’s Lair’ picks up an undefined length of time after ‘Angel Fire’. Jack has managed to get his ship back again, but he still remembers his visions and wants his questions answered. His ship also needs some pretty extensive repairs. So Jack ends up on Tortuga, beached on a quiet stretch of shoreline some distance from the notorious port. Here, hopefully he can stay out of the way of Commodore Barkley, definitely still alive, whose own Royal Navy vessel can be seen in port.

Barkley escorted the new Deputy Governor, Joseph Hollinsworth III, and his daughter, the beautiful, headstrong, independent Katheryn, to Tortuga. Hollinsworth was sent here quite specifically to target the pirates who are well known to use the island. Katheryn finds everything about Tortuga fascinating, including the pirates. Barkley is usually quite diligent about hunting the scoundrels, but seems to make an exception for Jack Stanton, now known as ‘The Phantom’.

“[Jack had] had a tentative truce with Barkley for some time now. Edward ‘officially’ hunted him, but never quite caught him. Jack, for his part, seldom did anything that was wholly loathsome enough to warrant a change in their understanding. And, as [Ship’s Mate] O’Hara had just pointed out, there was a time when they had been as close as brothers. The respect between them was genuine, despite the drastic difference in their chosen paths. Barkley had been one of his few allies when he’d been summarily dismissed from the ranks of the Royal Navy years earlier.”

We learn a lot about Jack’s background in ‘The Phantom’s Lair’: how and why he became a pirate, how he lost his late wife AND his ship, to Lucien deBeaupre, now an enemy for life. Along the way, Jack saves Katheryn Hollinsworth from a street attacker and they both recognize a strong attraction. Then, Jack finds out that deBeaupre and his ship, the Fury, are in the area, and he takes his rebuilt Scarlet Thorn off in pursuit. You will need to read the story to learn how that chase goes, and how both Katheryn and Barkley get involved; I can guarantee you’ll enjoy all the action involved.

But that’s not the actual ‘climax’ of this story, which comes when they get back to Tortuga. Katheryn convinces her father that she should have her own residence – an isolated house known, conveniently, as The Phantom’s Lair’ – and she invites Jack to meet with her there. The romance becomes hot, very fast, and its portrayal is extremely well-written, warm and charming, building up to erotic.

"I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this,” she acknowledged in a quiet murmur…. “I want to be your lover, Jack.”

“Katheryn, you have to be certain,” he pressed. “There are men who’ll brand you a whore, or worse, especially any you might later choose to marry.”

“I don’t care, Jack.”

Jack hesitated for another moment, until her hips moved into his, then he caught her mouth in a kiss that conveyed exactly how much he wanted her. The surge of desire that swept through him left him trembling against the curvaceous body pressed so tightly to his and he had to pull back enough to gasp air into his lungs. Her breathing was easily as strained as his, and Jack smiled into the silken hair beneath his chin as he held her to him. The second time he claimed her tempting lips, his caress was gentle and exploring. His hands dropped to her slender waist, then began to glide upward over the lithe muscles of her back, as his tongue entwined with hers, tasting again the warmth that had taunted him so often in his daydreaming. She was clinging to him and he answered the restless thrust of her hips with his own movement, pleased at the shudder of response that rippled through her.”

That is just the beginning of their physical relationship, which gets hotter by the paragraph! So, is there a final resolution? Will Katheryn be able to persuade her father to help clear Jack’s name? Will Edward Barkley help them? Oh, there are plenty of questions, some of which are not completely answered by the end of the story, which begs one final question: Denyse, will we ever find out how what actually happens to Katheryn Hollinsworth, Edward Barkley, and, most importantly, Captain Jack Stanton? Of course, you realize she could give us the answer in a completely unexpected way!

Now, step away from the Caribbean. From Earth, actually. The third story in Denyse’s pirate anthology is completely different, and completely original. ‘Storm Singer’ is erotic dark fantasy, taking place in the Rim Rocques, a world of separate island kingdoms whose trading ships are constantly threatened by the pirate lord Jaden of the Isle of Nyx. Jaden is not simply a pirate, he is a very powerful vampire, allied to Arrah, the Storm Singer, a beautiful were-witch. As the story opens, the alliance of the Rim nations is planning a mysterious attack on Jaden, with a young princess volunteering to sacrifice herself for the goal of destroying this enemy.

Ordinarily, in the majority of stories with this general theme, the emphasis would be on the ‘heroic’ efforts of Princess Sarita. In ‘Storm Singer’, however, the emphasis is almost totally on Jaden and Arrah, and their strangely potent love-hate relationship. So instead of sympathizing with Sarita, you care more about, well, I guess I have to call them the villains. Their romance definitely grabs your interest from the very start.

“Arrah contained her wrath, pushed it into the darkest corner of her soul, as she concentrated on the binding harmony she was weaving with the winds. Power surged within her, and she breathed in the sweet, pure essence of earth-force, captivated now by the mystical rapture that the music stirred and sent spiraling into the night.

Waves rose and battered the ebony shores of the Isle of Nyx, their crashing voice another rhythm of power in the enchantment. The winds coalesced, added their resonant wail to the euphony of sounds that filled the air, and she shuddered, savage spirit attuned to the maelstrom of forces that engulfed her. She shifted the tone of her song, weaving greater torrents of madness into the music, and the night darkened further.

With the blackness came vision.

And Jaden.”

And to continue this intriguing relationship, which is the strength of the story:

“The ties that bound them were complex and often intangible, It was rare that Jaden entered into physical contact with her, their natures were too much alike at times, and they had, on occasion, actually hurt each other in their hungry passion. Yet, each time he did come to her in his corporeal form, her heart felt like it grew wings.
Dark, ebony eyes filled her vision, the expression in the Shadowy depths one of expectancy and mild amusement. One perfect eyebrow rose, emphasizing the wordless anticipation of her reaction.

“Jaden!”

He caught her, held her pressed firmly to him. His hands tangled in the long, wet strands of red and black hair that streamed over her shoulders in disarray. He ached for her in a way he hadn’t known possible before her, and the brief taste of her blood, and her love, had only teased his hunger, not sated it. He picked her up and carried her into the nearby bedchamber.”

Jaden and Arrah’s devotion to each other makes you take their side, and pray not for Sarita’s success, but her failure – despite a natural sympathy for her doomed crew. Oh, you will feel some sympathy for the young princess too, especially when you realize how she is being used, but you still do not want to see Jaden defeated, and Arrah left alone. If it is not possible for both Jaden and Sarita to survive, who would you choose?

Exactly what is the nature of Sarita’s sacrifice? Her trap is devious and powerful, taking advantage of Jaden’s greatest weakness. Can Arrah’s powers counter those the princess has been granted? Who will survive this contest? Learn the answers to these questions, and through Denyse’s beautiful language, feel the emotional and physical power that keeps bringing Jaden and Arrah together.

There. Hopefully, I’ve given you plenty of reasons to get hold of ‘Rogues’, by Denyse Bridger – all three stories will grab you, in different but equally powerful ways. Use this link to get your own copy: http://solsticepublishing.com/rogues-p-7.html

Friday, May 07, 2010

True Lies with Denyse Bridger: A Blog Award & Contest!


This week I was nominated via The Pen & Muse Blog for the Creative Writer Blogger Award. Thanks to Denise Alicea of the Pen & Muse for the great nomination! Thank you so much for this honour, Denise - I think?

This award requires me to tell some lies and have you try to guess which one is correct. If you win, I will give away a beautiful surprise gift!

My True Lies

1) I am an internationally published author.

2) I know Jimmy Thomas, sexy cover model, and have publicly stated that I have adopted him as my kid brother.

3) I have met and maintain friendships with many famous people.

4) I am madly in love with the most romantic country in the world - Italy.

5) I'm a huge fan of Donny Osmond and David Cassidy.

6) I own all technology under the sun, and am proficient in the use of it all!

7) I have written songs and have had at least one recorded.


Now to Pass the torch to 7 new bloggers/writers who will have to continue this burden of telling their own lies as well as passing the torch to 7 other people!

1) A.F. Stewart - wonderful and talented author!

2) Antonia Tiranth - My fabulous Dragon-Lady!

3) Brigit Aine - A good friend and such an inspiration with her many projects!

4) Colleen Love - I love Colleen, her wonderful stories and her incredible spirit.

5) Ellen Ashe - A special lady with great talent, as well as a very good friend!

6) Keta Diablo - Another great author with tons of great stories.

7) CJ England - Terrific lady, author, and friend.

Breaking Bread in L'Aquila


BUY THE BOOK HERE


About the Author - Maria Filice

Maria Filice, a first-time author, food stylist & food blogger, is a first-generation Canadian-American Italian. Born & raised by immigrant parents from Calabria, Maria grew up following her family's old-country, old-school values. She learned from the best; her mother, grandmother, and aunts, whom she watched from the time she could barely walk. Filice traveled many times to L'Aquila, the hometown of her late husband, Paul Piccone. READ MORE

About the Book

49 colourful and easy to prepare recipes, many inspired by the restaurant San Biagio in the center of L'Aquila, where the author was able to taste the traditional cuisine of L'Aquila and be consistently impressed by the freshness, purity and the incredible flavour of the regional produce. This delightful book provides not only a culinary guide organised into days of the week, but also an insight into the story of a personal journey through one of the most beautiful, uncorrupted and undiscovered of rural Italy's landscapes.

About the Event

Join Life in Abruzzo and many others for the Breaking Bread in L'Aquila Italian book launch, with author Maria Filice in attendance, and bring a friend! The launch will be hosted by renowned Italian food critic Antonio Paolini, writer for Il Messaggero.

Saturday, May 15th 2010 at 5pm, at the Sextantio Hotel, Via Principe Umberto, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, 67020 (AQ) Italy. For further information about the event or accomodation please contact: Sig. Giovanni Pacifico, Tel. +39 0862 899 112 & Mobile +39 348 240 2967, or email.

RSVP to lifeinabruzzo

http://www.lifeinabruzzo.com/
© Life in Abruzzo

Life in Abruzzo, Bascianella, 64042 TE, Abruzzo, Italy


* Reposted with Permission *

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Discussing vampires with Angela Kay Austin


Comment function is now LIVE - so please drop by.... Also - SHADES OF DEATH IS GOING TO PRINT!!! I've been working on it today with the publisher, and I've seen the wrap-around cover - it's looking great!!


Denyse Bridger discusses vampires @ Angela Kay Austin's Romancing the Pen
Author Denyse Bridger discusses how she's used legend, murder, and romance to develop the plot for her latest work of fiction SHADES OF DEATH.

If you'd like to see how Denyse used years of research to pull together this magnificent read visit Angela Kay Austin's Romancing the Pen. If you'd like to read the first chapter of the story, visit Denyse Bridger.

If you would like to purchase a copy today, click SHADES OF DEATH.


A primordial evil has awakened. As lovers unite and race to unravel ancient mysteries, a deadly game begins, but who hunts whom? Find out in this exciting adventure....

SHADES OF DEATH
Genre: Horror/vampires/ thriller/ romance
Page Count: 305 (short novel)
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
BUY: http://solsticepublishing.com/shades-of-death-p-6.html


BLURB:

Deep within the ageless Carpathian Mountains , an ancient evil wakes. Imprisoned many centuries ago, the creature has waited, patiently, for the one destined to grant her freedom.

Arienne Lereaux has studied the preternatural menace called "vampyre" for most of her life. She is an expert in the field. Loosely affiliated with a secretive organization called The Institute of Paranormal Research and Investigation, she turns to them when she unearths what may be the first representation of the vampyre ever to exist.

The enigmatic and attractive Head of the Institute, Adam Raven, has spent a lifetime tracking the clues left by his mother's disappearance in the mountains of Romania nearly twenty years past. When Arienne arrives at the secluded island headquarters of the Institute, he wonders if she holds the key to finding his lost mother. But before too many days pass, the city of Vancouver is rocked by a series of grisly murders. As it races to find the culprit, the Institute faces an evil unlike any it has encountered before...

In the middle of their hunt, another branch of their network is making a scientific breakthrough in genetically heightened telepathy. The team responsible may soon hold a weapon that will have world powers at their door—until their lead scientist vanishes after leaving Toronto to consult Raven and his people. Ancient myth is suddenly not myth, and evil may take many guises before the Institute can restore the delicate balance that was destroyed the night Arienne stumbled into a remote castle in the mountains half a world away…


ROYAL CONSORT
Available from Solstice Publishing:
http://solsticepublishing.com/royal-consort-p-8.html
Genre: Epic fantasy/adventure/erotic romance

Blurb:

On the fantasy world of Foress, the daughter of the world’s last remaining god is challenged to locate one of the ancient swords that were forged as the Triad of Power among the once-powerful gods. Sherindal is a skilled warrior, but a woman with many conflicts in her heart. She has spent her life in the service of her father, the god M’Har, yet it is not she who will wield the most powerful of the swords. Diviner is to be her brother’s destiny, even though she is certain the legacy should be hers. Sherindal carries another of the three ancient weapons, Huntor. The final part of the triad is to be held by the hands of men, and her lover, the Prince of Ember City, is the guardian of Predator.

ROGUES
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
BUY: http://solsticepublishing.com/rogues-p-7.html
Genre: Adventure Fantasy/Romance (erotic)
Cover by: Dara England
Model: Jimmy Thomas

Three stories, one kind of hero, pirates anyone? Includes the short stories Angel-Fire, Storm-Singer, and The Phantom’s Lair… Historical adventure, and the darker mystery of an ageless vampire who keeps a witch at his side, his protector and his lover through eternity...

Angel-Fire: A short intro to the world of Captain Jack Stanton, an honourable man with a tarnished reputation. Stranded in Nassau, caught up in a pleasant interlude with a barmaid, Jack has a vision that will lead him to his past and his future, if he can survive to get back Tortuga to discover what it all means…

Storm-Singer: The Isle of Nyx has become the dread of all sailors who must dare the waters surrounding the mythical island. Local legends say a vampire prince resides in the ancient castle that can be seen from the harbor of the island. At his side is a powerful sorceress whose song can control and summon storms.

In a desperate attempt to end the eternal threat looming over them, the people of the Aurora Islands sacrifice their greatest treasure, the princess Sarita, entrusting her with the task of seducing and destroying the dark prince who has been plundering their wealth and their people for centuries?

The Phantom’s Lair: Upon her arrival in the pirate port of Tortuga where her father is acting as Governor, Katheryn Hollinsworth is determined to choose her own path, and follow her heart wherever it may take her. On the streets of Puerta de la Plata, she encounters the mythical buccaneer known as The Phantom, and very quickly loses her heart to the handsome rogue.

Jack Stanton is a man who has never fully come to terms with his past, and in the Governor's pretty daughter he finds a most unlikely champion. But when his past threatens her life, and any chance of a respectable future, The Phantom must face the demons of his past, and accept the dictates of his own reawakened heart...

Previous Reviews for Storm-Singer and The Phantom’s Lair:

The Phantom’s Lair:

4 Stars - A fast-paced story in what I hope is the first of a series. This is the perfect book for all the pirate lovers out there. Jack Stanton is a handsome rogue that can’t but help the innocents and downtrodden. He is honorable, quick witted, and to die for in bed. Katheryn is a strong-willed young lady that will not let convention rule her. The sparks fly between these two from the first meeting and each encounter gets a little hotter. It is probably a good thing that there wasn’t a volcano on the island or it might have blown up. As I said in the beginning, I am hoping that this is part of a series since the book ends in a way that leaves lots of questions unanswered.

—Oleta M Blaylock, Just Erotic Romance Reviews

4 Cups - A wonderful tale with the sea as a backdrop. Full of action and seduction, this short story will have you riveted until the very end. A wonderful story.

—Laura, Coffee Time Romance

4 Angels - Denyse M. Bridger has written a short story about facing the past in order to have a future. Katheryn?s desire to live her life as she chooses adds a nice twist to this story. Jack is an honorable man whose life has become something other than he planned. Jack will find himself making some hard decisions in regards to Katheryn?s safety and their hearts. The chemistry between Jack and Katheryn is instant, but the passion that follows is both breathtaking and touching...A touching pirate story for anyone that likes one about the slightly bad guy getting the good girl.

—Jessica, Fallen Angels Reviews

4 Roses - Jack is a yummy hero and Katheryn is my type of heroine?feisty and not afraid to go after what she wants! Denyse M. Bridger has written a very enjoyable read!

—Pam L., A Romance Review

Storm-Singer:

4 Cups - A tight story full of the undeniable lust of vampires. Their violent couplings add a sense of passion harnessed by sheer will. The hero is dark, but needy, in his pursuit of life?s essence, while the heroine aids her lover by seeking that which could destroy him. They are both master and slave to each other in their love. The storyline captured my attention and would not let up until I had finished.

—Katherine L. Hunt, Coffee Time Romance

4 Angels - A very quick journey into the Isle of Nyx with a vampire to lust after. Jaden is a very hot, sexy man who easily takes his victims while pillaging for more wealth. Sarita is a brave young woman who knows her people?s fate rests in her hands. Arrah is protective of Jaden but allows him to play with his victims, although she would never permit harm to come to him. All three characters are brought to life in this short tale...Denyse M. Bridger definitely packs a punch with this short, erotic story and this reviewer would love to read a longer tale about Jaden and his illustrious Arrah.

—JoAnn, Fallen Angel Reviews

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A.F. Stewart: Bringing Historical Fantasy To Life

Please welcome my guest today, A.F. Stewart, a fellow Canadian fantasy author...

Bringing historical fantasy to life.

Many of my fantasy books and stories have a historical backdrop, which gives me, as the writer, two problems to overcome: creating a world of fantasy and re-creating an era in history. I have to meld known facts with myth, folklore, and imagination into one credible, fictional world.

So how do I create a convincing world from dry dusty facts and fanciful myth? How do I turn my ideas and research into a living, breathing historical place complete with imaginary fantasy elements?

For me, it’s all about balancing the unknown with the familiar, not bogging my plot points down in minutiae and using the dialogue, setting and characterization to weave the story.

Here are some of my tips.

Dialogue:

You need to create the tone of your book with the dialogue. Any historic fantasy will feature more formal, traditional dialogue. There will be no “cool dude” passages in the book. You also don’t want to “over flower” your dialogue; a simple suggestion of historical or old-fashioned words is sufficient.

Here’s an example from my story Harbinger:

“Perhaps he has put too much credence in the Celtic leaders and their superstitious magic, but we have all seen strange things here, in Britannia. There is nothing to say that the woman is not a witch.”

Setting:

To paint a scene that says history you have to decide which facts to use and which ones to chuck. It might be colourful to describe the inner workings of a Regency kitchen, but it could also slow the pace of the story with irrelevant facts. A good scene allows a picture to form in the mind of the reader, without boring or overwhelming them with details. Let the reader’s imagination fill in what you leave out.

Here’s a passage from my book Chronicles of the Undead that illustrates a Christmas scene, but uses few details:

The house is certainly festive, with the holly wreaths and the festooned greenery. Cook made a toothsome cake yesterday that was most palatable. No doubt she has more such delicacies to come.

Characterization:

Good, believable characters will ground the unfamiliar and fantastic elements for the reader, so they may connect with something recognizable. How a character acts and reacts can set an atmosphere. A person in a medieval fantasy will have different cultural values then someone living in the 19th century. Introduce a sparkling vampire into a historic novel and you are more likely to see a mob with pitchforks than a lovesick teenager.

The following scene from my story, Who Wants to Live Forever?, happens just before two new soldiers go into combat with a non-human species. Even though the setting is fantasy, the exchange could conceivably happen in any war:

“What’ll happen, then? Do you think it’ll be bad? I mean we’ll keep our heads down, stay in the back. We should be good. Yeah, we should be good.”

“Yeah, Salim, we should be good.” I smiled, but I didn’t mean the words. I don’t think he believed them, either.

So, that’s my advice. Hey, it works for me.



A. F. Stewart
Author
Shadows of Poetry
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