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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Interview of Author Lex Valentine

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Lex Valentine...and to wish her a Happy Birthday!

Latest Book: Sunstroked, Tales of the Darkworld Book 6
Buy Link: http://pinkpetalbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=119

BIO:
Lex has been writing ever since she could hold a pencil. When she posted snippets of work on her personal blog Sunlight Sucks, other authors encouraged her to submit her writing to publishers. Now, she is an award winning, best selling author. Born and raised in Salinas, California, Lex now lives in Orange County with her daughter Nikki and Rott, her long haired tattooed DH. She loves loud music, builds her own computers, and has a propensity for having very weird vivid dreams about Nikki Sixx. Lex works full-time at a cemetery as the network administrator and has a love of all things techie.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your hero? Tell us about your hero.
A: I think cover model and actor Julian Fantechi should be Sean Antaeus, the black dragon. Sean is the head of his family and he’s not above Machiavellian maneuvers to ensure his siblings and friends all end up happily mated. He’s ruthless when it comes to business but he’s a sucker for his family. The only problem is that he’s kind of arrogant so he always thinks he knows best which can set him at odds with others. It’s his intense sense of responsibility that gets him in trouble with his siblings and friends. Overall, he’s just fierce when it comes to his emotions and you can’t fault a man for feeling too much. You might sometimes hate Sean but in the end you’ll love him.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I play a horse racing sim game online at DerbyFever.com. I’ve been playing now for about 7 years I think. We breed, train and race sim thoroughbred race horses. The game uses real life sires so you have to study bloodlines and know how to bet, handicap, and what all the race conditions mean…just like a real horse trainer. It’s a challenging game but I love it.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. I love Colin Bridgerton. He’s my favorite hero of all time. I liked him so much I named a character Colin after him! Julia Quinn has an amazing way with dialog and I have tremendous admiration for her ability to spit out quips.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: Buy a boat load of sex toys and luxury items so he and I can play lots of kinky games! ;)

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: Sci-fi romance. I have a plot and an outline, but I’ve not done it yet. I suppose I want to do it because I really enjoy sci-fi rom and I always want to write what I like to read. Great authors like Belinda McBride, Jaci Burton, NJ Walters, and Kim Knox get me all wound up with the sci-fi rom and then I get a serious itch to write it myself.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I love my blog Sunlight Sucks the best. It was my blog before I was a published author its one of the reasons I am a published author. I would post snippets of my writing on the blog and author Jennifer Leeland saw it and encouraged me to submit my work for publication. I did Twitter before it got really popular for authors to do, back before I was an author. I’m a tad burned out on it now. I’ve never been big on MySpace. I just put one up to find old friends. Facebook is becoming a little more my thing than the others in part because I have an author page now.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Author website: http://lexvalentine.com/
Author blog: http://lexvalentine.com/blog
Personal blog: http://sunlightsucks.com/
Group blog: http://flirtyauthorbitches.com/
Paranormal Worlds: http://fivedarkrealms.com
Fan Forum: http://fivedarkrealms.com/forum
Series Websites: http://talesofthedarkworld.com/ and http://sorcerieandmagia.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cemeterywinter
Twitter: lexvalentine
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/cemeterywinter#%21/pages/Lex-Valentine-Author/144099955621942
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/cemeterywinter
Tales series at Pink Petal Books: http://pinkpetalbooks.com/tales
Author Page at Ellora’s Cave: http://www.jasminejade.com/m-677-lex-valentine.aspx

BLURB:
When wildling Corey Green discovers his mate is Seth Dylan, a tough as nails, dour werewolf from the McCallan clan, he thinks his life is set. However, Seth’s not out and doesn’t know if he wants to be. A pivotal sexual encounter between the men has Seth running scared and leaves Corey broken hearted. The men meet again nearly two years later and this time Seth’s out but Corey’s dark depression is about to send him behind the Veil of the Jewel Box to the fae world. Seth’s determined to make up for running out on Corey, but the wildling’s sunny disposition has gone so dark it may be too late for them to build a life together. With love on his side, Seth sets out return the sunshine to Corey’s soul.

Warning: Contains two hot gay men who love sunshine, sex that makes the plants and trees grow, and a big bad wolf who will do anything to win the man he loves.

EXCERPT:
Corey Green had to be the most beautiful man Seth had ever seen. And his looks weren’t even half his appeal. If the man hadn’t been so incredibly nice on top of his sexiness, Seth wouldn’t have even considered losing his virginity to the guy. But he knew, just as he knew his own innate sexuality, that being with Corey was right. His sense of destiny galloped headlong toward Corey’s bedroom, carrying Seth toward something he wanted with a fierceness that made every muscle in his body tremble.

He wanted what was to come, needed it. The darkness he’d lived in his entire life had brightened the moment Corey had spoken to him, and Seth didn’t want to go back to the dark. He wanted to walk in the sun for the first time, maybe the only time, in his life. Corey represented happiness and pleasure and freedom, all things that had been in short supply throughout Seth’s life. Tomorrow he’d think about whether he should continue to deny his sexuality. Tomorrow he’d figure out what to do for the rest of his life. Tonight, all he wanted was pleasure. The pleasure he and his lover would give each other…

“You’re thinking too much,” Corey murmured and wrapped one hand around the back of Seth’s head, drawing him closer. “You just need to feel. Feel and enjoy.”

Seth let Corey pull him close. His heart pounded so hard he wondered if Corey could hear it. As the wildling’s mouth came down on his, Seth had the sense that the sun had emerged from behind a cloud. Searing heat flushed his body as if the sun beat down on his skin. With a sigh, Seth surrendered to the teasing lick of Corey’s tongue, opening his mouth to invite his lover inside. Their tongues twined and joy shot through Seth. A simple kiss had never felt so good.

When Corey broke off the kiss, Seth moaned in protest. With a chuckle, Corey threaded his fingers with Seth’s and led the way upstairs. The bedroom stood in shadow, the setting sun slanting only a few faint rays through the open window. Corey flicked on the bedside lamp and the room filled with a golden light.

“Tell me what you want.”

Corey’s voice held a softness and caring that sent a shudder through Seth. So few people in his life had cared about him. For this man whom he’d just met to openly show he cared about Seth’s feelings, wants, and desires, sent a wave of nameless emotion through him. Although they’d not done much yet, Seth already teetered on overload. Yet, he welcomed it. His past would be set aside from this moment onward. He would look to the future and look inside himself for the answers, and not look to his pack or his family to supply the blueprint for his life.

“I want it all.”

His stark words were met with a glorious smile. The curving of Corey’s generous, sexy lips made Seth’s mouth water.

“Well, of course you do,” Corey said, brushing his fingers through Seth’s unruly hair. “And I’m perfectly willing to be a sexual smorgasbord, but where do you want to start? What do you want to do first?”

Seth reached up and locked his fingers around Corey’s wrist, feeling the thrum of the wildling’s blood beneath his fingertips. “Have you ever had a virgin before?” he asked, his heart suddenly aching to know where he stood with Corey.

Two hands cupped his face for a brief moment, a fleeting caress meant to soothe.

“No, I haven’t. But you’re special. I sensed it immediately,” Corey replied honestly, his steel blue eyes serious. “I want to show you how wonderful this can be. I want to show you what you feel is not wrong. How can pleasure be wrong? It is no one’s place to sit in judgment on another especially with regard to acts of pleasure between two consenting adults. You’re not a freak, Seth. You’re just a man with healthy desires. Other men will want to be with you. I want to be with you. And there is nothing wrong with that. Let me show you how good it can be.”

Seth pondered Corey’s words for a moment, recognizing the truth in them. The darkness within him lightened. He stretched out a hand and laid it on Corey’s hip.

“I want to touch and be touched.”

A sigh escaped the wildling. Something brilliant glittered in his steel colored eyes for a moment, then he blinked them shut. When they opened, raw hunger blazed at Seth from the handsome face of the man who would be his first real lover. Then Corey spread his arms wide. The teasing smile that Seth had instantly been drawn to lit Corey’s face. Bathed in the smile’s radiance, it almost seemed to Seth as if a door had closed on his past, locking the darkness away where it could no longer reach him. His mouth went dry, his heart pounded to an uneven rhythm driven by lust and a plethora of emotions he couldn’t begin to define.

With shaking but determined hands, Seth pushed up Corey’s polo shirt exposing a broad golden-skinned chest. Moments later, the shirt hit the floor, and Seth’s fingertips found the wildling’s nipples. The flat discs puckered beneath his touch, and Corey groaned. Silently, Seth groaned too. The smooth skin beneath his hands didn’t feel anything like a woman’s. His palms skated over the hard contours of Corey’s torso, and he decided the man’s skin felt like rough silk.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to invite readers and fans to friend me on Facebook, like my FB author page, and join my fan forum. I’ll be giving away prizes on my forum on occasion, things solely for my forum members! So there are advantages to being part of my “in” crowd! ;)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Swingers




Pajama parties are still fashionable, so I discovered last week while visiting a cousin who took me out on the town on a Saturday night. I'm not talking about cute footie pajamas or flannel nightgowns where young girls stay up too late poring over girlie mag romance quizzes, playing truth or dare and drooling over pictures of their favorite hotties. Nope. I'm talking adult pajama parties, PJ's optional. We arrived at a plain brick building with no signs indicating the name of the club. One of three beautifully muscled men held open a door and gave us approving winks as entered the dark foyer. Now, I didn't walk into that club without some knowledge as to what went on behind those doors, in fact my cousin had been very adamant that I know what to expect, in fact she gave me several opportunities to say no to the whole evening. But my natural curiosity and writer's brain wouldn't allow me to back down. Chances to go to such a place back in the tiny rural town I live in were zero to minus ten.


All her descriptions and details did not prepare me for Pajama Night at a downtown private swingers club.





The sexual revolution that blossomed in the 1970's at NYC's Studio 54 and other prime hotspots for disco dancing, drugs and rampant sex is very much alive in the club I went to. Alcohol was BYOB only, smoking not allowed. A small dance floor, DJ and a half dozen round top tables filled the front room. If not for a few topless women and a F/F couple making out on the dance floor, it could have been any general pop night club. Exit Room One, enter Room Two. The Mattress Room. Enormous circular mattress in the center, couples lounging on it in various stages of undress and sexual excitement. Thin canvas tents lined the walls, some flapped open inviting viewers, others closed against curious eyes.

The genesis of a biological cesspool.


As writers we're scavengers and collectors. Physical, physiological, psychological attributes of humans and animals intrigue us and spark possible story scenarios and characters to fill those pages. A swinger club may not be your idea of a good time, or even time well spent, but one hour there and my mental notebook was crammed full with luscious tidbits. Last year I took my first foray into writing erotic romance and continue to write in that genre so I sopped up the sights, sounds and scents of every pair, trio and four-and-more pile. So much better than a porn movie with a musical score of a lone bari sax playing boomchickaboom melodies.




Not much of what I saw could be labeled sensual. This club exists for sex and lust and satiation. Nowhere is the term, The More The Merrier, better suited. As strange as it may sound, although I didn't sense any emotion other than lust, there was an air of commaraderie, of connection and even protection amongst the members. This is basically a social club, like any other with members sharing common interests and bonds (friendship as well as leather and velvet), where smiles, hugs and handshakes are exchanged. The main difference between the other clubs and this one is that members tend to keep their clothes on, legs crossed and mouths shut except to speak.


So, am I the only one who didn't know clubs such as this existed beyond the movies and books? Any similar experiences?































Friday, October 29, 2010

Positive Black Cat Superstitions

Hi Everyone,

It's my turn to blog again. Halloween is nearly here and what better way to celebrate trick or treat than by relieving your minds if you run into a black cat while out doing your tricks and getting your treats. Smile.

Did you know that many people believe a black cat brings good fortune and also, that anyone who finds the one perfect, pure white hair in an all-black cat and plucks it out without being scratched, will find great wealth and good luck in love.

In Britain, on the Yorkshire coast, wives of fishermen believe that their men folk will return safely if a black cat is kept in the house.

A black cat in the audience on opening night portends a successful play.

In the south of France, black cats are referred to as "matagots" or "magician cats." According to local superstition, they bring good luck to owners who feed them well and treat them with the respect they deserve.

Black cats were once treated like royalty in the homes of English sailors, who believed that keeping them happy would ensure fair weather when they went to sea. They became so high-priced that few sailor could afford them.

English Proverb: "Whenever the cat of the house is black, The lasses of lovers will have no lack."

Many of you know that my hubby and I love cats. At a time neither one of us cared about cats, a black cat (we named him Maxie short for Maximillian) came into our lives. We learned a lot about cats. The cat I saw leap on a pigeon and break its neck as a kid causing me to hate cats was explained to me. He was homeless and only trying to survive. Max died this past February, and we have two cats now. One is black.

Many of the bad superstitions materialized just in the last few centuries. Before that cats were revered.


Much of the information in this blog came from Kinross Cattery.

Happy Halloween!

Sandy AKA Sandra K. Marshall

Author of Addiction and The Deceived
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com
http://www.skaymarshall.com
http://www.sandramarshallblog.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview of Author Alan Nayes

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Alan Nayes.

Latest Book: BARBARY POINT
Buy Link: http://www.xoxopublishing.com

BIO:
Alan Nayes was born in Houston and grew up on the Texas gulf coast. After attending medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, he moved to Southern California where he divides his time and energies between medicine and writing. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed biomedical thrillers, GARGOYLES and THE UNNATURAL.

An avid outdoorsman and fitness enthusiast, he is one of only a few individuals to ever swim across Wisconsin’s chilly Lake Winnebago. When not working on his next project, he enjoys relaxing and fishing at the family vacation home in Wisconsin.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: For my advance for my first book GARGOYLES, believe it or not, I was going to a fossil and mineral show—I’m intrigued with geodes and fossils—so I bought a $300 dinosaur egg. Wow, and it still hasn’t hatched.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The first sentence—then it becomes difficult. Also THE END.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: Everything between the first and last page. Nothing’s easy for me.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: My favorite character overall is one from my first book GARGOYLES—Amoreena Daniels. She overcame hell of some odds to survive until the last page. For my recent release, BARBARY POINT, it’s Kelly English. In fact, Kelly and Amoreena could probably be friends—as long as neither had eyes on the same guy!

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
A: In BARBARY POINT, Kelly English is a young beautiful woman who is also quite ambitious. She thinks she’s found her perfect mate—an older very successful rich businessman—until she travels back to Wisconsin to close out her father’s estate. There she meets Mitch Gabriel, a down-to-earth fishing guide who loves what he does. Kelly is surprised and totally caught off guard by the chemistry that literally explodes between them. Suddenly lavish homes and the high life of Los Angeles don’t carry quite the same panache. Celebrity movie star-that’s too easy—Megan Fox.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I read a lot and enjoy exercising—running, some weights, speed bag jumping rope—love swimming too, but my schedule makes finding pool time difficult.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: My persistence—rejections roll off me like water drops on a well polished Ferrari—no I don’t own one.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a beautiful woman, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: I’d fire up the computer and research via numerous science and biogenetic websites to determine the most efficient method of transforming that beautiful woman into a powerfully gorgeous mermaid. Then just prior to this bold audacious experiment I would make mad passionate love to her as a woman, because once she became a mermaid she would safely swim me to the mainland. Later we might even produce a pair of newborn merfants! How…ugly—then maybe not.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://www.anayes.com
http://www.xoxopublishing.com
http://www.amazon.com
facebook

BLURB:
When Kelly English flies back to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to close out her father’s estate, the last thing on her mind is falling in love. Again. Kelly is twenty-eight and engaged to an older man who is quite wealthy. She’s happy, and only desires to make the trip back brief, sell her deceased father’s place, and return to her stable life in Los Angeles. However, while taking care of business in Oshkosh, Kelly meets a fishing guide, launching her on an emotional journey she never could have predicted or foreseen. BARBARY POINT is Kelly’s story of what happened that one magical week in May on the shores of Lake Winnebago when the ducklings hatch and the walleye run.

EXCERPT:
PROLOGUE
Mother always reminded me, “Kelly, love from the mind is nothing more than a pleasurable arrangement, whereas love from the heart lasts forever.”

I had listened to these same exact words beginning in junior high, again in high school, and throughout college. And it always worried me I might not be able to tell the difference.

A man I deeply loved once told me that a fish lunges after an artificial lure solely on instinct. He sees it, wants it, and zappo, he’s hooked.

Love is a lot like that. You see someone you want, the chemistry is there, and zappo, you’re hooked.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the interview. That was easy—no stage fright involved!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sorry-post duplication!

I hit 'Publish Post' rather than 'Post Options' which put my October 30th post out there too soon. So sorry! Nothing like a double dose of Swingers........Polly/Isabel

The Celtic Origins of Halloween




Happy Halloween.
This dark holiday has its beginnings in the Celtic fire festival of
Samhain, pronounced SOW-uhn. Travel through the mist of time with these excerpts from my Celtic/Romance books to celebrate Samhain with the ancient Celts.
There was a great deal of singing and dancing around the huge bonfires at Samhain. Here is an excerpt from Druid Bride that will give you a feel for what fun they ancient Celts had:

Now that the fire was blazing, Tanwen raised her hands above her head and twirled, chanting as a gray-headed Lossio beat the bodhran. "The fire sparks. The veil parts. Spirits among us, bones, ashes, dust are once again family and
friends. Ancestors come near, feast with us here. Dance and Sing around the
stone ring. Great powers abound, the circle goes around. All hail Samhain."
Musicians came forth, strumming a harp and playing the Pict triple pipes. Brude meant to tell her they couldn't wed this eve, but as he neared her, she seemed more like the woman he longed to lie with again. Between thoughts of Tanwen entwined with him, the roaring bonfire, and the music, he forgot his forebodings.

He joined in a dance around the flames. The earth beneath him vibrated to the
beat of Lossio's goatskin drum, the haunting hum of the triple pipes, and the
ethereal tone of the harp. He was smoke rising from the fire, and the music
pushed him high into the air. Mellow warmth swirled in the pit of his belly.
Brude spun faster and faster around the blaze. As he leapt in the dance, he
turned his gaze toward Tanwen.


Samhain is the Celtic New Year eve so as is it falls between the old year and the new, it is a day without time. In Danger Is Sweet, it was a joyous day for the pregnant, Pictish princess, Bethoc whose husband is a selkie, a shape shifter between man and sea. Here’s an excerpt:

The air was filled with an exuberant din of singing, chattering, and further Samhain merriment. Her child would be born on this day, which fell betwixt the old and new year. A day without time.
Malcolm grinned at Bethoc as he carried her through the city streets. "A selkie,
a Scot, a Pict, and born on Samhain; this will be a special child."


The most important feature of Samhain was on that day with the veil between worlds at its thinnest, spirits of the dead and supernatural beings easily crossed into our earthly dimension. In this excerpt from Druid Bride you can share the wonder and magic of the ancient Celts as they visited with loved ones once more, who had passed on:

With thoughts of the new family she and Brude would soon have, Tanwen fastened her gaze on the feasters scattered across the hall. Here and there, between clusters of people, lay empty animal pelts with plates piled with food in front of them. Places for the spirits of the dead who came through the oak door to feast at Samhain.

Her ancestors, all of her family was here at her wedding, and sharing this day
with her. Her brother Boudicius, her mother, her father, her aunt, and her
grandmother Boudica, who had foreseen this very day. It brought a tear to her eye.
After feasting, the tribe climbed up the hill, where the kids played a game with
an apple hanging from a stick alongside a lit candle. One by one, amid squeals
and giggles, they tried to take a bite of the fruit, while the flaming candle
dangled dangerously near. Adults sat with each other, telling funny stories and
some serious ones of the events of the past year, encouraging the dead who
gathered with them to take interest in the affairs of the living. Others danced
around the bonfire, and many couples broke off from the crowd, to find little
spaces of privacy here and there, for coupling long into the night.
Brude swept Tanwen into his arms and carried her all the way down the hill and to his wheelhouse, where he laid her on his soft bed.


The ancient Celts put food or treats out for their ancestors and celebrated this day with them. Here is an excerpt from The Fox Prince with the characters busy baking and then putting out treats for the dead.

"Lads!" Nesta clapped her hands hard. "The tarts are almost done."

"Come, get your face painted for Samhain," Aelfrida called to the boys.
Firmly, she cupped the tallest lad's chin in one hand while brushing a chunk of
crumbling charcoal across his cheeks. He shut his eyes tight and she blew the
excess soot away. She looked at his sooty face and clicked her tongue.
"I do not know if you are a spirit of the dead or a dirty-faced lad."

He raised his arms and curled his fingers like claws then moaned loud enough to be heard in the otherworld.

"Oh!" She laughed. "A spook you are then!"

"Paint my face," the youngest lad called as he bobbed up and down.

The charcoal felt dry and powdery in Aelfrida's fingers as she sketched the outline of a skeleton on the little urchin face.

"You are a true haunt," Nesta declared.

Aelfrida smudged the third lad's face with black charcoal and pronounced, "The spirits are sure to think you one of them and pass you by." She stood back and grinned. They are so cute. Not a one is a terror as they are of a wont to be. "Let me paint your face, Githa," Aelfrida called to the little girl.

"Nay." Githa shook her head and scampered toward the wall.

Aelfrida burst out in laughter. A pounding noise sounded at her back followed by creaking and a chill gust of wind. She swiveled to her left. The door was open but no one was there. The children suddenly grew quiet. Their wide eyes fixed upon a spot to her right. Slowly, she turned.

"Boo!" Tryffin stood there with a huge grin on his soot-covered face.

Aelfrida flung her hands aside her head. "You are a sight." She dropped her
shoulders and burst out in giggles.

"I am a spirit come to find a live body for Samhain." With a seductive gleam in
his eyes he said, "I think I shall take yours."


Here's one last excerpt, this from my comming Celtic/Paranormal/Romance, The Wolf and the Druidess to be released 12/07/10.

Her mother had been so proud and told everyone, "See how wise my daughter is, so blessed by the gods, the druids took her to foster." Few were chosen, training took many years, and a druid’s ranking in the tribe placed as high as the chief’s. Seren was surprised how much older she was now, five and twenty years, still she had a need for her mother. The loss was deep. It left a hole in her. Warmth and joy would return to her heart tonight when she celebrated her favorite feast day, Samhain, the New Year, with her departed mam.
Just moments ago she heard the call of an owl, the chirp of a bird, and the whistling wind, but the forest had suddenly grown so quiet she could hear the crackle of dried leaves and the rustle of her elbow brushing across a bush.
As she walked, she glimpsed a creature passing like a black shadow between the spooky trees. It crept in stealth like part of the darkness itself. A shiver shot through her. But the mysterious being didn’t make a sound and seemed uninterested in her. Seren held the torch out as she turned around, searching for anything there. She saw nothing.
Seren kept to the narrow path as she walked deeper into the forest. She’d sensed something. Mayhap a spirit, they came to earth tonight, but she knew it wasn’t her mother's ghost, she’d recognize her.

There was no turning back. Whatever it was, she would make peace with it. Seren had to bring the Samhain meal to her mother and honor her, yet she couldn’t shake the odd feeling someone watched her.

Holding the torch high, she chanted. “The torch is burning, the year is turning, by this light, I greet the spirits of Samhain night.” Seren called out, “Who is there? Be you sprit or man?”

No one answered and she picked up her pace down the dirt path through the thick forest, so dense with trees. They crowded in on her, like a trap. Brandishing the burning torch like a bright weapon, she hurried on shaky legs toward the cairn. She gasped, nearly tripping over a large fallen branch, but caught her footing.



Happy Samhain/Halloween,
Cornelia Amiri

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creepsters


It's almost Halloween. Every site is doing something appropriately ghoulish. I apparently fit right in with that theme. Halloween is my birthday. I work at a cemetery. I write stories that have ghosts, demons, dragons, werewolves and vampires in them. I am a Creepster. I like creepy things like my Zombies Ate My Brain t-shirt and Skulls and Bones candies. I don't watch horror movies but that's because I don't really have time to and the fake blood makes me yawn anyway. I did like Zombieland but it wasn't really a horror movie.

So for all you creepsters out there who like the macabre, I've got three things for you today. First, if you run over to my Five Dark Realms website and sign up for my forum and participate on the board by posting a few times, you'll be entered into a drawing and could win books! Second, I'm going to invite you all to post your cemetery questions today and I will answer them. Just don't be upset if I can't do it right away. I have to use my lunch hour to do it and I'm on Pacific time. Third, I'm going to give you a taste of my dark tale Ain't Nuthin' But a Hellhound which is in the Weirdly III anthology of creepy dark tales.

Blurb:

Lilah hunts hellhounds because she can. Half demon, she travels the night in search of the hellhounds who steal human souls. Using her powers, she strips the demons of their prey and saves the humans’ souls. But a demon lord, the Lord of the Hellhounds and her former lover, stalks her even while her father, demon royalty, seeks to bring her back to the demon realm. When Lilah saves the soul of a college professor, he teaches her a lesson about power that sets the demon hunter on a collision course with both her father and her former lover.

EXCERPT:

Lilah didn’t give in to her demon side, except for her work. She’d become a demon hunter because her father didn’t believe in her. Aside from her mother, he and one other were the only beings she’d ever loved, and they thought her human side made her weak. They seemed unaware of the fact that she had never felt human and despised human weakness. Still, she knew in her heart that she didn’t belong in the demon realm right now.

The converted warehouse she called home loomed at the end of an industrial cul-de-sac. Before she could reach the huge spell-locked metal door, Lilah realized she was no longer alone. She stopped, her acute hearing picking up the sound of something non-human. Turning, she faced a hellhound.

“You scared my minion. He was new and now you’ve frightened him. He’s afraid to go back out in the field.”

The familiar voice washed over her, bringing with it the sting of desire in her body. Ignoring her rising pulse, Lilah raised one brow. “You should train them better, Xavion,” she replied in an icy tone.

The tall figure of the hellhound emerged from the shadows. He stepped closer to her, deliberately invading her comfort zone. She didn’t step back, although she wanted to. Xavion enjoyed taunting her with his body and the pleasures he could give her.

“I train them well, Lilah. You just keep getting better at deterring them,” he murmured, reaching up to wrap a lock of her hair around his forefinger. “I love it when you show off what I taught you.”

She scowled at him. “My father taught me. I rarely think about the things you showed me.”

Xavion laughed softly. “Even after fifty years, you’re still trying to forget that I took your virginity and gave you such pleasure.”

“Someone had to take it. Might as well have been you,” she muttered, turning her back on him and walking toward her warehouse. “It wasn’t anything special.”

“Oh, ho! So you say, my lovely. I happen to know that it was.” He grabbed her arm, pulling her around to face him. “It was special for us both. Why have you kept me at arm’s length?”

Lilah glared at him. “Because I don’t want to be involved with you. You are my father’s heir, a hellhound lord, and my natural enemy, Xavion, not my lover.”

“I’m not your enemy, Lilah, natural or otherwise. When will you get that through your thick skull?” he ground out, pressing his body to hers. “You do this…this soul saving…only to thwart me, to show me that you don’t care for me or your father. But I know better, Lilah. We belong together.”

She shook her head. “No, we don’t. You’re nothing to me except another hellhound I must stop. You take the lost souls. I save them. We have nothing in common, Xavion, so leave me alone!”

He grabbed her chin with hard fingers. If she had been human, his grip would have broken bones or at least bruised her severely. “You’re wrong, Lilah. I can wait until you acknowledge it.”

“You will wait forever then.” Her tone was resolute, giving no quarter, as she stared at him defiantly.

Xavion’s dark head bent, and his beautiful mouth hovered over hers. “It’s a good thing that I have eternity on my side. I will win this battle, my love. I must.”

He kissed her, his lips taking hers, demanding a response. She fought the urge to kiss him back. Her body screamed in protest, wanting to cleave to him, touch him. Her heart recoiled from her physical response to the lord of the hellhounds. She didn’t want him, didn’t want what he represented, didn’t want to be a pawn between him and her father. She grew icy cold, stiffening in his grasp.

Xavion released her and stepped back. His broad chest heaved, and his dark eyes glowed feral red. “Things are changing in the demon realm, Lilah. You would do well to remember what I offer you.”

She glared at him, despite the frisson of warning that snaked down her spine at his mention of changes in the demon realm. “I sampled what you have to offer, Xavion. That was enough for me. I have no use for demons.”

His expression tightened with anger at the insult. “I’m not kidding, Lilah daughter of Desrael. I must have you. And I will.”

Xavion muttered an incantation, and a hole opened in the night, an inky swirl of darkness in the empty space beside him. The shimmering hole in the air was so black and deep it sucked light right into it. The scent of sulfur and dark spices emerged from the blackness giving away the fact that it was a portal to the demon realm “It’s not as bad as you think there, Lilah. It’s no different than any other realm in the universe.”

“It’s Hell, Xavion, and you’re a hellhound, a minion of the darkest forces this universe has to offer. I am not one of you.” She turned and walked away, not waiting to see him use the portal, deliberately ignoring the lure of his body and his world.



I hope you enjoyed this taste of my dark tale. Now, it's time for you to ask me anything you want about the cemetery or my books or my crazy birthday. (Trust me, the cemetery stuff is MUCH more interesting than my birthday.) Tell me what you want to know about the cemetery! Or ask me where to get the cool zombies shirt. ;)

Wishing you a creepy, macabre Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Guest Blog: Melisse Aires: "Writing In a Multi-Author Series"


Del Fantasma: Demonade is my second story in the Del Fantasma paranormal romance series from Aspen Mountain Press. I am one of more than a dozen authors who have written in this series. There is a great variety in the stories in this series but some elements must remain the same.

All the stories are based on a bar called the Del Fantasma which is on the beach in southern California. It is owned by a good-looking vampire, Cody Warren, who also bartends. Each book is titled after a drink served in the story. Cody is quite the matchmaker with his drinks!

To write for this series an author needs a copy of the ‘bible’ which tells the rules of that world which they can get from Aspen Mountain Press. The writer needs to keep with in the scope of the world but still have unique characters and plot.

Before I wrote my first Del Fantasma, I bought several of the books and I enjoyed them. After I studied the bible, story ideas started to brew as I searched cocktail websites for drinks. Ideas finally jelled and I submitted Del Fantasma: Tiger Juice, which later was contracted.

It was so much fun I decided to do it again! Del Fantasma: Demonade came out just in time for Halloween.

Everytime a new Del Fantasma story comes out I gobble it up—and as an author I sell a few more copies than normal! For me it s a win–win situation. Also an advantage to a writer—the series has built in readership, so your name reaches readers who might not otherwise pick you up. I encourage authors to not be intimidated by a series bible—you imagination can take flight within that world!

Here’s my Long Blurb for Demonade:
Trudy lost her beloved sisters in eighteenth century, but she is a survivor. As a half human daughter of the demon Asmodeus, she is a psyvamp, ever young and beautiful. Unlike her dead sisters, she does not engage in relationships with men, instead she moves from club to party, city to city, stealing small amounts of life force from intoxicated young men, never staying long in any one place. She is lonely, but friendships do not work for one like her and relationships with men seem to be deadly for her kind.

The Del Fantasma is a unique place, friendly, where she can relax after her nightly hunts and alleviate a little of her loneliness. But Cody introduces her to a man, Professor Gabriel Di Russi, a former priest, a scholar of demonology who once was part of a secret priestly society that studied demons for the Church. He is not like the drunk young men she feeds from, or like the dying old men she sometimes marries. Gabriel is both fascinating and frightening, and he wants to interview her—and she agreed!

What has she done?

BUY LINK AND EXCERPT:
http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/new-releases/del-fantasma-demonade/prod_316.html
Thank you for having me today! I will draw a winner from the comments on this post to receive a pdf of Del Fantasma: Demonade.

Melisse Aire
http://www.melisseaires.com

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Research and the Writer

Yesterday afternoon, I spent the day with several writing friends, and the topic turned to research. Maggie asked me if I'd actually ever been to Hong Kong, the setting of my newest historical release, Kismet's Salvation. The answer? No. Nor have I visited Victorian London or New Orleans during the War of 1812 or many of the other settings I've written over the year. As writers, we're often told, "Write what you know." So how did I manage to write about Hong Kong without ever having been?

Research.

Research can be a tricky thing. When I wrote my first historical it was over 800 pages in length, thanks to the tons of facts I learned that fascinated me. And surely, if I was fascinated, my readers would be, too! Ummm...really? Not so much. The Internet can be a wealth of information, but it isn't necessarily factual. So how did I research Victorian London and 19th century Hong Kong? Through books. Travel books, historical books, picture books. I read journals of people who'd lived in these places during the years my story took place. I immersed myself in the culture of Tao, studied the habits of pink dolphins and jackass penguins, and strolled cobblestone streets without ever leaving my library.

And what did all those research books gain me in the end? A book of my own. A book I love and I'm proud to put my name on. Want a peek at 19th century Hong Kong? Take a look at it through my heroine's eyes:

Under Armand’s guidance at the wheel, South Star sailed into Hong Kong harbor through the West Lamma Channel. The air filled with a thick, heavy fragrance. Inhaling deeply, Lydia discerned the distinctive tang of salt mixed with a more flowery exotic perfumed scent.


Baptiste, beside her at the rail, covered her hand with his own. “Hong Kong means fragrant harbor in the Chinese dialect of Cantonese.”

To her mind, no greater truth had been written since the scriptures of the Bible.

“The odor comes from the incense factories over there.” He pointed past the ships that crowded the channel to the hilly, rocky island where gray, weathered clapboard buildings dotted the shoreline.

She stared over those sad, dilapidated structures for a long while.

“Cridick-crick-crick-cree!”

From beneath her feet, a crackly screech rose. Peering down into the blue-green water, she found an odd sea creature, even stranger than the comical penguins of South Africa, swam alongside the ship. The beastie resembled a large fish but had a long pink snout and face with a white underbelly. With its wide-open mouth and square teeth, he appeared to grin up at her, and the squeaks he made sounded a greeting in a tradition unfamiliar yet unmistakable in meaning.

On a giggle of delight, she leaned over the rail and waved. “Hello there, my friend. Thank you for the warm welcome to your home.”

“That’s a dolphin,” Baptiste said. “Unusual to see one this time of year.”

The playful creature disappeared beneath the surface, and she returned her attention to Baptiste. “I thought dolphins were gray.”

“Most of them are,” he replied. “But for some reason the dolphins of Hong Kong are born gray or black, then turn pink and white as they mature.”

What else had all her books failed to reveal about this strange faraway land? In truth, no amount of description in a book could have prepared her for the variety of wonders her senses beheld as she looked out over this paradise.

Unfamiliar smells, some fishy, some flowery, tickled her nostrils and landed on her tongue, lending their tastes to her mouth and throat. No matter where she looked, her eyes drank in an array of quaint peculiarities. From the dolphin who swam in the water to the ships that sailed atop its surface, one unusual and colorful view melded into another.

A variety of styles of clipper ships and barques clustered about, dwarfing the smaller vessels that shared the harbor with them. Dinghies transported sailors from their moored ships to the shore while local fisherman aboard tinier boats hauled in nets filled with their fresh squirming catch. In the distance, a more triangular vessel she recognized as a Chinese junk glided past on its way out to sea.

Against the backdrop of all those white sails, the hills and mountains on land took on a blue-gray hue beneath a purplish sky.

Her ears had heard the strange cry of the pink dolphin, but also recognized the squawk of various sea birds, the sing-song voices of Chinese sailors, and the more familiar sounds of British accents mixed with a smattering of French and Spanish.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt! Kismet's Salvation is available now from The Wild Rose Press.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interview of Author Suz deMello

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Suz deMello.

Latest Book: Gypsy Witch October 2010
Buy Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/authordetail.asp?A_ID=7
AND: Highland Vampire November 2010
Buy Link: http://www.eharlequin.com

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Screamed very loudly, no doubt trashing the eardrums of my editor.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The beginning. I usually start with a really strong image in my mind, and all I have to do is describe it.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The ending. I'm lousy at writing romantic wrap-up scenes, though IMO some have turned out quite well.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Oh, not at all. Some heroes are tall dark and handsome while others are tall, blond and handsome. They're all tall, though, because I'm tall. Oddly enough my heroines are often petite and slender.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Yoga and world travel.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: YA fantasy, because I love it so much. I’m a big fan of Rowling, of course, but also love Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare and Melissa Marr.

Where can we find you?
http://www.suzerotica.com

Gypsy Witch BLURB:
The Sacramento Sheriff's Department is no place for airy-fairy wimps, and Ben McCullough is the toughest of the tough. He tells himself he's bedding the luscious Elena Lautari only because she's a babe, not because she's a card-carrying member of the Northern California Church of Wicca. Ben thinks she's a feather away from an arrest for fraud, since she makes a living telling fortunes and making charms for the lovelorn. He can't see her as a lifelong mate even though she's more than a match for him in the sack, and losing her is unthinkable.

But Elena is the real deal, a modern witch of much power and even more restraint. When her daughter, Gina, steals her mother's spell book and uses it to shatter the fabric of existence and release an ancient evil, Elena must put reality back in place—even if she loses Ben in the process. Will Ben and Elena's fragile love be lost with the revelation of her magic?

Maybe, but there are others ready to heal her battered heart. When Ben's partner attempts to claim Elena, will Ben move aside or move in?

Gypsy Witch EXCERPT:
Ben propped himself up on his elbows to better see the naked woman beneath him. Sheened with sweat, Elena’s lush curves glowed in the reddish half-light of her bedroom, curtained in exotically patterned swaths of gauze and silk. A curl of smoke from a lit incense stick scented the air with sandalwood. Otherworldly New Age music flowed out of a boom box in the corner, irritating the hell out of him.

Elena’s bedroom was that of a gypsy witch, and despite the incredible sex he’d been having with her for a month, he wouldn’t allow himself to fall under her spell. Except for in the sack, she wasn’t his type.

They’d met through their kids, eleven-year-olds who’d attended the same summer camp. Now that camp was over, Ben was frankly grateful that Tom and Gina liked to hang out together, since they seemed to keep each other amused and out of trouble. As a single dad, finding activities for his son was tough. Ben hated to admit it, but he sometimes found that Tom was a distraction from his job.

Ben shoved everything extraneous out of his mind to focus on the beautiful woman he was inside. They were the same age—thirty-six—but Elena was nothing short of spectacular. She always wore an enormous topaz on a golden chain that dangled between her breasts. She claimed she focused her power through the jewel. Ben thought that was wacko, but didn’t care.

Too bad she was, literally, a card-carrying nut. He remembered the time she’d shown him her membership in the Northern California Church of Wicca. He’d concealed his smirk only because he wanted to lay her. And that had to be all, he admonished himself. He was a sheriff’s deputy, and couldn’t afford to have a permanent relationship with Elena Lautari. She wasn’t the kind of woman who fitted in with the rest of his life.

He tried to picture her drinking a beer with the other cops and their wives, and failed utterly.

“What?” she asked, running light fingertips up and down his sides, eliciting shivers.

“Whaddaya mean, what?”

“You looked as though you were ten miles away.”

Her caress slowed. “I wonder what the kids are doing?”

“I think they went over to my place. They’re probably watching a DVD. It’s too hot to go outside and swim.”

“Who’s watching them?” Her voice sharpened.

“Aw, Elena, relax. They’re okay. They know what they can and can’t do.”

“Mmmm. Hope you’re right.” She reached for him, this time climbing on top. He wasn’t sure he was ready for another bout yet, but she knew exactly how to turn him on.
* * * *
Hot and dusty, Tom stood with Gina at the corner of 12th and J Streets in downtown Sacramento. Above him, the door of the Masonic Temple was set within a Gothic style arch made of peach-coloured stone. The arch was high and pointed; on each side of the arch, a knight stood brooding, eyes downcast, hands folded over stony hauberks.

He ruffled his short blond hair, trying to cool his sweaty scalp, and glanced over at Gina, who clutched a sheaf of notes in one sticky hand. A basket lay on its side at her feet.

“Can’t we do this on an afternoon that isn’t a hundred-million degrees out?” Tom looked over at the thermometer/clock high on the side of the bank across J Street. It flashed 100 in dots at one second time intervals. As he watched, the number changed to 101, and the time to 2:19.

“We’re actually supposed to do this at midnight.” Gina pushed dark bangs off her damp forehead. “But we aren’t allowed out after dark. Besides, it’s dangerous downtown at night.”

“I know that. Why are we trying to do this if we can’t do this right?”

“You got a better idea?”

“Yeah. Let’s go to Vic’s and get ice cream.”

“We spent all our money on this stuff.” She nudged the basket with her toe. “We might as well go ahead with it. It won’t take very long, and then we can go over to your house and swim.”

He sighed. “Anything to drink in here?” He squatted down and emptied the contents of the basket onto the sidewalk.

“Careful, there’s glass in there. Hey, don’t drink that!” She grabbed a bottle out of his hand. “That’s yucky.”

“Frog’s water.”

“Like frog pee? Eeewww.”

"Here." She handed him a bottle of Snapple lemonade.

He drank before passing it back to her. After she’d taken a few gulps, she flipped through the notes and sorted the ingredients for the spell. “Lucky my mom and your dad are really into each other,” she said. “I could never have gotten into her spell book if she was paying attention.”

Highland Vampire
BLURB:
Natasha Desmond is a woman on the run. But the castle in which she seeks refuge may harbor a greater menace. She hopes she's found a new love, but does Garrett Kilburn serve the castle's ancient terror?

Highland Vampire EXCERPT:
I had fled as fast and as far as I could. I could run no farther than to the edge of the world, here at the northwestern corner of Scotland.

The gloaming was deep upon the land when I found Kilburn Castle. Isn’t that what Scots called it, the gloaming? That mysterious time between day and night, when blue dusk dims the sky and magical beings wander forth.

I let my little rented Vauxhall roll to a stop and considered the broody hulk of a castle high on a hill above the sea, silhouetted against the deepening night. The crash of the waves against the cliff was interrupted by a car roaring out of the fortress’s gate. It sped past me, almost clipping my bumper in its haste, and raced down the hill, its headlights switching on as it traversed a curve in the narrow road.

Darkness fell, and I shivered theatrically. A light winked on in a small stone gatehouse a few yards from me. It illuminated a sign written in neat script, thick black on white.

VACANCY.

That settled it. I got out of the car, shivered non-theatrically—it was chilly—and walked toward the gatehouse, my boots crunching on the stony earth. I rapped on the glass-fronted door.

After a few seconds, it opened to reveal a pale-skinned man, a local from the look of him. I’d noticed that everyone here wore a pallor indicative of little sunlight. His eyes, however, were the green of snapping turtles, and he had hair as dark as the other side of the moon. His beard was burgeoning.

He held a pipe, which on any other twenty-something male would look stupid and pretentious, but seemed natural in his hand.

He was sexy, and I was surprised I’d noticed. I hadn’t thought about sex since Auntie Jacqueline had collapsed and died. But this man’s pale, well-cut lips, high cheekbones and masculine stubble shot my mind straight to deep kisses and hot sex.

“Do you have a bed for the night?” I asked. I tried not to scope out his body, but I noticed that he was fit, if slender, and clad in a dark sweater and jeans, like me.

“I do indeed.” His voice was rich, melodic, accented. “And who wants one, may I ask?”

I stuck out my right hand. “Natasha Desmond.” I didn’t see the point of concealing my identity. I didn’t have a fake passport, and all hoteliers asked for papers.

When he shook my hand, I noticed his grasp was firm, his fingers cool. He released me quickly. “Well, Natasha Desmond, are ye certain ye wish to stay at Castle Kilburn?”

“Sure. Why not?”

A short pause. “Ye’ll be our only guest. Even the staff leaves after sundown.”

I remembered the car that had sped down the hill a few moments ago. “That’s not safe,” I said. “What if I fall in the shower? What about dinner?”

“There’s an emergency cord in the loo,” he said.

Like in institutions. Like in the kind of place my family had wanted to put me. Great.

The gatekeeper continued, “And there’s food in the buttery.”

“The—the buttery?”

“The pantry. A buttery was a storage area for liquor,” he explained. “We don’t make whiskey any more, so we use the room for food stores.”

“Oh. All right. I suppose.” I silently questioned the usefulness of Auntie’s billion-dollar bequest if I had to stay in a drafty castle with no staff and dubious food.

But I had gotten myself into the situation by randomly driving around the Highlands. I had no one to blame but the skinny blond girl I saw in the mirror every day when I brushed my teeth. I certainly couldn’t blame the gatekeeper.

“The gate’s open,” he said. “I’ll meet you at the front.”

Good heavens. There was a portcullis. I drove through quickly, mindful of the many films I’d seen which featured portcullises (portculli?) trapping knights, or orcs, or whatever.

Whatever, it was creepy.

I drove into the castle courtyard and passed what looked like a firepit. When I reached the massive front doors of the castle, he was already there. The gatekeeper. How had he done it?

There had to be a quicker way than driving through the huge front gate, I decided, and he’d taken it, along with the terrier that gamboled in his wake.

I got out of the car and opened its back door for my suitcase. The gatekeeper got there first—again—and pulled it out. “Just the one bag?” he asked.

“Yeah. Um, by the way, you are…”

“Garrett Kilburn.” He turned and smiled at me. “Welcome to Castle Kilburn, Miss Desmond.”

“This is your castle,” I said, surprised. I bent to pat the dog, who licked me enthusiastically.

“Indeed it is. Sort of,” he added under his breath.

“Excuse me?” I straightened, wiping my damp hand on my jeans.

“Come along through here.” He ushered me in through the carved wooden doors. Bound with massive dark metal bands, they were straight out of Robin Hood, or perhaps they’d been used on the set of Lord of the Rings. But these were the real thing. “I’m awed,” I told Garrett. “This place is magnificent. I’m honored to stay here.”

He handed me a key. “Let’s see what ye say in the morning.”
# # #
I ate, bathed and went to bed, and by the time dawn rolled around was wondering if perhaps my family was right, and I was crazy.

I’d become convinced that Castle Kilburn was haunted.

Friday, October 22, 2010

"The Heroine's Journey"


Recently, I was doing some book research in the history section of my local Barnes & Noble. I scanned the shelves carefully but didn’t come close to finding what I was looking for. “History” it seems is a synonym for hero of military battles, political ideals, pandemic infections and the weapon catalogs. Those few topics dominated the shelves and comprised the only “heroes in history” offered. According to this scantily stocked book section the only way to become a “Hero” was to get involved in a military conflict or political intrigue.
That struck me as a real shame. If I had just arrived from another planet I might come to the conclusion war and politics were the most fascinating topics to humans and possibly the only way to be thought of as a hero, and I’d be wrong. These topics are important to male historians and Joseph Campbell certainly has a lot to say about the hero’s journey but...

What about the heroine’s journey?

The history of women is one of people on the move. Historically women have been viewed as property of their tribe, country, fathers, captors and abductors. Women were traded, stolen, bought, bargained for, or claimed in battle. Women being the resilient creatures they are have always tried to make the best of a difficult situation.

Our culture talks a lot about history and the “Hero cycle” but beneath all that is something inescapable and equally important…
“The Heroine’s journey” which takes place in a woman’s heart and mind and is strongly tied to her physical sexuality.

The first part of the cycle is betrayal. This happens on many levels.

In its simplest form childhood ends, a sexual beast within awakens, teenage chaos reigns=betrayal of innocence.

Another theme is a parent or parental-figure recognizes the sexual potential in the girl and either withdraws from her on some level or acts. Power struggles, repression, fear, conflict, arranged marriage, exploitation, sexual abuse and jealousy often ensue. Either way pick your poison it all adds up to—betrayal.
Or, the most common thread in our culture, the girl trusts, gives her heart willing and suffers a smack-down betrayal.

Which starts the next important part of the cycle: “Physical love and trust.”
At this point it’s too late, the apple has been tasted and no matter if the experience was bitter, sweet or a bit of both, it’s time to brave another taste. The remedy for betrayal is trust and a huge hurdle of women’s sexuality is learning to trust and cultivating trustworthy behavior.
If you want to know more about this stage look no further than the romance section of the book stacks. The entire romance genre from paranormal to erotic is all about learning to trust and fully surrender to the call of Eros. Eros is the driving force of the heroine’s journey. She does “it” for love…

In real life I heartily recommend a woman choose a trustworthy man to fall in love with. In fiction I hearty recommend you don’t. Inherently untrustworthy heroes who have something to learn and something to lose from entering into a stable love relationship make exciting reading. The more a heroine trusts and takes risks with this possibly questionable man the better the drama.

One example is my favorite fictional hero Edward Rochester. He literally drags poor Jane Eyre to the altar only to be exposed on his wedding day as a liar and a married man. Phew! He acts selfishly and has a long row to hoe on his way back to winning Jane’s trust. Big conflict, big drama the rest of the book is filled with punishing and redeeming Rochester.

Another untrustworthy and familiar hero is Jake from Avatar. I loved watching this movie with the kids but beyond the beauty on the screen, my eyes were seeing a lot of untrustworthy behavior. Paraplegic Jake takes on a healthy Avatar body to learn the ways of the Na’ vi natives of Pandora but he also takes on a dual agenda, which he keeps secret from his love interest Neytiri. Much of Jake’s untrustworthy behavior is completely unintentional and later fills him with regret. In this twist Jake betrays himself and has to go to great lengths to win back Neytiri’s trust. Big conflict, big drama ensues and the rest of the movie is about Jake’s apology and personal redemption at the hands of the Na’vi.

Neytiri gets the full heroine’s journey. She takes a big risk with an inherently untrustworthy man, gets badly betrayed and enters the trust and redemption cycle with her eyes wide open.
That’s the brief run down of the Heroine’s journey. It’s also our journey and it’s an exciting and worthy topic.
I would love to hear about your favorite untrustworthy hero and why you love him anyway.
XXOO Kat
PS My book trailer for “Owned By Rome” is entry #18 in a video contest at
“You Gotta Read Videos” If you can, please drop by. Your vote is much appreciated!
http://yougottareadvideos.blogspot.com/





Thursday, October 21, 2010

Makings Of An Author

As a mother, we are often proud of our children for the littlest things. Sometimes it's a great test grade they worked so hard to get. Perhaps it was something they said in kindness to someone else that touched your heart. Or maybe they did something they had never done before and succeeded. Either way, when our children do these things, we cannot help but feel that all our hard work as responsible, loving parents is paying off.

Yesterday, I had one such moment with my oldest daughter. To set the scene, she is a twelve year old girl with a very tender soul. She always thinks of others before herself and cares what others are going through in life. If she knows people are going through a difficult time, it weighs heavily on her heart and mind. Truthfully, she is one of the most thoughtful pre-teens I have ever met.

Anyway, she came home from school yesterday and told me she had to write a story for Religion class, one that shows a person dealing with a burden or struggle. The teacher allowed the children in the class to pick their plot and my daughter decided to write about a girl who was not well-off due to her mother losing her job. To top it off, the  girl was also having to switch schools because she had to live with her father until her mother could get back on her feet.

Upon hearing her story's conflict, I was immediately concerned. For one, my husband and I are happily married and love our children dearly. Secondly, we are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we are certainly not struggling to make ends meet either. So where she got this idea of writing a story about struggling, divorced parents and their impressionable daughter was beyond me.

But what really blew me away, was hearing her actual story as she read it to me. Now granted, she didn't have it finished, but what she wrote was absolutely incredible. Her word choices were quite unique, and her use of adjectives, mildly scattered throughout, had added variety and color to her fictional tale.

I remember sitting their in awe as she read it to me, her emotions vividly coming out in the words she had written. And all I could think of was, "Wow, my daughter has a knack for narrating a compelling story. Would she ever realize this? And would she ever make the most of her talent?"

Though both my questions were completely rhetorical, I still wondered if she really would decide to be an author one day like her mother. As far as I was concerned, she had a natural gift, and not many understand that or even capitalize on it.

So, in being the proud, supportive mother, I hugged her tight and told her what a great job she did for writing something she knew little about, and portraying it all in such a believable way. And while I would never push my daughter in the direction I had gone, I was still happy to know she had acquired my creative side and was not afraid to show it.

Later, when we talked about her story and where she was going to take it, she had mentioned to me that she had so many other stories in her head too. That every day she thinks of a new story and wants so badly to write about them before she forgets.

I had to laugh. Whether she knows it or not, I think she definitely has the makings of an author! But am I ready for her to write romance? I think not.

I'm just glad I can help her to hone her talent and encourage her to make good use of it, if that is, in fact, the path she wants to take in life.

Anyone else have a daughter or son who's expressed an interest in writing? I'd love to know your story.



Visit RENEE VINCENT at: http://www.reneevincent.com/
or at her blog, PAST THE PRINT: http://www.pasttheprint.blogspot.com/



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guest Blog: "A Rose By Any Other Name" by Brynna Curry


A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…

Bio: Paranormal romance author, editor and reviewer, Brynna Curry, also writing as Brianna Roarke, is a life long believer in the importance of reading. She enjoys the writing process and helping others hone their craft whether by reviewing published novels, critiquing raw manuscripts or serving as a contest judge. When she isn't writing Brynna enjoys spending time with her children at the park and local library. She makes her home in the Deep South with her husband, son, two daughters, and their redbone hound Diablo. She is the author of the Elemental Magic Series books including Earth Enchanted, To Take Up the Sword, Wait for the Wind, Sea’s Sorceress and Fire’s Ice.

When I first began writing I decided to use a pseudonym instead of my real name. Why? You might ask. Isn’t part of the ‘dream’ to see your name on the cover of the book you so painstakingly created? I think there are many reasons an author chooses to write under a pen name or even two names. Let’s say you have a very common name. For example, John Smith. Would you want to be confused with other authors of the same name? What if your real name was Nora Roberts or Amanda Quick?

Maybe you write erotica, but teach kindergarten as a day job. (Yes. I know of a few that do. *smiles*) Or a government agent that writes legal thrillers? Something else to consider is your family. Let’s say you become mega-famous. There are all sorts of dangers attached to fame. Do you want anyone with access to Google knowing your five-year-old’s name, school, etc? It’s amazing what you can find out about yourself (and your kids) just by Googling your name.

So what do you do? And if you choose to go by a pseudonym, how do you decide? Essentially you’re starting fresh, creating a new shell of a person to contain you as the author. Once that ‘person’ exists, they tend to take on a life of their own. Using a variant of your name, middle name, or initials may be the way to go. Then again you could create an entirely different name.

For mine I chose to use an old family name, Curry. The Currys and Motes (or at least my branch lol) are from what my grandma called the black hills of Ireland. They immigrated during the great famine, as did many other Irish, settled in the Decatur, Alabama area and over time married into the English Pitts and Cherokee Indians. Needless to say there are plenty of family legends to build into stories and I’d hoped to honor our heritage by using the name. Brynna is an old Gaelic name (I think the spelling is Scottish.) which means sword or strength. I like that strength in family.

For my bloodthirsty alter ego, dabbling in dark paranormal romance I created Brianna Roarke. Gypsy Moon, a werewolf novella that name, is out now with Red Rose Publishing.

It's been a pleasure chatting with you today. To learn more about my books and to see what I'm working on now, visit my website http://brynnacurrybriannaroarkebooks.webs.com

Blessings,
Brynna

Gypsy Moon by Brianna Roarke

When witch Ana Brannon finds a wounded stranger in the woods surrounding her cabin, she does all she can to save his life. She never guessed her special skills with animals would be just what the werewolf ordered.

Howl Raven, P.I., is on the run from a past he can't escape. When the hunter catches up with him in Parker's woods, death snaps at his heels. Can the lovely Ana break his blood curse?

Now available from Red Rose Publishing
http://redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=216&products_id=257

Earth Enchanted: Elemental Magic Book One

When telepath meets ex-cop, will it be death or diamonds.

Writer Liv Corrigan has the worst luck with men -- her telepathy tends to make them run for the hills. When she meets widower and ex-cop Jack Roarke, she decides to keep her talent hidden. Things are looking up until their third date crashes and burns as the man who murdered Jack’s wife turns out to be after him too.

Injured, Jack retreats with Liv to his house under armed guard. But with Liv’s mysteries rapidly coming unraveled, a diamond-thief killer to stop and passion in the air, the safe house is anything but safe for their hearts!

http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_31&products_id=187&zenid=aih5v8rmljr95ruhjcn7od0ir5

To Take Up the Sword: Elemental Magic Book Two

Missing diamonds and a killer on the loose…will a schoolteacher and FBI agent escape with their lives and hearts intact?

After the acquittal of Gueraldi's right hand and favored killer for hire, Ashton Smythe, Special Agent Gabriel Spiller takes time away from his work with the FBI. Having failed in his mission to avenge his lost would be lover, Serena Roarke, Gabe returns to Alabama in search of the missing diamonds needed to reopen the investigation and to lay low from the death threats he's received since Smythe went free.

Almost two years after her sister's death, Leannan O'Neal feels the loss of Serena more now than ever. A secret meeting between them before she died left Lea with an ugly figurine and nothing but questions. Hang-up calls at work and a trashed house reminds her of the card Serena gave her. "If you find yourself in trouble, go to him and only him" were the last words her sister spoke to her.

With Smthye out for revenge and hot on her heels, Lea goes on the run in search of Serena's 'Angel', but how long can Gabe keep her alive, and is the cost worth more than her life?

http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_25&products_id=277

Elemental Magic Book Three
Ryan and Kate must reunite to break the second of a three- part thousand-year-old spell.

Kate O'Connell grew up loved by the Corrigan family, all the while suffering from the inescapable reality of her own alcoholic father. At a young age she gave her heart and innocence to Ryan Corrigan. For once happiness seemed within her reach, until in one horror-filled night, the monster she called 'Daddy' changed everything.

Too many misunderstandings forced Kate and Ryan apart, but now Kate's come home to open her clinic and raise her daughter, Allaina, closer to his family. Will she be able to open Ryan's heart to his magic?

Ryan is glad to be back on Irish soil, but the reason he left still haunts him. As he tries to build a new life and redeem his past, can he forgive Kate and reclaim his healing gift in time to save his sister and her twins?

http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_31&products_id=293

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloweens Past and Present

Is it me or is Halloween rivaling Christmas in the decoration department? Outside lights, funky blowup creatures, spiderwebs draped across porches and shrubbery, not to mention plastic pumpkins and spooky treat bowls.

I remember the cardboard scarecrows, bats, and skeletons Mom would pull out of the closet each year, and we'd tape them to various doors in the house. And the weekend before Halloween, we'd pick out our pumpkins from either a pumpkin stand or as the case one year, the pumpkin patch, complete with hayride. We'd carve them a few nights later, and insert candles, enjoying the spookiness of our front porch.

Costumes have evolved as well. We have a bunny costume which my sister and I each wore, and now our children have worn, up to age four. At age 5, we wore a plastic Devil's costume. Age 6, witch. One year we were Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. In years afterward, I was at one time or another, Miss America; Chewbacca; a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader; a Jailbird; a Jedi Knight; and Aphrodite.

In college, I wore a mini-skirt and went as a punk rocker, complete with pink hair dye. I also wore my Prom gown and went as Scarlet O'Hara/Brett from North and South (although my boyfriend that year slipped up and wore Confederate gray instead of Union blue; I had to switch to Ashton)/Glenda the Good Witch.

And as an adult, I've been a vampire; a sexy witch; and a cowgirl. This year I'd love to be Lady Gaga, if I could fit into the costume or create my own. Otherwise, I'll be trying to squeeze into my cowgirl outfit again.

But even the costumes are getting elaborate. Wigs, makeup, entire stores carrying costumes and props


Here's a picture of our porch last year. I absolutely love our skull on a stick; we've named him Jose. He's motion-activated, and says about ten different phrases.

We also have a huge cauldron, filled with candy.
This year, we have three different colors of spiderwebs: white, black, and green.

What are some of your favorite Halloween memories? I always wished I could change costume and go around the neighborhood again, and get twice the amount of candy. And again, I was blessed with a mother who recognized one night of gorging ourselves on candy wouldn't kill us; if we chose to eat all our fun-sized Snickers, Milky Way, and Three Musketeer bars, then we wouldn't have any left for the next day. As we got older, we learned to ration our candy. For the next day, it all went into a common bowl, and was fair game for Mom and Dad to dip into. And it never failed; three days later, the only candy left in the bowl would be caramels, suckers, and Tootsie Rolls, plus the black and orange-wrapped 'mystery candy' nobody wanted.

When my dad worked for Frito-Lay, our house was popular because Dad brought home individual bags of Doritos, Ruffles, Cheetos, and Fritos. Now, I simply dole out the fun-sized candy bars.

What's your favorite Halloween candy? And do you go all out with the decorations?

BTW...Happy 47th anniversary Mom and Dad!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guest Blog: Suzanne Johnson - "Writing Outside the Box"

Face it. Romance fiction has spent the past thirty years wedged firmly into a tiny box. There were people (mostly women) who wrote romance books, and there were people of both genders who wrote “real” books. The fact that “real” books often contained romantic elements was largely ignored. A romance was small and insubstantial. A “real” book was not.

How did this little romance box come to exist? To some extent, it reaches back to the 18th century, when Samuel Richardson released "Pamela", widely considered the first novel focused on courtship and featuring a (gasp!) happy ending.

"Pamela" is also a novel, I must add, that caused me much embarrassment in my 18th-century lit class when I answered an exam question with the euphemistic “they went to bed” and the professor returned it with “They did more than that, child! In flagrante delicto!” scrawled across the page in red ink. And then I had to go and look it up to see what the heck “in flagrante delicto" meant. But that was many moons ago, and I digress.

So, Richardson set the stage for Jane Austen, who set the stage for the Brontes, and on it goes. But those are classics, yes? They aren’t “romances” that one needs to hide inside another book jacket or read anonymously on one’s Kindle--although I maintain that if Austen or the Brontes or, for that matter, Margaret Mitchell were trying to publish today, they’d be trotted off to a small handful of “romance” publishers.

Today’s boxed-in romances can be traced back to 1972, when Avon began releasing single-title romances as paperback originals. Romance readers were voracious, and Canadian-owned Harlequin soon came along with its revolutionary idea of marketing romance titles “where the women are”—at supermarkets and retail outlets. It was fast, formulaic, production-line fiction for a loyal, book-buying readership. And thus the box was born. Today, the box may come from e-publishers as often as print publishers, but e-pubs have only expanded the size of the box, not deconstructed it.

However… Now—dare I say it—the box is being wrenched open as urban fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi steampunk, epic fantasy, and even space operas are beginning to embrace the embrace, so to speak. The formulaic romance genre is still going strong, but the stubborn genre-gap is breaking down. Why has this happened? My guess is that science fiction and fantasy, long the domain of male writers, is finally facing a generation of women authors who’ve grown up reading SF/F and are putting their own stamp on the genres they love to read. And, sorry, but “romantic elements,” the phrase du jour for the romantic subplot, are rarely the domain of male writers.

Authors such as Meljean Brook and M.K. Hobson, both of whom recently released great mashups of science fiction alt history and romance, must be a nightmare for book marketers and publishers, who cling to the notion of “pure” genres. They don’t quite know how to categorize this new generation of mashups. I sold my first manuscripts as “urban fantasy with elements of paranormal romance,” and expect it to show up in the SF/F aisles of the bookstore rather than romance. Yet the romantic elements are vital to the series—they are, in fact, the thread that binds the series.

I should note here that it’s not just paranormal fiction that is deconstructing the box. Suspense, horror, thrillers, westerns—you name a genre, and “romantic elements” are there.

This is a great time to be an author of romance….whatever we choose to call it. My own new favorite romantic mashup is steampunk romance. What’s yours?

Suzanne Johnson is the author of a new New Orleans-based urban fantasy series (with romantic elements!) beginning with ROYAL STREET and RIVER ROAD, both releasing in 2012 from Tor Books. A longtime New Orleans resident now living in Auburn, Alabama, Suzanne also writes the monthly “Fiction Affliction” columns at Tor.com, previewing all the upcoming releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, and young adult paranormal. Find her online at
Blog: http://suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Suzanne_Johnson
Tor.com: http://www.tor.com/Suzanne_Johnson
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Suzanne.Johnson.author
or visit her official website at http://www.suzanne-johnson.com

BLURB: ROYAL STREET…Coming from Tor Books in April 2012
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. Her boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous floodwaters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the other world crumbled. Now, the Undead and the Restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and an undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love serves up one bitter gumbo.

CONTEST: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Meljean Brook’s new steampunk romance, The Iron Duke! Deadline for leaving a comment: midnight ET on October 31. BE SURE TO PUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN WITH YOUR COMMENT!

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