Home

Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest blog with Carol A. Strickland!!!

In the end…




I don't want to achieve immortality by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I want to achieve immortality by not dying.

—William De Morgan


Who hasn’t had a bad night worrying about death? Lately I’ve been dealing with aging parents, and it’s focused my own thoughts on death.

And immortality.

The thought of immortality has spawned so many religions. Novels and movies, too. The fear of death is huge, right there after “speaking in public.”




But I think that the idea of endlessly living while aging is kinda gross, so I vote for the always-beautiful, always-youthful kind. Where’s the voting machine?

Books like Lost Horizon gave us civilizations where immortality exists…as long as you stayed within city limits. Even Wonder Woman drank from the fountain of eternal life while she was home on Paradise Island. It was only when she ventured out to Man’s World that she found herself facing mortality.

Some people have to slice heads off to ensure their own life, like Connor MacLeod up there. That’s too messy for me!

The current vampire craze also ties into all this. Get bitten and be eternally beautiful and youthful. That’s assuming you were youthful and beautiful to begin with. Downside: all that biting, blood, drama-queen conflicts, and wooden stakes.

Science fiction gives us computers whose memories can have human personalities uploaded to them, creating immortality of a sort. If that computer lies within an android body, there’s your immortal semi-human beauty right there. Well, at least until you start to rust or hit 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.



I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of reincarnation, an immortality that we all are supposedly born with, no strings attached. When I was in high school I owned a recording of the first of the famous Bridey Murphy hypnosis sessions that revealed that an ordinary housewife had lived in Ireland during the 1800s. Though those sessions weren’t produced in a very scientific atmosphere and thus were somewhat debunked, there have been many, many others done through the years with more stringent standards, which has led to a fair amount of data that can be analyzed.

Recently I read Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives, by Michael Newton. It’s a fascinating book that takes his career of hypnosis cases and organizes typical reports of pre-life experiences, from death to a decision to be born again.

According to this, death is momentary; many people jump out of their body before dying can hurt too much. You find your freedom of movement (flying!) and energy again. Immaterial Elders give you a life review, you see friends you haven’t seen in years, and then you go off to rejoin a close-knit, playful and loving family that you were born into and will stay with for… well, forever. The entire universe is comprised of entities like you who are learning and growing, twining together as they evolve to help the Source make a great cosmos even better and more interesting.

As you consider your various lives, you determine areas in your personality that need strengthening, or perhaps things that you need to do in the physical world. You consult with Elders, your friends, and people you’ll be living with, and work out a plan of action. Then you jump down to Earth and are born.

According to all this, death is not to be feared. But don’t try to tell most folks that. Cosmetic surgeries abound as people attempt to regain their youth. We reach for drugs to make us feel healthier and stave off that hooded guy with the scythe and chessboard.



My latest book, Applesauce and Moonbeams, contains a sci fi society in which cosmetic surgeries are everyday procedures. People try to improve their “make,” or natural body-type, until they are deemed perfect by society’s standards. Which tend to change. Which lead to more surgeries.

Beyond a certain age even cosmetic surgery can’t help. At this point the people go in for a complete Rejuvenation, in which their bodies are taken apart, pieces grown and replaced as needed, and then they are sent on their merry way, young again.

Of course privileged pets get the treatment as well. On the cover is Jonathan, a 20-something cat who’s just regained his youth. And man, does he decide to take advantage not only of being agile and energetic, but of living on the moon, where he can jump six times as high and far as he could on Earth!

Only thing is, some human telepathic psychotherapist got his mind blasted into Jonathan’s body, so now there’s two of them in there. Not a pretty way to face immortality, is it?

If you had a chance at physical immortality, how do you think it would be achieved? Vampire or surgeon’s knife? Drugs? Mutation? Computerization? Magic? What would you do differently if you were immortal? (I’d immediately start a really good savings program.)

I’ll take the list of everyone who comments and draw a name for a free ebook.

Carol A. Strickland (remember that middle initial!) is the author of 4 published books and has a small handful more waiting on her hard drive to be polished and published. In addition to writing about strong women and strange worlds, she’s an award-winning arteest, and tries to make time for both endeavors after her regular 9-5 job is over. Needless to say, her house is a wreck.

Come check out her website at www.CarolAStrickland.com , where you can find more info, another contest, novel excerpts, artwork, and one of the Internet’s largest and most opinionated sites concerning Wonder Woman.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Interview of Tanith Davenport!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


I don’t have an official site but my blog is at tanithdavenport.blogspot.com. My debut novel The Hand He Dealt was released in June 2011 and in print in September 2011. I also write for Hitting the Hot Spot and Erotic Diaries, am co-editor for a regional magazine, and spend a lot of time working on short stories and my next novel-length piece.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

All of the above, although I will admit that dreams are my main inspiration. I tend to have very vivid dreams, which give me the opportunity of living through the more emotional scenes of my stories and also provide me with the more interesting twists.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

I listen to music. I’ve always wished I had the ability to write songs; a good song can inspire emotion so well, and I can honestly say I’ve been moved to tears by music far more often than by writing.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

Nobody yet, but I’m open to applications.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

Probably the most important workshop I attended was How To Get Published which the Writers’ Workshop held in London, as it was there that I met a book doctor whose advice contributed to my first novel being accepted for publication. I would also recommend the York Festival of Writing, which has a quite remarkable selection of workshops and pitch sessions available.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

That would be the above mentioned book doctor, Debi Alper. At the time I was trying to pitch my debut novel as women’s fiction. She advised me to pitch it as erotica instead, and four months later Total-e-Bound had offered me a contract. I did email her through her website to thank her and she responded with more guidance on marketing my work, which I’ve taken on board.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

All the time, in fact. The vast majority of stories I write will have at least one song underscoring it. I find music to be a great inspiration for the emotional side of writing.

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

Not usually while I write - I find it puts me off. I play music before I write to put me in the right mood, but I like to focus entirely on what I'm doing, be it listening or writing.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I read in many different genres. Oddly enough, most of the erotica I read is gay erotica, even though I don't tend to write it. I think it's because if I'm reading for enjoyment - so to speak - I prefer to picture men, while if I'm writing, I need to be writing from a female point of view.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

I write a brief outline with hooks to hang the story on, sketch a few characters, then dive straight in. As I go I tend to write story plans so I know where I'm going but frequently these will end up in the bin - I got through four plans on The Hand He Dealt. I've never been very good at just writing - I edit as I go, but never too much, so there's always plenty left to do when I finish.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I haven't had chance to give assistance to a new writer yet, as I'm still a very new writer myself. I have, however, been given guidance by some fellow writers for Total-e-Bound, invited into some private writing groups and had work requested by friends of fellow writers, all of which I'm very thankful for. Should the chance arise, I would be very happy to help out anyone I could.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Getting my debut novel published. It's a dream come true for me - I had been working on it for three years and knew how difficult it would be for a new writer to get a contract, so I owe a lot to Total-e-Bound for giving me that opportunity.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

Travel the world and buy a pink Cadillac Eldorado. Some of it would also go to Macmillan Cancer Support, who were a great help to my family during my father’s terminal illness.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Keep at it, finish the book - which many people don't do - and use all the resources you can find. I would never have got published if not for associations like the RNA or sites like BubbleCow.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

A cat. They do what they want, are constantly demanding, and yet are charismatic enough that everybody adores them. Those are qualities I don't have, sadly, but wish I did. My cat rules our house - he owns the place, we just live in it.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

For years I wanted to go into acting, so that would definitely be one career I'd like to try. I also would have enjoyed being a professional singer - I once had hopes of going into musical theatre and am classically trained, but sadly I can't dance, which is fairly necessary when starting out.

On a less glitzy level, I always fancied joining the RAF and becoming a pilot. I have various medical conditions which would have made that impossible, one of which being terrible eyesight - I've had laser eye surgery which has helped, but it left a scar on my cornea which means I still doubt I would pass the relevant eye tests.

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

I would like to take a driving tour of America. It might have to involve a few plane hops, since I'm told in some states you can drive for three days in a straight line and see nothing but one road and some grass, but it's something I've always wanted to do. I'm currently living vicariously through Billy Connolly on his "Route 66" show.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

In heroes, they need to be playful, adventurous and strongly masculine - I like to feel protected by a man, so that tends to come out in my heroes. Heroines need to be strong, intelligent and, most importantly, likeable, even when they're doing completely the wrong thing; you have to want them to get back onto the right path.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

The attitude towards erotica writers - I get tired of defending myself, of this assumption that we're all filthy whores, as if thriller writers go around committing murder and horror writers do ghastly things in private. And, on a lesser level, I'd make it more pleasant to fly on a plane. I love to travel, but I'm such a terrible flyer that by the time I get off the plane I look like my passport photo.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

I've often thought I would like to be able to freeze time. Partially this is because I never have enough time to do all I want to do, and partially because when someone gets on my nerves I have a sudden urge to freeze everything and pour a drink over their head.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Interview with Cynthia Arsuaga!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


My website is: http://cynthiaarsuaga.weebly.com/


Born to Be Wild

My Life as a Dog (co-authored with Mike Arsuaga, husband)

The Cougar and Her Vampire

Born to Play

Texas Heat

A Vampire in Paris (Release February 2012)

Cynthia resides in Orlando, Florida, the land of magic, surrounded by the treasured gems in her life, a caring, loving husband, dutiful and loyal daughter, and precious, delightful granddaughter. Oh and not to forget her mischievous Yorkshire Terrier, Thumper.

Cynthia was a “Navy Brat” calling a different port home every couple of years—from Southern California, to Boston, to Virginia, to Florida. She developed wandering feet and diverse interests and passionately incorporates those experiences into her stories, bringing characters to life, and eloquently sharing the vivid images of her mind with her audience.

Cynthia worked as a real estate broker for over twenty years before retiring to Florida. Until recently, then she turned to writing to stretch her creative muscle. Those ideas of faraway places and quirky characters lay dormant for years and finally demanded their story be told.

Cynthia plans on putting some mileage on those wandering feet and travel to exotic locations in the coming years.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?


Ideas come out of nowhere. LOL. I recently came up with a new story line by watching a commercial on the Science Channel. Other times I could be working on writing on one story and an idea for an entirely different character and scene pops into my head. I’ve been known to stop one and start another many times. My daughter keeps telling me to finish one story before starting another, but I can’t. I have to go with the flow when it hits.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

Walk away to clear my head.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

Don’t really have one, but I guess I could call my husband, Mike, my mentor. He offers suggestions and ways to polish my stories which has helped tremendously.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I’ve never attended or participated in one, so I can’t comment yea or nay on this question.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

I don’t know if I have one person who inspires me to write. I find great pride and joy in being able to put my ideas to paper. If I did have to say, I’d say my family—hubby, daughter, and granddaughter. They love me unconditionally and their support, ideas, and encouragement keep me going.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

All the time.

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

Smooth jazz all the way.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I like to read everything, non-fiction, fiction, all genres, I’m not discriminate. If the subject catches my eye, I’m in it. If I read something in the same genre as me, I don’t think it influences my writing. However, sometimes it triggers a new idea for a story-line which is always fun, but I try and make the story, characters, setting totally different. I think of as improving on an idea. LOL.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

I have an idea inspired by anything around me, hear about, etc. and kick the thought around in my head for a while and see if it is viable. If so, I write a chapter and see how it flows. I’ll put it down, work on something else, and go back to it later. I add bits and pieces until I’m ready to sit down and write to the end. I have a number of “WIPs” like this. About five right now.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

No and no. I’m still new at this myself, if anything, I need the help.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

That the first book sold! Now the second, third, fourth and hopefully the fifth book will do well and follow suit. Texas Heat comes out in a couple of weeks. The seventh doesn’t release until February 2012. A ways to go.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

First, I’d pay off the house mortgage, which is the only major debt we have, then set up trusts for the grandchildren, take a trip around the world, and finally give to the Cancer Society. What’s left, I’d invest.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Keep writing! The more you write, the better you get and the more you get your name out to the public.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

I love horses. Even owned two a few years back before the family retired and moved to Florida, but would I have one as a mascot? I would go smaller, probably a dog, a little one. Dogs give love and devotion unconditionally. We humans could learn a lot from them.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

I’ve worked for the government, been a color consultant, sewn custom clothes and design, real estate broker, part-owner of a manufacturing company in the hospitality industry—all rather diverse in nature. I can’t imagine doing anything else other than writing at this time. If I absolutely had to choose three careers to attempt: Own a small café and be the chef, professional photographer, and a fashion designer.

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

A trip around the world and then write about the adventure.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

For my heroes I like them to be dark, dangerous, and wounded by love from their past. They don’t necessarily have to be drop-dead gorgeous, a few flaws make them more likeable.

For my heroines, they are feisty, independent, but also have imperfections.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

Hunger and Cancer.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

A super power for a day, hmm, I’d like to have superspeed. My house is a mess and needs a good cleaning. If I started today, it would take me a couple of weeks. I’m talking windows, floors, ironing, sewing room, closets, the entire works!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Interview with Marcia James!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


Website: http://www.marciajames.net/

Book List:

Sex & the Single Therapist, 1st "Dr. Ally Skye, Sex Therapist" comic romantic mystery




"Rescue Me", a short story in the Berkley Tails of Love anthology






At Her Command, a comic romantic suspense

Love Unleashed, a contemporary romance short story

Heating Up the Holidays, a contemporary romance novella

Bio:

Marcia James writes hot, humorous romances and finaled in eleven Romance Writers of America contests before selling her first comic romantic suspense, At Her Command. In her eclectic career, she has shot submarine training videos, organized celebrity-filled nonprofit events and had her wedding covered by People Magazine. In addition to writing fiction, Marcia presents author promotion workshops. After years of dealing with such sexy topics as how to safely install traffic lights, she is enjoying “researching” and plotting her novels' steamy love scenes with her husband and hero of many years.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newspaper?

I enjoy playing "what if...?" games when plotting. For example, "What if a female sex therapist became a sex crimes consultant for the Las Vegas police? And what if she was dating a homicide detective who was worried she'd grade his performance in bed?" ;-) I find quirky things amusing and enjoy making my heroes and heroines "fish-out-of-water" in humorous situations.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

My husband is a great inspiration. I love his sense of humor and his willingness to brainstorm ideas with me. I can also fill the creative well by reading romance novels or watching funny movies and TV shows. I think the brain needs to be pampered just as much as the rest of the body in order for it to work at peak capability.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

I'm very lucky to be in the Romance Writers of America (RWA) chapter, Central Ohio Fiction Writers (COFW), which includes quite a few talented and helpful authors. COFW author Becky Barker is definitely a Yoda. She has "been there, done that" through her long publishing career. And she's always willing to share her knowledge.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I enjoy participating in workshops, as well as presenting them. Online workshops offer more detailed instruction, since they often last two weeks to a month. During my author promotion online workshops, I have the opportunity to brainstorm branding and PR ideas with attendees, which would take up too much time in my in-person workshops. Many writers focus on workshops about the craft of fiction writing but put off learning the business side of publishing -- such as promotion, contracts, and foreign sales -- until they get "The Call." Then they have to play catch-up during a very hectic time in their lives. Many RWA chapters offer online workshops, and Savvy Authors has an amazing selection of both craft and business workshops.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

My husband has given me unconditional love and support for many years, and he's the basis of every hero I write. My critique partners -- Regina Hart/Patricia Sargeant and Janie Mason, as well as a number of other COFW authors -- have been there for me through rejections and sales, offering feedback and motivation. And discovering Nora Roberts' books about twelve years ago inspired me to make the switch from advertising copywriting to romance writing.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

Funny you should ask that question! I'm working on my next Dr. Ally Skye, Sex Therapist romantic mystery, and the secondary hero is the lead singer in a country rock band. He uses songs to romance women, but the secondary heroine is immune to his musical charms. I'm having a great time listening to music and choosing his "pick-up songs."

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

I don't play music while I write because I hear music in words -- cadence, alliteration, rhymes, etc. But I sometimes listen to a specific song to get into a certain frame of mind before writing a scene.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I enjoy reading mysteries as well as romances, since both offer readers a positive ending. When I read romantic fiction, I gravitate toward funny books, such a humorous historicals, lite paranormals, and comic contemporaries. Authors' voices are so different, I don't feel these books influence me and the way I write, beyond putting me in a good mood. ;-) But I don't read mysteries or romances set in Vegas, since I want to write my Sin City-set series the way I see Vegas; not how other authors have experienced the town.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

I'm a plot-driven author, so I mentally plot out the story and make notes that become the "skeleton" of the book. I don't do a rough draft; I just jump into writing the opening scene. I write as clean and as detailed as I can during the first draft because I like word play and having sentences build on each other. Every day I begin by reading over what I wrote the day before, polishing it before I start writing new pages.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I critique manuscript pages for COFW aspiring authors and am a judge for the chapter's Ignite the Flame contest. I always tell new writers to look for trends in the feedback they get from other writers and not to revise their manuscripts to accommodate every suggestion. After all, a camel is a horse by committee. I've had help from a number of authors over the years -- with everything from how to properly format a manuscript to introductions to their agents. Networking is a valuable thing in publishing, just like in any other profession.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

I've had several writing careers -- sometimes simultaneously -- including ad copywriter, corporate video scriptwriter, PR consultant, freelance journalist, and romance author. I've won contests and awards in most of those careers. I think my greatest accomplishment is entertaining readers, and I love hearing from readers who've enjoyed my books.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

If I hit the lottery, my husband and I would travel the world because we love visiting new places and meeting new people. I would also donate money to charities, especially those dealing with animal causes (e.g., Best Friends Animal Society) and those fighting diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

The best thing a new writer can do is to simultaneously learn the craft and business of fiction writing. Studying contract clauses isn't as much fun as writing love scenes, but it's still important. A New York Times bestselling author once told me that she could walk into a room of writers and tell which ones would be selling in the future: the ones who approached writing as a profession.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

I do have an animal as a mascot/logo: a Chinese crested hairless dog. I picked a tiny, goofy-looking "crestie" named Smokey as the unlikely undercover drug-sniffing dog in At Her Command. He was so popular -- and the perfect foil for the big Alpha hero -- that I've included cresties in all of my stories since. I admire the devotion dogs show their humans, but I didn't pick cresties because they had similar qualities to me. I use the logo to let pet-loving readers know that they will find dogs in my books.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

That's a really tough question! I've always wanted to write. I guess if I had to choose three additional careers, they would be pop singer, pro golfer, and zoologist/trainer at a performing animals park. ;-)

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

I've always wanted to take an Orvis fly-fishing tour of New Zealand.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

My heroes are strong, intelligent, and honorable, but usually so dedicated to their jobs that they don't have much of a personal life. My heroines are also strong, as well as smart, brave, and kind. But they don't give away their hearts easily. Both my heroes and heroines have to have a good sense of humor.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

I would instill tolerance and empathy in every human being, so we could end war and work together to solve problems like disease and hunger.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

Another really tough question! ;-) I guess I would pick the ability to time-travel and go into the future to retrieve the solutions to today's diseases and other global threats. Although, I have to admit that the ability to become invisible does offer some REALLY interesting possibilities!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interview with Renee Wildes!!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.



Website: http://www.reneewildes.net

Blog: http://www.reneewildes1.wordpress.com

Renee Wildes is an award-winning Wausau WI writer. She grew up reading fantasy authors Terry Brooks and Mercedes Lackey and is a huge Joseph Campbell fan, so the minute she discovered romance novels it became inevitable that she would combine it all and write fantasy romance. Renee is a history buff, from medieval times back to ancient Greece, esp. Sparta. As a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, she gravitated to protector/guardian heroes and heroines. She’s had horses her whole life, so became the only vet tech in a family of nurses. It all comes together in her Guardians of Light series for Samhain Publishing – fantasy, action, romance, heroics and lots of critters!

Guardians of Light series:

Bk 1 - Duality

Bk 2 - Hedda’s Sword

Bk 3 - Lycan Tides

Bk 4 - Dust of Dreams

Bk 5 - Riever’s Heart – NEW – OUT 9/27/11




How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

I’m a total plotter, so I do a lot of thinking about my characters. Dara in Duality began with a mental image of a red-haired woman kneeling in a burning room. When I found out she’d started the fire, it got interesting. Now I usually start with a minor pre-existing character in a previous book, figure out what they want & need and who would be a good match for them. The whole series hinges on the concept of duality, as I’m fond of putting opposites together. In Hedda’s Sword I put the ultimate ladies man with a man-hating assassin nun, in Lycan Tides I paired a werewolf & a selkie, and in Dust of Dreams I paired a dream faerie & an elven spirit healer, both creatures of air—and trapped them underground.

I’m evil that way.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

I’m a huge sword and sorcery movie buff; my favorites are Dragonheart and Willow.

I also am a big fan of listening to music while plotting and writing. Medaeival Baebes is a standard. I listen to Nightwish & Axel Rudi Pell for dark magic & battle scenes. Kate Price & Enya for love scenes. For my “Nordic” books Hedda’s Sword and Riever’s Heart I have Gamarna, Hedningarna & Varttina. I like the dichotomy of Nordic harmonies—not quite blended, leaves an uneasy feeling in the back of your mind which is good when you’re trying to pen conflict and distrust.

I write love scenes longhand on paper first, then transcribe onto the computer. Somehow forming the letters is more sensual—computers just aren’t sexy!

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

We’ve never met but hands down it’s Mercedes Lackey. I grew up reading her and wanting to be her. Her characters are human. Her NON-human characters are especially human. Her writing style’s very informal, conversational. Her dialogue’s direct—no filler. Her worldbuilding…she has no equal. She makes the unreal real—and you believe it. She’s the most gifted writer I know of. Everything I am is because of her!

The biggest compliment I ever got was from an RWA contest judge, back before I was published, who said my writing reminded her a lot of Mercedes Lackey. I had to sit down.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I think workshops are a great way to hone your craft as a writer. Every writer has a different process, and we can learn a lot from each other. As a plotter I love Bob Mayer’s series, he makes a lot of sense to me. His mantra of one sentence, the pure essence of your story idea, that you can go back to if you get lost or start to drift, has saved me more than once!

ANYTHING by Mary Buckham. I took her Sexual Tension class and it’s phenomenal for romance writers. What was fun there is we dissected movies—when I took it we did Lethal Weapon 3 and Big Easy—and we discussed things like eye contact and “mirroring” which is incredibly helpful now.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

A former Writer’s Digest editor, Melanie Rigney. My friends Susan Engelbrecht & Joanne Yonker dragged me to the Green Lake Writer’s Conference, where I met Melanie Rigney, the first non-critique partner to read Duality. She was very supportive and recommended an agent to send it to. I really appreciated the plug as I was feeling very much a fish out of water. (My friends neglected to tell me Green Lake was a Christian writer’s conference and I write pagan high fantasy. I’ll bet I was a conversation piece for YEARS!) The agent passed but Melanie gave me my marching orders to “Get this thing out there” and I found a home w/Samhain later that year.

Melanie just followed me on Twitter. It was very surreal to re-establish contact and she DM commented “So glad to see the way your writing has taken off!” Very cool!

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

As mentioned earlier, I have entire SOUNDTRACKS! What I CAN’T stand are the everyday noises like the TV and kids fighting. I curl up in bed w/my laptop and the cat and SHUT THE DOOR. The kids know when the door’s shut, there’d better be blood or bones involved. Once my daughter knocked and stuck her hand in, waving a chicken bone. “Chicken’s all gone, Mom—and we’re HUNGRY!”

I should’ve been more specific…

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I have always personally liked fantasy, so I still read a lot of it. I love Barbara Hambly’s THE LADIES OF MANDRIGYN and Elizabeth Vaughan’s WARPRIZE and Joy Nash’s THE GRAIL KING. LOVE Bianca D’Arc’s dragon series.

I DO read a lot of dark paranormal/urban fantasy: Angela Knight, Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward and Pamela Palmer. I got to meet Sherrilyn Kenyon at a writer’s conference. Nice lady. Had the honor of coming in second to Pamela Palmer in a reader’s contest – nothing like coming in second to a writer you really admire.

I also read Suzanne Brockmann and Lori Foster. They do male POV/dialogue EXCEPTIONALLY well. Suzanne Brockmann was a judge in a writing contest when I first started out, and had some very encouraging words for a very green writer, back when I didn’t know anything! Lori Foster commented on a blog I did once. Made my day!

What is your process from idea to first draft?

I always start with a character. Usually a snippet of dialogue hits, and I try to picture the scene. Then it’s “how did they get there” and “where do they go from here.” I think a lot about what they want & how to thwart it, and what they need and how they find it. What’s the last thing they want to do—they do it. Why’s the last person they expect? They meet them. Duality/dichotomy rules.

I’m a total plotter—I have character descriptions, maps and a timeline. I use index cards, and arrange and rearrange until I have a working outline. Then I do a synopsis and break it into chapters and scenes. Only then am I ready to start writing. If I get stuck in a spot, I can write another scene, b/c the outline tells me how it all fits together. So I can write what I’m in the mood for—and I’m very seldom blocked.

Of course, occasionally a character will step up my time schedule. Cianan in Hedda’s Sword and Aryk in Riever’s Heart were particularly impatient heroes. I’d be getting to when they appear and BAM! They were there already. Like “Get ON with it already, lady!” So there’s a certain amount of minor tweaking involved.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I do a lot of three-chapter critiques for Savvy Authors, mostly to as-yet-unpublished authors. A fellow Samhain author liked my Six Senses workshop/blog series and now we’re talking about collaborating on a joint workshop in the future.

Suzanne Brockmann was extraordinarily kind when she read my (admittedly Godawful) “Second Chances.” I knew NOTHING about POV then, it was all over the place. (I had the DOG’S POV -- twice!) But she liked the emotional intensity (cop’s widow starting over) and she said I did Alistair’s dialogue really well (young child). I didn’t win, needless to say, but all I could think of was “Suzanne Brockmann likes my writing!” Parts of it, anyway.

I try to emulate that when I judge. I’m a TOUGH gatekeeper judge but I always temper the “work on” parts with the “Wow—this is amazing!” I had a lovely email from a contestant who HATED me b/c I was the swing vote that JUST kept her from finalling. But then she considered my comments, changed things—and finaled the NEXT time. She thanked me.

THAT’S when you know you did your job.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Placing a copy of Duality into my grandmother’s hands. She first called me a writer when I was six years old and writing horse stories ala CW Anderson. She always said I could do it, and I loved being able to hear “I told you so” when it finally happened.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

My favorite local charity is The Women’s Community, a shelter for battered women. They came to the forefront to me when we first moved here. My daughter was five at the time and the next door neighbor knocked his wife through the front door into the concrete planter on their porch right in front of Tami & me. They had a three-year-old son. Tami gave him her favorite stuffed bunny to hold while his daddy was hauled off in handcuffs and some nice women came to take her and her son to a safe haven. NOT something I ever thought I’d have to discuss with a five-year-old little girl.

I keep hoping for the day when such places shut down for lack of business. I wish people would not only be thankful for their blessings, but remember those who need help. Safety and dignity are things everyone deserves.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Don’t give up. Keep learning. Keep polishing. Keep trying. The only guarantee of never succeeding is to never try. You have to keep at it. Critique groups and contests are a great way to get feedback.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

I’m a mama bear. Bears are amazing. They’re very in tune with their environment, are adaptable, can live on almost anything and know the benefits of a nice long nap. They get along with everyone UNLESS you mess with them. Then look out. They are incredibly protective of their cubs—they’ll destroy anything that threatens their little ones.

I’m a LOT like that!

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?


I’m a certified vet tech. Would love to get back into that (but you can’t raise a family on THAT salary). Would love to be a full-fledged veterinarian.

Or a forest ranger.

Or study sharks. (I want to learn to scuba dive and go swimming w/sharks. Hubby thinks I’m NUTS.) I love sharks. They’re the perfect predator, and they have to worst rep in the animal kingdom. People love SNAKES more! *shudders*

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

Would love to fly around the world in a hot air balloon—see exotic places, meet interesting people. Except I’m scared of heights and suffer from motion sickness. But hot air balloons are so PRETTY!

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

I have to have HEROES with a strong moral compass and unbreakable sense of honor. They aren’t afraid to stand up for the little guy. They’re secure enough to let a heroine be herself, and flexible enough to acknowledge a female influence.

My heroines are all tomboys in some way, shape or form. They have strong ideas and aren’t afraid to voice them and act on them. I like a hint of vulnerability around the hero, but NO DOORMATS. They’re not afraid to try, to face the risk of failure. They learn from their mistakes.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

Safety and tolerance for all. This world is NUTS and it all stems from not being able see/tolerate another point of view.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

Empathic projection. I thought Deanna Troi in TNG was cool but what a frustrating power—to read emotions but not be able to influence them. I’d love to be able to diffuse conflict by letting the parties involved really wear each other’s skin for a moment and see where THEY’RE coming from.

I have a huge “justice meter.” I call it my Joan of Arc complex. But I hate bullies. I think if people could just feel each other’s emotions/motivations for a MOMENT instead of just me-me-me, a lot of conflict would just diffuse.

Like Sandra Bullock tearfully confessed in “Miss Congeniality”: “I really do want world peace.”

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Guest Interview with A. Catherine Noon!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


http://www.noonandwilder.com/


BURNING BRIGHT from Samhain Publishing



Bio: A. Catherine Noon is an author and textile artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Rachel Wilder is an author and image consultant in Las Vegas, Nevada. Together, they love to write stories and create worlds for readers to explore and enjoy.

How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newspaper?

For us, story ideas come from images of models and from characters we discuss. We are primarily character-driven and rarely setting or plot driven. What excites us is what happens to people in different situations and the consequences of actions, especially unforeseen ones.

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

Noony is an avid textile artist, so she loves to work with yarn and knit or crochet. That helps a lot when Story isn’t flowing. Rachel is a designer and loves to work with interior spaces, designing rooms and home settings for stories.

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

Cherry Adair, Jody Lynn Nye, and Dayna Hart.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?


We love writing workshops! In fact, Noony started the Evanston Writers Workshop, www.evanstonwritersworkshop.org, with fellow author Debbie Cairo. We do regular weekly prompt and critique sessions, as well as weekend workshops and an annual conference. Networking and learning from other writers and publishing industry professionals is invaluable in developing the craft.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

For Noony: Dennis Sonnenburg in junior and high school was instrumental in helping find the authorial voice. Learning freewriting at that point in life really helped unlock the inner Muse.

Have you ever used songs for inspiration?

Yes. We use Pandora.com often and build stations targeted to particular characters. The random selections that Pandora offers in a particular theme help to create a separate station for the characters and makes them more like real, and separate, people.

Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

Noony loves to write to music. One series was written almost entirely to Red Hot Chili Peppers; BURNING BRIGHT was written to some retro alternative 80’s music.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

Noony reads mostly fantasy and science fiction for pleasure. Rachel reads extensively in the M/M romance genre, so together they have a good, well-rounded familiarity with available literature.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

Write scenes with the characters to catch the “feel” of the story. That way, we can really see where Story is and where we want to take the plot.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

Yes. Noony regularly facilitates Artist’s Way workshops and other writing-related classes, and has participated in the Romance Divas Mentor Boot Camp once as a participant and once as a mentor.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Trusting the Story. The courage to write is an everyday victory.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

We would purchase land and build two homes on it, as well as a free-standing writing office. The charity to support would be ones related to solving the homeless dilemma in the United States and to help aid with literacy.

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

If you see it, write it. Story is God.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

Wolf and cat. Wolves for their fierceness and loyalty, cats for their sensual awareness and physical presence.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

Astronaut, cowboy, or park ranger.

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

Go to the moon.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

We like heroes that are strong but compassionate, and definitely male. We like heroines that are stubborn and feminine as well as strong.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

The hungry would be fed, and the homeless housed.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

The ability to fly would be cool! Imagine floating over the surface of the world, flitting in to see the sights and soaring away from any troubles or problems.



Friday, September 23, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

Last year was my first year participating in NaNoWriMo, which takes place November 1st through November 30th. This year is the 13th year of the event, and I'll be participating again. Writers either seem to love or hate NaNoWriMo for many reasons. I loved it because it made me focus on a goal, and taught me lessons I wouldn't otherwise have learned.

I learned that I'm a panster, and while this is okay for some writers, I found out that I need to learn plotting, especially when it comes to time lines. I also learned that I CAN write every single day and stick to a schedule while making sure my family doesn't starve to death. Since I have two teenage sons this was something I was concerned about:)

I also have some advice about making NaNowriMo an enjoyable event instead of a stressful one. Decide how much you want to participate in the events, the forums, and on social media, then stick with it or cut back if you find you are visiting more than writing. UNLESS you want to focus on that aspect more than trying to meet a writing goal. The point is if you chat all day with other writers it's hard to get the writing done, but if all you do is the writing and never interact with other people it kind of defeats the purpose of the entire event. Does that make sense? I found meeting my goals THEN interacting with my writer peeps was a good way to go.

My other advice is something they mention on the NaNoWriMo website and I found it to be true. Write. Don't edit. You can research and plot ahead of time, and even during the month if you need to, but NO editing. After the month is finished you'll hopefully have a first draft or at least part of one, and then you can go back and edit.

Lastly, my advice is to work consistently, and have fun. If you become so goal oriented that it makes you hard to live with during November, then something is wrong. Look at your goal, change your habits and lighten up, or else you're going to end up hating the experience.

I haven't updated my page from last year yet, so you can see how I did here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/673500 If you already have a page please add me as a "Buddy".

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? Did you enjoy it?

Brenda Hyde has been a freelance writer of home and garden articles for over 20 years, and now she's also writing paranormal romance through short stories and novellas. You can find her at the Wayfaring Writer blog here: http://moonsanity.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Juniper Bell Interview!!

Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.


http://juniperbell.com/

Book List:

Training the Receptionist


Restraining the Receptionist


My Three Lords


Go Wild


Go Deep


Doll

The Extremist

Juniper Bell writes erotic romance for Samhain and Ellora’s Cave. She lives with her brand new husband in a cabin in Alaska with sporadic running water and a spectacular view of glaciers. She wound up in the frozen north after leaving her career as a stressed-out Los Angeles TV writer. Luckily, her love for writing survived the move, and she soon discovered a surefire way of heating up those long winter nights. When she’s not at her computer or shoveling snow, she’s dreaming of the day she can move to Hawaii. Visit her website at http://juniperbell.com/, her blog at http://authorjuniperbell.blogspot.com/, friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.




Blurb:

A standalone sequel to Go Wild.


Beth is the shy, dreamy type. No one guesses at the wild sexual thoughts she hides behind that quiet façade. She doesn’t even share her secret longings with her husband.

Gavin loves his wife, but he’s tired of living in a marriage in which neither he nor Beth reveal their true desires. When Gavin sees Beth’s response to an erotic bondage photo in her framing shop, he jumps at the opportunity to break through her barriers.

He accepts an invitation to a showcase match for the amateur hockey team he coaches during Wild Nights, the infamous winter festival during which “anything goes, nothing counts.” But he’s opened a sensual Pandora’s box—Beth has some surprises of her own. When she meets Eagle, a free-spirited Wild resident, she knows he’s the perfect man to help enact her erotic fantasies. And once they go deep, there’s no going back.


Buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9555-go-deep.aspx


How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?

I’m an idea ho. I’ll look anywhere for an idea, but usually they come at random moments when I wasn’t consciously trying. Often it’s an image or a situation that inspires me. I have yet to get an idea from a dream, but if it can happen to Stephanie Meyer, it can happen to me, right?

Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?

I take a break. We live on the edge of wilderness, and a nice long walk among the spruce trees often gets the mojo flowing again. I eat chocolate or make another cup of tea. And often taking a reading break will kickstart my creativity. I used to be wary of reading other people’s books while I was writing – not wanting to be influenced – but I’ve gotten over that!

Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?

I need a Yoda! Do you know any? Actually, I don’t have just one, but I’ve gotten great advice from Tielle St. Clare and members of the Nine Naughty Novelists, my blogging group. Kelly Jamieson and PG Forte have been great at sharing their experience with me, just to name a couple.

What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?

I enjoy writing workshops because they get you focused on writing. But you have to take what works for you and set aside what doesn’t. Everyone’s methods are different, so I try not to take everything TOO literally. One of the best workshops I took was Robert McKee’s Story Structure workshop. It’s geared toward screenwriters, but so much of it is helpful for what we do too.

What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?

Even though she’s dead, I’d like to thank Jane Austen. Where would romance be without her? Among the living, I find Nora Roberts an endless source of inspiration. And I would be nowhere without my beloved Alaska romance writers group. So I guess that’s a lot of people!

Have you ever used songs for inspiration? Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?

I need silence, which my family finds irritating. When someone comes into the room where I’m writing, I wait until they leave to continue. I mean, how can I finish my hot threesome when my daughter’s rummaging around for her markers? I wish I could write with music because I love it. But I lose focus too easily.

Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?

I read almost entirely romance, but in many different subgenres. And yes, it influences me. After all my romance reading, it’s hard for me to read a book without a happy ending. Or understand why the characters aren’t falling in love already.

What is your process from idea to first draft?

Once I have the idea, I start writing notes about the characters, what’s driving them, what they do in life, what their family background is. Thinking about the characters brings to mind plotting ideas. What would he do next? How would she react to that? That kind of thing. After I’ve written lots of notes, I write a rough outline. The shorter the book, the rougher the outline. And it’s not set in stone at all—often things change as I write the first draft. I break the outline into chapters and get to work! I stick to a daily word count goal and that gives me a first draft--which will undergo extensive revisions because I love rewriting. But getting that first draft down is the most important part. You can’t do anything without that.

Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?

I love the romance world for many reasons, but a big one is how much writers help each other out. I’ve given many pep talks to new writers, and if they want it, critiques and guidance in terms of publishers, etc. And I’ve gotten lots of wise advice. Many writers are incredibly generous with their assistance and I’m so grateful. I’ve gotten moral support, advice about dealing with editors, cheerleading when I needed it, beta reads, etc. etc. The romance community is amazing in that respect.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?

Whenever someone buys one of my books, enjoys it, emails me about it, or reviews it, I’m happy. It was a huge thrill when my book Training the Receptionist shot to the top of the Samhain bestseller list its first day out. But honestly, I think my biggest accomplishment is a personal one – making the transition from writing for fun to writing as a career.

If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?

Geez, it would be hard to choose just one charity!! I’d probably give a lot of it to environmental causes. The state of the planet scares me. I want to make sure we still have one in a few years!

What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?

Read a lot. Write a lot. That’s about it. I don’t think anyone has the magic formula for writing. Keep reading, keep writing, and don’t forget about the conflict.

If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?

I’d be a cross between a seal and a butterfly. I’m a Gemini, so I need two. ;-) I love butterflies because of their transformational qualities – beginning as an ugly larva and becoming something beautiful. I think we’re always doing that -- every moment becoming something new. Seals are playful and wise and I’ve always loved them. I don’t know if I have those qualities, but I’d like to be a seal when I grow up.

If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?

Is talent a factor? I can’t dance at all, but if I had any ability I would love to be a dancer or maybe a yoga teacher. I would love to be a multilingual translator who could converse in a ten different languages. I could travel the world and help refugees or something along those lines. But truthfully I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since the age of eight or so.

If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?

Is seasickness a factor? LOL. I would love to sail around the world – Alaska to Hawaii, the Caribbean, the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Horn and so on. But I might spend a lot of that time heaving over the side of the sailboat.

What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?

I like an alpha hero with a thinking side. My heroes must be strong, but even more, they must be caring, even if it doesn’t show at first. A true heart is like gold, in my book. My heroines have to be sensual – hey, I write erotic romance, after all. They’re strong, intelligent, but often conflicted about their own sensuality. I like to show how they learn to embrace and explore their sexual side.

If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?

Intolerance would go. Boom, gone. And I’d make sure everyone had enough to eat. Those two things would go a long way toward making the world better.

If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?

I’d take flying. I love to travel, but Alaska is so far from everywhere. I’d fly around the world making quick visits to my family then seeing all the places I’m curious about. Australia, Africa, Iceland, Bali. So I guess I’d be flying at the speed of light, essentially. But it would be worth it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sweet N Sexy Soulful Quotes

I used to do this post at Nice N Naughty Authors blog, but I just can't keep blogging at so many blogs on a regular basis. Lately, I've had to make some changes with my schedule and cut back a bit in order to write, meet deadlines, and still take care of my family.

However, I've gotten such a great response from readers who liked this feature that I decided to continue it here. So for those who may not know, this is a segment where I share some of my favorite lines from authors who were not afraid to get all sappy, sensual, or even suggestive in their books.

The books I'm featuring today are stories I've read personally and loved. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. And please, feel free to leave a comment as to which ones tickle your fancy.


Fallon pulled away from her and looked into her beautiful eyes and knew the feelings within him was love. “I cannot promise that we won’t fight, that there won’t be days you won’t want to smash my head in. But I can promise that I will love you always and do my best to make you laugh at least once a day. I can promise that my life will be devoted to you and giving you everything you could want to make you happy.”

“There is only one thing I want.”

“Tell me. It’s yours.”

A tear fell from her eye to roll slowly down her cheek. “You, Fallon MacLeod. I want you.”

~ Donna Grant, Forbidden Highlander




"That streak of British practicality will always war with passionate Celt."

"You're romanticizing," she claimed and lifted her chin. 

"The door's been open, Cassidy." She frowned because his words reminded her of her earlier thoughts. "Better for you perhaps if we'd kept it locked." He shook her once, rapidly. "Yes, it's done. The door won't stay closed now. It'll happen again." He released her then stepped back, but their eyes remained joined. "Go on now, while I'm remembering you were frightened."
~ Nora Roberts, Sullivan's Woman




"You know what I remember?" He shifted toward her and touched her arm when she would have risen. "You, bringing lunch out to us, wearing short shorts that showed off those long legs. I remember the way you looked, the way you smelled the night you came to me. The freckles across your shoulders and the way you felt." He was nose to nose with her now. His mouth inches from hers.

She breathed his name just before he claimed her mouth.

She'd experienced nothing that came close to what she felt with his hands roaming her body, with his tongue deeply exploring her mouth. Only Jacob had ever made her feel this way.

He broke off the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers, his hands framing her face. "I can't get over how much I want you." His deep, husky whisper caressed her cheek.

Places to find Renee Vincent:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion! Double Shot

Okay, I'm really stupid excited about this. This fall has turned out to be insanely busy for me on the release from. I've been incredibly lucky to have not one, or two, but six releases scheduled to hit in the months between September and December.

Six!

I'm tired just thinking about it. :) But I am excited for the opportunities I have to share my work. Out of all of the releases, it's my series to Carina Press that has me particularly giddy at the moment. Let me tell you a bit about how it came to be.

Last year, I had an idea. Not unusual for a writer to be sure. This particular idea kept nagging at me though. It hadn't finished cooking in my brain yet. The characters were there, but they weren't quite right. I wanted to tell their story - I needed help.

The help came in the shape of a traffic jam on the 401 from Toronto to home, and a long conversation with my critique partner JK Coi. I talked out the images that I had in my head. The challenges that the three siblings were going to face and how I wanted their partners to come into play. She put me through the ringer with questions, making me spell out their motivation and key plot points. By the time we got home, I had my stories! I intended the book to be a single author anthology, with each sibling having a section.

I wrote the first draft for Double Shot, the first story, in two weeks. This was during NaNoWriMo, so my focus and motivation was there. Book two, A Shot In The Dark came just as fast and the final story Pulled Long took a bit longer at three weeks. I ended up being just a hair under 90k and a completed first draft in seven weeks.

I tucked the story away and enjoyed my Christmas holiday. It wasn't until February and a pitch contest over at Savvy Authors, that I had an amazing opportunity for the book to see the light. With only three sentences, I had to convince the amazing Deb Nemeth she wanted me. No pressure right? Well much to my delight she asked for the full! A bit over a week later I had an offer!! Only catch, they wanted to split the book up into three novellas.

Yeah, I was okay with that. :)

And that brings me to Double Shot! It is releasing from Carina on October 3rd and is the first contemporary I've done set in Toronto. Revolving around three siblings, Paige, Sadie and Ian, we get to see each of them find love while they work through the challenges in their lives.

Blub:

Coffee shop owner Sadie Long has been lusting after her good friend Paul Williams for years. So she’s more than a little intrigued when he invites her to a business meeting at Mavericks, the sex club where he works. While catering an event at the club is not quite the proposition she was hoping for, her business could use the boost. And she can’t resist the chance to work closely with Paul in such a sexually charged atmosphere. Enter the club’s hot owner, Josh, and suddenly Sadie’s fantasizing about being part of a threesome.

Paul has always wanted Sadie, but never thought she’d see him as anything more than a friend. On the night of the party, he and Josh tempt Sadie to reveal her deepest desire—a desire both men are eager to help fulfill.

Giving in to her sensual side, Sadie enjoys a night of mind-blowing sex. But in the light of day, will she lose Paul as a friend, or gain him as a lover?

Book 1 of the Long Shots series.


You can pre-order Double Shot from Amazon and coming soon from Carina Press.

For more information on Christine, please check out her website, her blog or follow her over at Twitter.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Time to ask a romance author ANYTHING you'd like

I'm handing over the interview questions to YOU the readers and fans of the romance romance. Is there anything you always wanted to ask a romance author, but it hasn't been asked in an interview? Well, I'm offering myself up and will answer any questions you may have.

One of the things I find hard to write is a bio. I do have a bio on my website, and I tend to use that one when asked to submit a bio. I like to call it time management.

Here are a few tidbits about me, not listed on my site's bio and things that have never been asked in an interview:

My husband has recently stated that he'd love to start a blog called, "Things my wife says and does." I'm not concerned, he doesn't even like to write emails. Funny guy. He makes me laugh, I make him laugh.

I love to cook, my family loves to eat what I cook. I also love making my husband blush. He's an alpha/beta type, but I can still pull out a rosy hue on his handsome face when I publicly state, he has given me my happy-ever-after *wink wink* that I love to write and read about in romance novels. Yes, he is the inspiration for some of the more "sensual aspects" of my writing.

I love books, which I know is standard for all us readers and writers. I write what I love to read: romance with a ton of sexual tension (I actually prefer writing about the tension, the anticipation more than the actual sensual scene, because getting the reader all worked up and filled with tension is...well, it's fun, it's why we do what we do), I love msystery, suspense, comedic prose, along with serious deep thoughts and themes in the books that I read and write. My tastes are eclectic as is my wardrobe, culinary skills and at times vocabulary.

I learned to play the accordian at an early age. Hey, I'm Italian, it's a right of passage. I wasn't that good at it. However, I did enjoy practicing at home and driving my older siblings crazy with my attempts at Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

I also took Highland Dance classes. I bet you're wondering why a little Italian girl took Highland dancing? I'm first generation Canadian, I was born in Canada, while my parents and siblings all immigrated from Italy. Hence, why my brothers convinced me I was found on their doorstep, but that's another story.

My parents wanted to assimilate with the Canadian culture. My dad at the time smoked cigarettes (Export A). On the package was a picture of a woman, wearing a Scottish tam. After I was born, my parents associated this plus other pop culture things with the Canadian culture, so when I was old enough, they enrolled me in Highland Dancing.

I didn't learn to speak English until I was six years old, sometimes this can still effect me, as I think in one language and things come out in English in an awkward way. "English wasn't my first language," is what I say. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I used to be quite the daredevil. Broken knee, wore a full leg cast (downhill skiing), shattered my radial head in my left arm (roller-blading), broken toe (fell down the stairs while multi-tasking, some will say, I can be a klutz, I don't agree...well, not 100%).

The one thing I'm having difficulty with in this age of "branding" is exactly that, "branding myself." First thing that comes to mind at times is: they brand cows and horses don't they? Not to say that authors who use this method are doing it wrong, many are doing a bang up job of branding themselves and their books.

Since my stories tend to have a little of everything, as one reader put it: "genre-defying," I can't pinpoint a certain brand. Therefore, I'm probably not keeping up with the times, but will continue to write stories that intrigue me, make me laugh, cry, think, and at times scare the bejeebers out of myself (as I'm doing with my WIP filled with real bad guys).

Thank you for giving me the opportunity for allowing me to share a little more about myself, and feel free to post any question you'd like.

About Selena Robins:
Witty, humorous, suspenseful, sexy--words used to describe Selena’s writing style. A chocolate guru, in love with her husband, family, friends, books & red wine, she dances with her dog, sings into her hairbrush & writes in her PJ's.

Selena is the author of the contemporary romance, What A Girl Wants, paranormal romantic comedy, Sabrina's Destiny, Romantic Comedy, Short Story, Tempted by an Angel, and a children's novella, Pippy's Wish.

Selena's Website
Selena's Blog
Email Selena

Sunday, September 18, 2011

PLOTTING WITH WOUNDED HEROES


/>


My heroes are all wounded. Not just emotionally, but physically, as well. Being a hero in a Cheryl Pierson story is like being an expendable member of the landing party on Star Trek. If you had on a red shirt when you beamed down to the planet’s surface, you could pretty well figure you weren’t going to be returning to the Enterprise in one piece, or alive.

In my debut TWRP historical western release, Fire Eyes, U.S. Marshal Kaed Turner is tortured and shot at the hands of the villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang of cutthroats. A band of Choctaw Indians deposit Kaed on Jessica Monroe’s doorstep with instructions to take care of him. “Do not allow him to die,” the chief tells her.

Can she save him? Or will he meet the same fate that befell her husband, Billy? Although Kaed’s injuries are severe, he recovers under a combination of Jessica’s expert care and his own resolve and inner strength.

The injuries he sustained give him the time he needs to get to know Jessica quickly. Their relationship becomes more intimate in a shorter time span due to the circumstances. Under normal conditions of courtship, the level their relationship skyrockets to in just a few days would take weeks, or months.

Wounding the hero is a way to also show the evil deeds of the villain. We can develop a kinship with the hero as he faces what seem to be insurmountable odds against the villain. How will he overcome those odds? Even if he weren’t injured, it would be hard enough—but now, we feel each setback more keenly than ever. He’s vulnerable in a way he has no control over. How will he deal with it, in the face of this imminent danger?

Enter the heroine. She’ll do what she can to help, but will it be enough to make a difference? This is her chance to show what she’s made of, and further the relationship between them. (If he dies, of course, that can’t happen.)

From this point on, as the hero begins to recover, he also regains his confidence as well as his strength.

It’s almost like “The Six Million Dollar Man”: We can build him stronger…faster…better…

He will recover, but now he has something to lose—the newfound love between him and the heroine. Now, he’s deadlier than ever, and it’s all about protecting the woman he loves.

Or, his injuries may give him a view of life that he hadn’t hoped for before. Maybe the heroine’s care and the ensuing love between them make the hero realize qualities in himself he hadn’t known were there.

In my holiday short story, A Night For Miracles, wounded gunman Nick Dalton arrives on widow Angela Bentley’s doorstep in a snowstorm. Angela is tempted at first to turn him away, until she realizes he’s traveling with three half-frozen youngsters, and he’s bleeding.

As she settles the children into the warmth of her home and begins to treat Nick’s injury, she realizes it’s Christmas Eve—“A Night For Miracles,” Nick says wryly. “I’m ready for mine.”

In this excerpt, the undercurrents between them are strong, but Nick realizes Angela’s fears. She’s almost as afraid of taking in a gunman with a reputation as she is of being alone again.

FROM “A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES”

Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.

He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?”

His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.

“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”

He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”

She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”

“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”

A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary. What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the back fence. Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.

She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”

He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”

She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”

He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, she found herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”

He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into what makes my heroes ‘tick.’ For more information and excerpts, I semi-maintain two blogs for your reading pleasure.

http://www.cherylpiersonbooks.blogspot.com is my writing tips and news blog, and
http://www.westwindsromance.blogspot.com is my western historical blog. You can visit my website at http://www.cherylpierson.com

TO VIEW ALL MY SHORT STORIES, NOVELS AND ANTHOLOGIES, PLEASE VISIT MY PAGE AT AMAZON.COM: Cheryl's Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002JV8GUE



Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment!
Cheryl

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Eye Brows and New Shoes


Has anyone ever had their eyebrows dyed?

I recently had it done. I was having my hair colored to cover the nasty gray and asked to have it done. After seeing myself in a photo, I realized that while I actually did have eyebrows, they were so gray they had become virtually invisible.

Thirty years ago I never would have imagined myself doing such a thing. I was a tom-boy growing up and those girls who abstained from building forts and sailing boats in the creek because they didn’t want to break a nail or dirty their clothes were scorned by me. I never wanted to become one of those prissy girls.

The other day my husband was working on his truck and asked me to hold something. My first thought as I looked at this greasy, rusty piece of a wheel was, I’m going to ruin my nails. I’d just done them in preparation for a book signing event. The same event I’d gotten my hair and eyebrows done for.

My husband doesn’t understand this new me. I had horses my whole life. The extent of my wardrobe was jeans and a T-shirt. I was always in the horse barn and always covered in horse hair. When we got married I was in the barn twice a day milking cows and feeding calves. I breast fed all my kids sitting on a hay bale a corner of the barn.

Back then my make up routine consisted of mascara and lip gloss with maybe some clear coat nail polish.

Now that I am an author heading off to present myself to the masses, I suddenly worry about my clothes, my nails, my hair and my eye brows. Lately I’ve even considered teeth whitening.

When did I become so vain? Or is it fear that my worth as an author will be judged by my appearance? Will people still by my book if my hair is gray? Can’t my writing stand on its own, or will new shoes for my new outfit really inspire people to buy form me?

And where do I stop? I’m starting to understand the Hollywood set and their need for Botox and plastic surgery.
How far will you go perfecting your appearance before an author event? Does the public judge us by how we look? How much does appearance play in the sale of our books? What do you think?