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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interview of Author Cate Masters

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Cate Masters.

Latest Book: Rock Bottom

Buy Link: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_25&products_id=405
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xm9Wi3kITg

BIO:
Multipublished, award-winning author Cate Masters loves stories with a dash of magic, mayhem and romance! Reviewers have described her stories as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” and “such romantic tales that really touch your soul.”

When not spending time with her family, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Not at all! I usually have very specific people in mind while writing, and my stories play like movies in my head so it’s very easy to imagine an actor or actress as the hero and heroine. To show readers who I imagined in the roles, I began a blog series called Casting Call – you can see exactly who I imagined in each part: http://catemasters.blogspot.com/p/blog-series.html

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: My sole necessity is hot black tea – all day long, no matter what season. Yes, I’m a tea addict! There, I admitted it. But I won’t be giving it up any time soon, lol. I need a lot of caffeine to keep up with my muse.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I’ve always loved photography, maybe because photos tell their own story – one that often differs depending on the viewer. I love any type of art that “speaks” to someone. And I love to experiment with framing shots to capture the highest interest, zooming in or out to find the most interesting detail.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I’ve been told that my dialogue’s realistic and my descriptions often make readers feel as if they’re seeing the scene first hand. But I believe it’s my ability to write from deep POV – to feel what the character feels as I write so hopefully, the reader feels it too.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: Steampunk! I think it’s very cool. It excites me because it’s so imaginative. I have a vague idea for a steampunk story but have many WIPs to finish before tackling it. And I also need to first read more steampunk stories to better acquaint myself with the genre.

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I love chatting with people in general, so chats are fun but they’re usually short-lived. Facebook allows conversational threads to carry over as long as needed, which is great. Visiting blogs is always fun too because I get to “meet” new people, which is always interesting. I have to admit to being a total Twitter dweeb – the only time I manage to tweet at all is when I post to my Facebook page, which automatically sends it to Twitter. So while I do follow back, I’m clueless as to responding to people, and anything beyond the most basic tweet makes my head spin. Long ago I made a MySpace page but gave up on it because it gave my computer viruses.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Thanks! Here are most of them – there are more linked to my blog: I no longer have a web site, but my blog is a happenin’ place!
http://catemasters.blogspot.com
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts
http://www.twitter.com/CateMasters
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2944596.Cate_Masters
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3ACate+Masters&keywords=Cate+Masters&ie=UTF8&qid=1292425612&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B002OBQ98A

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CateMasters
http://www.youtube.com/user/catemasters
Coffee Time Romance author forum: http://coffeetimeromance.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=1752">http://coffeetimeromance.com/board (still building this!)
http://erotic.theromancereviews.com/mypageprofile.php?location=CateMasters
http://paranormalists.blogspot.com
http://thesusquehannawriters.blogspot.com
A shoutout to Six Sentence Sunday, which is tons of awesome fun: http://www.sixsunday.com


BLURB:
For rocker Jet Trently, success means playing the same platinum-selling hits over and over. Philly rock journalist Billie Prescott thrives on covering the latest releases. When her editor sends her to Malibu to cover Jet’s reality dating show, Rock Bottom, her blog’s success keeps her trapped there. Her life’s at Rock Bottom too, until she hears Jet’s new songs. They touch her heart as his music did when she was 15. When Jet touches her heart as well, will the reality show ruin the real thing?

EXCERPT:
With a gasp, she clutched the seat as they roared away. “What do you think you’re doing? Let me out, you asshole.”

He knelt in front of her and slid his hands up her thighs. “You called me ‘baby’.”

She hoped he’d missed that. He definitely seemed too clear-eyed now.

Through clenched teeth, her voice shook. “It’s an expression. I am not one of the Bimbo Brigade.”

Clasping her neck, he drew her close. “Thank God.” His lips brushed hers.

Anger melted into confusion, surged with passion. “Stop,” she whispered.

“I can’t.” He leaned between her legs, gripped her ass and slid her against him. Tender yet fierce, his lips sought hers, his tongue probed.

White static filled her brain. How could he feel so good when he was all wrong?

“No.” She broke away.

He sank onto his feet, the deepest yearning in his eyes. “Billie.” His urgent whisper sounded like a fervent prayer.

His plea awakened something fierce and tender within her. “Dammit.” Her urgent whisper matched his.

His face lit with hope.

“Jet.” An overwhelming urge hijacked her reasoning. She fought to regain it but lost ground.

He drew a ragged breath and touched her cheek.

“Don’t.” She couldn’t finish her thought. Don’t toy with me. Don’t break my heart.

“Shh.” His finger traced her lips. He eased in slowly.

Although she had every opportunity to stop him, instead she clutched his shirt. “You won’t remember this tomorrow, anyway.” She pressed her lips to his, wrapped her legs behind his.

His embrace engulfed her as he pulled her to the floor. “Oh yes, I will.” With soft, purposeful kisses, he kept his eyes open, watching as if to imprint her in his memory.

Yes, he’d remember.

And so would she. Dammit.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes – thanks so much for having me on "Romance Books R Us"! It’s been such a pleasure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Having One of Those Months!

sorry your sick Pictures, Images and Photos

Have you ever had one of those months? I hope not because feeling under the weather really does suck monkey balls or so I say. The past two months has been one of aggravation for me. I'm generally a very poppy person. I'm like a bat outa hell, moving too and fro-- doing this and that. I'm supermom on Starbucks Expresso and able to do feats no normal rational woman should be able to...Until I began having SVT episodes.

Going to the cardiologist and wearing a monitor for a month wasn't fun. Neither were the episodes happening to me out of no where, no warning, whether I was driving or sitting at home reading.

I'm not a person to take meds but have been for the past six weeks. I've never felt so run down in my life. I went from writing 3k a day to writing 5 k a week. Everyone is entitled to a bad month but darn it all. I have deadlines and stories that need to be written. My brain is in hiatus and my body refuses to stay awake. I have the sleepies for 20 hours out of the 24 in a day.

This is so not normal or me. I wrote yesterday that I didn't want to write. Wowza who is this impostor in my body and where is the woman who enjoys dreaming stories while asleep or weaving stories while awake.

I'm here! Somewhere buried under the suffocating sludge called my brain. Finally this week I'm back to writing 2k a day. I might even have a 4k day in me or so I hope. I have a deadline to meet in a few days.

This trip down sickness road has been utter hell. I don't know how heart patients handle what I'd call a life altering change. I will pray harder for those to feel better. I believe I took my health for granted before. Said I'd make changes when my health plummeted. I stopped working out religiously a few years ago. Cut out major walking or running three years ago. This situation reminded me to get my tail in gear and cut out the junk. I may be sick but I've lost six pounds in six weeks. All by cutting out unhealthy snacking, soda, coffee and chocolate.

In the end when I go to the Arythmiologist I hope to be able to have a procedure done to stop the SVT for life, but I won't go back to my bad eating habits. This feeling poor is no joke and I've been scared straight.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Be Careful What You Write On Your Website

Good morning,

Most writers either have a website, blog, Facebook, Twitter or some other media outlet.  I'm here to warn you that anyone can look at your website and read your blog. Facebook and Twitter are open to all the strangers you befriend. One thing writers should never do is post the number of publishers that have rejected your story.  Why you say?

The why is because these days' editors, who receive proposals from you will go to your website to check out your work and read your blog before they look at what you submitted. If you sent X-Story to editor at Y-Publishing and she/he reads that the story has been to a dozen publishers and been rejected by all of them, the editor is going to think there's no way I want this work.  Not only that if you whine on Facebook or Twitter, you have no idea who is going to read it. 

It would be far better to say that you have done extensive rewrites based on comments given by contest judges, critique partners, a published author or an editor you submitted your work to. 

If you have totally rewritten the story, then say that, but don't post all your rejections.  Don't whine, think before you write anything that might harm your aspirations. 

Sandra K. Marshall

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Interview of Author Janet Lane Walters

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Janet Lane Walters.

Book: The Dragons of Fyre
Buy Link: http://newconceptspublishing.com/janet-lane-walters/the-dragons-of-fyre/

BIO:
Janet Lane Walters lives in the scenic Hudson River Valley. She has published 30 plus novels as well as novellas, short stories, poetry and non-fiction books. Janet has dual careers, one in Nursing and the other as a writer. Since her retirement she has written full time. Medicine ofter finds a way into her stories as does Astrology one of her hobbies. She bills herself as an eclectic writer since her fiction works run from romance - sweet to sensual, cozy mysteries, suspense, fantasy from YA to adult, reincarnation and alternate world stories.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: I sold my first book in 1972 and I picked up the phone and called everyone I knew. Then I called the local paper and they sent a reporter to interview me. The real problem with the interview was that I got a paragraph of mention and the rest of the two column article was about my husband.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The easiest part of the book for me to write is the end. My books are usually begun with the end since I need to know where I'm going. Not that there aren't surprises along the way but the ending generally stays close to what I've envisioned when I began.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book?
A: I try not to play favorites. Since I've written a lot of books and novellas what happens is that the characters in a particular story become my favorites. I'm sort of mother like since I love each character for different reasons.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: There are many books that I enjoy but I think the Rake by Mary Jo Putney remains one that I re-read at least once a year.

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: At my age, I'd probably write until I ran out of words. Then I'd spend some time getting to know the handsome man. Then I'd write again

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: I'm a blog person. Do use Facebook usually every day to post what I put on my blog. I do a daily post and it's sometimes a challenge to come up with something new. Each day has a theme so this keeps me orgainzed. I average 40 to 100 hits a day and I enjoy seeing what people who write comments have to say.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!

http://wwweclecticwriter.blogspot.com/
http://www.angelfire.com/stars4/kswiesner/jewels10.html
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=113639528680724&id=549493839#!/
http://www.diskuspublishing.com/
http://www.mundania.com/index.php
http://www.zumayapublications.com
http://bwlpp.com/ 
http://www.clocktowerbooks.com
http://www.vanillaheartbooksandauthors.com/
http://newconceptspublishing.com/index.php?p=home

BLURB:
Drakon has escaped from the priestesses of the Temple of Fyre and returned home to find the keep almost deserted. There remains but one dragon, an ancient yellow. Vowing revenge against the lord of Sea Cliff, he sets out to accomplish this.

EXCERPT:
Chapter One
Drakon halted his horse at the end of the pass and stared at the collection of houses and the fields beyond. Last night he and his companion had ridden well past moonrise so they could reach the village this morning. Fall had arrived. Reds, yellows and oranges blazed across the hills.

Why had this village remained untouched? Ten years ago, the lord of Sea Cliff had attacked High Peaks and ravaged the villages closest to the tower. Of the three settlements sworn to High Peaks only this one remained. The answer had to be treachery. Drakon wondered if he would learn the names of the traitors.

"You will not," the Old One said. "They are dead."

Drakon tightened his hold on the reins. Every time the ancient yellow dragon spoke to him, he felt warmth and delight. Years ago, his inability to speak to the dragons had doomed him to ten years as a slave. "I wish they were alive so I could see to their punishment. Their treason made me Lagon’s prisoner and a thing to be sold to the priestesses.*"

"Better a slave than living under the evil one’s control the way the heirs of the other towers do."

A year had passed since Drakon’s escape from the temple of Fyre. Though he had sworn to see the man dead, the lord of Sea Cliff Tower remained alive. A need for vengeance invaded Drakon’s thoughts. His family, his near kin and innocent villagers had been slaughtered on that dreadful day.

"Patience," the Old One said.

"Behold the lush growth of the fields," His companion drew his steed to Drakon’s side. "Look at the height and fullness of the fyrethorns. The harvest will be abundant." He raked his fingers through his gray-tinged brown hair.

Drakon shook his head. "I see, but do we need all this for one dragon?"

Radlan shrugged. "Who are we to cry about good fortune? There are few dragons in the land. From what I have heard there are five pair at Sea Cliff and none at the other three towers."

Drakon’s jaw clenched. His desire for revenge flared anew. If only there was a way to defeat Lagon and free the High Peaks dragons.

"Have faith. There will be more dragons at our tower."

Some of Drakon’s tension ebbed. "First patience and now faith. I’ll try. Before I gain those virtues, there’s a harvest to be completed." He prodded the steed with his heels and the horse trotted down the trail into the village.




Saturday, August 27, 2011

It all started with a contest By Janice Seagraves

It all started with a contest
By Janice Seagraves

Hi, I’m Janice Seagraves. I write romances of various genres. My first novel is a contemporary erotic romance called, Windswept Shores, published through Pink Petal Books.

My book 


Since my depute novel was published, I’ve had a roller coaster of a learning curve. I've had to learn to promote, schedule guest blogs and do interviews. Also run contests and the like. But it’s been fun too, and I’ve meet a lot of wonderful people along the way.

One of the things I’ve learned is that a lot of people are interested in how I got my first contract, and I realized that I’ve never did a guest blog about it before.

It all started with a contest.

While going through comments on a certain yahoo group, I noticed a post about a cover contest at Pink Petal Books.

So I checked it out.

There were two book covers available, and the publisher wanted a book based on the cover.
The first one I wasn’t too interested in, but the second had me. I stared opened mouth at the cover of a handsome man and woman, standing in water. A beach was behind them. It reminded me very strongly of one of my finished manuscript that I had named, Windswept Shores.

I decided right then and there—I had to have that cover.

Next came days and nights of hard work as I made the manuscript as perfect as possible. It took me a few weeks to get it done.

But then I realized there were three more things I needed to do. As tough as it sounds, I had to quickly educate myself in the fine art of writing a blurb, query letter and a synopsis, which I had never done before—ever.

In a panic, I asked some writer friends for help and advice, which they very graciously gave.

Finally, everything was ready and I emailed my submission package.

Anxiety set in. Did I write the query letter correctly? Did the synopsis or blurb suck?

While I waited to hear back, I went over my manuscript again, checking for typos and grammar issues.

Two weeks later I heard from a woman named, Mary. She told me, she liked what she’d read and asked for the complete manuscript.

With my heart beating a rapid tattoo against my ribs, I attached my manuscript to the return email.
My mouth went dry, as my curser hovered over the send key. I bit my lip and my hand shook. My manuscript is as ready as it’s going to be. So hit the button already!

Two more weeks passed, before I heard back from Mary (which I didn’t realize at the time was a very fast response time).

I read the email three times. I looked back at my husband and nearly ask him to read it for me. Then I read it again. Am I reading this right?

Finally, I called my hubby over so he too could read the email. “Jan, she loves it. She’s offering you a contract. Congratulations, honey.” As I sat in a state of shock, hubby patted my shoulder and kissed my temple.

She likes it?

It’s a heady feeling to finally get a book contract. I can’t even describe how wonderful it felt.
After carefully looking over the contract, I signed on the dotted line. Next were the edits, and then finally the book release.

From this experience, I can tell you that if you’re a new writer trying to breaking into the publishing world, then entering a publisher’s contests is a quick way to get your foot in the door.

Make sure you follow all the publisher’s guidelines, just like you were submitting through normal channels. Double and triple check your submission package. Make sure it as free of typos and grammar errors as possible. Finally and most importantly, make sure you are submitting what the publisher is asking for in their contest.

Best of luck.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Windswept Shores Blurb:

The sole survivor of a plane crash, Megan is alone on a deserted island in the Bahamas until she finds a nearly-drowned man washed up on shore. Another survivor, this time from a boat wreck. With only meager survival skills between them, will they survive and can they find love?

Excerpt:

If she had to spend one more day on this godforsaken island, she'd go stark raving mad. The thought spurred Megan into rolling a large log with one foot then the other, until it was near the bonfire. "God, this thing is heavy." With a grunt, she lifted one end until it teetered upright then gave it a shove. It landed in the fire, embers swirling in the air.

Breathing hard, she flicked a glance at the teal-colored sea. She'd thought a vacation to the Bahamas would be the perfect getaway, would be a solution to the problems she and Jonathan had faced. She'd been wrong—dead wrong. Tears of grief filled her eyes. The never-ending crash of the waves on the beach and the cries of the seagulls seemed to mock her with the reminder she was utterly alone.

She'd felt like a tiny speck of sand last night when a violent storm had swept across the island. It had made a mess of her meager campsite, which had taken all morning to fix, and had demolished her seaweed SOS sign. She'll have to recreate her SOS. Sighing, Megan trudged toward a pile of kelp. As she got closer, she saw a figure wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. Her stomach lurched.

Oh, God, it’s another body washed up from the plane wreck. That would be number twelve. As always, she couldn't help but wonder if the next one would be Jonathan. He hadn’t been wearing jeans on the plane, so she knew she’d been spared seeing his corpse this time. Thank God. She approached the body with dread. Tightening her resolve, she knelt. Suddenly the "dead body" coughed and rolled over. With a scream, Megan jumped back. She clutched her chest and pressed a shaking hand to her mouth.

He’s alive!

Biting her lip, she stared down at the still-breathing man. His drenched t-shirt molded against his broad shoulders and well developed upper body. Short, golden brown hair stuck out in all directions.

Megan, get control of yourself. Don’t wet your pants the first time you finally see a living person. She got on her knees, plucked the seaweed from him and wiped the sand from his face. His day-old whiskers scratched her palm. Reddened skin stretched across both cheekbones and over the bridge of his nose. Her thumb caressed his parched full bottom lip.

She patted the side of his face. “Hey, are you okay?” That’s a dumb question. He isn’t okay.

“Hmm?” Gray eyes fluttered open. He stared at her a long moment, frowning slightly. “G’day.”

“Hello there.” She hated the sound of her voice. It sounded rusty, unused.

Abruptly he rolled away from her to heave onto the sand, making a loud, ugly retching noise.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, then looked at her. “Sorry, mate, I swallowed too much sea.” His gaze went over her shoulder in the direction of the bonfire which crackled and popped not far from them. “Mite big for a barbie.”

Sitting back on her heels with her hands folded in her lap, Megan followed his gaze, then back to him. “My signal fire.”

“Signal for what?”

“Help.”

His accent intrigued her. Was he English or Australian?

“G’darn,” he looked around, “where the bloody hell am I?”

“Don’t know. There’s no one here to ask.” Megan shrugged helplessly, but couldn’t contain her curiosity. “Are you from England?”

“Naw,” he rubbed his eyes, “I hail from Sidney, but my port of call these days is Fort Lauderdale.” He blinked up at her. “You?”

Ah, he’s an Aussie. “I’m Megan Lorry, from Anaheim, California,” she said, barely loud enough to be heard above the sounds of the surf and the roar from the fire. “Are you a survivor of Air Bahamas flight 227, too?”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Windswept Shores: http://pinkpetalbooks.com/Windswept-Shores-Janice-Seagraves.html
Janice Seagraves website: http://janiceseagraves.org/
Janice Seagraves main blog: http://ladyjanice.blogspot.com/


Friday, August 26, 2011

Character Overload

I am often was plagued with a severe outbreak of character overload. If you’re a writer, I know this has happened to you. It may even happen to a reader if you read several books at the same time. How do you read several books at the same time? I don’t have a clue, but one of my friends says she does. I doubt she’s alone. Anyway, my definition of character overload is a condition in which all the characters you have, whether in books being edited, in the work you’re currently writing or those you have plotted that are awaiting their opportunity for the turn of your pen (or computer keystroke), begin to war in your mind for dominance.

When this happens to me, I find myself balanced on a piece of thin wire, hopping from thought to thought and unable to settle down and make noticeable progress on any one project. It’s happening to me again. Editor 1 sent me front edits for a co-written book that will be released in November. Editor 2 is gearing up to send me the same on another book coming out very soon. At the same time, I just finished edits and need to publish an indie work and there’s still another one waiting for its last 6,000 words. But, you see, the characters in that book are so fed up with my not completing their story, they’ve clammed up and they aren’t talking.

I doubt I’ll ever have Alzheimer’s because my mind gets a great work out. I may, however, end up with one heck of a case of multiple personality disorder. Who am I kidding? I already have it and have professed to it on several guest blogs. Character Uprising, a poem I wrote a long time ago, tells the story about this kind of writer’s block:

My characters are not too pleased,
With whom I’ve written them to be,
They’ve been grumbling, and they might
Form a union, go on strike.

It’s a lot longer than that, but you get the idea. So, the question is how do I get out of this stalemate and negotiate with my characters to open up? Here are my top four ways to cure my temporary block:
1)     Take a break and do something else creative other than writing. One great way to do this is to draw or paint. I like to make a mandala. You can Google this, but basically it’s a circle with designs. Many folks use them when meditating or in spiritual pursuits. Maybe that’s why I like to do it, because it gets me in touch with my inner self.
2)     Go for a drive or just take a walk outside. There’s something about being out in the sun and fresh air that rejuvenates the mind, allowing for it to process once again.
3)     Work on a mind puzzle and stimulate the left side of your brain. The right side will rise to the occasion and start producing.
4)     Get plenty of rest. If you’re sleep deprived, it’s doubtful you’ll produce anything that’s creative.

I’d love to hear from other writer about your techniques, and readers, what helps clears your mind so you can produce?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bobbye Terry is the multi-published writer of fantasy, suspense and romantic comedy novels under her own name, her solo pseudonym, Daryn Cross, and her co-authored one, Terry Campbell. Her previous works have garnered finalist awards in the Booksellers’ Best and other RWA-sponsored contests. Bobbye’s most recent release is The Marriage Murders. Her next book, Coming to Climax, will be released the week of September 5th by Turquoise Morning Press.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Blog: Kay Springsteen: Sweet Challenge

In December 2010, I met an editor/publisher with an incredible dream. She wanted to build a press that published only clean reading. Other people told her that, while they admired her, they didn’t think she would succeed by limiting the company so severely. Stephanie Taylor, with her dream of a sweet press is proving these cynics wrong. Astraea Press, a publisher who specializes in clean reading, has been making a name over the past several months, and all indicators are, this press will continue to grow.

I write full-length novels that are published by Astraea Press. My work is considered “sweet” romance. In truth, I think some of my stories should be categorized as edgy-sweet because of some adult-oriented topics and mildly violent themes. Even so, I have managed to successfully develop a style of writing that allows me to fall in the clean reading category.

Now, writing is a lot of fun for me. It’s about putting words together, crafting a story. I love a good challenge, so writing prompts are often quite fun. In fact, my about-to-be-released Heartsent, one of The Heart Stories (of which Heartsight is one), started out as the response to a writing prompt challenge between myself and a handful of author friends. The prompt was simply ice cream, and I ended up with 5000 words based on that one prompt, and another 1000 words for the next prompt, which was post office, and yet another 1500 words for the third prompt, chignon. At that point, a friend of mine suggested I take it out of the prompt game and turn it into a full story, but I was stubborn and I kept writing with the prompts, the next of which was fire. By then, my writing prompt story had grown to around 20,000 words and I had it completely plotted. Time to admit to my friend, fellow Astraea Press author Kim Bowman, that she was right—Heartsent (originally titled Sweet Treats and Hot Air) wanted to be a full length novel. Scheduled for release this fall from Astraea Press, the story simply took off for me, and it all started with a challenge (and yes, all those challenge words are still contained in the story).

Writing for a sweet publisher is a challenge of another sort. I have built a readership since my first full-length release in March 2011, and two subsequent full-length releases since. This readership expects certain things from my stories. First and foremost, my readers expect to be entertained. Second, they expect the story to be what they consider “safe” reading. This means I can’t include, as my publisher puts it, “anything you wouldn't let your Grandma Betty read.”
My mom was born in England in 1925, and for my entire life, she was an extremely old-fashioned person, with matching values. I learned to show my mother only my conservative side—not because I was afraid of her, but because I respected her. So it became easy to imagine what a sweet romance reader would want to read. I simply pictured Mom. While, sadly, she died before she saw me published, I still feel a sense of pride that the stories I write are tales she would have read and enjoyed. Over the months, I have been surprised by the number of younger readers who have contacted me and told me how much they enjoyed reading my work. Since the stories I write are contemporary romance rather than YA, I never would have thought young women in their late teens and early twenties would enjoy what I write. That just goes to show even a writer can be surprised.

At any rate, some of my “sweet” stories have an edge to them, and my challenge has been to maintain that edge, to tell a good story, to show a sense of internal and external tension, as well as sensual tension between my hero and heroine, without crossing the line to the steamier side.

This challenge has proven very fruitful for me in terms of my creativity. And my method so far has been to run with the emotions of the characters. Not to the point of melodrama, but definitely to the point where they are a fairly tangible part of the story. Simply put, I look for the emotional punch in my stories, and rather than building steam on the physical, I build it on these emotions. I have been able to pace the stories to give them realistic timelines, and I have been able to create characters and stories that somehow meld into something there is, indeed, a market for.

It sounds so easy as I sit here writing about doing it. But actually creating character chemistry that shows emotional connection with potential for physical connection has not really been all that easy for me. I sometimes struggle for the perfect mix without going over the top. I develop characters who scream at me to just turn them loose and let them “go at it.” Luckily, their degree of sexual frustration and the near-combustion that develops also works well for my readers. Rather than go on about why they don’t “do it,” as the storyteller, I simply place my characters in situations where it’s inconvenient to go further, or they experience interruptions, or perhaps they have other issues that they desire to work through before they move into that aspect of the relationship so one or the other simply backs off, or maybe the tension builds and the have an argument. The trick is to balance the story’s elements against the sensual tension of the main characters so neither overshadows the other and yet all of the elements interact and play off of each other.

In Lifeline Echoes, my main characters in present day were instantly attracted. But the entire story in present day took place inside a total of eight days. Added to that, they each had people and pasts they were trying to move forward from, and even with the sensual chemistry that choked them up, they never actually moved into the physical realm of the relationship for the duration of the story. Now, in the second of the Echoes of Orson’s Folly series, Elusive Echoes, the challenge was to keep two characters apart who had grown up together and were soul mates. So, I gave my heroine a life shakeup that damaged her psyche enough to keep her from making that final commitment. Hopefully my writing will continue to be less formulaic and more original, and the overall story will carry the weight needed to balance things. That’s my sweet challenge.

Writing “sweet” has been a challenge for me. But it has also been very rewarding, with every fan who reaches out to tell me how much they appreciate what I write, every reviewer who tells people they enjoyed the stories. And it’s something I plan to continue.

BIO:
Kay Springsteen grew up in Michigan but transplanted to the south about 10 years ago and now resides in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with her five small dogs. Two of her four children live nearby, a married son who has a daughter of his own, and one of her twins. The other twin lives just outside of USMC Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and is preparing to spend three years in Okinawa with her USMC husband. Her oldest daughter still resides in Michigan. When she's not writing, Kay is transcribing and editing medical reports, and she edits for two different fiction houses. Besides being an avid reader, hobbies include photography, gardening, hiking and camping, and of course spending time with her terrific Grandbaby. She is a firm believer in happily ever after endings and knows there is one out there for everyone; it just may not be exactly what was expected.

BLURB: ELUSIVE ECHOES (Second in The Echoes of Orson’s Folly series)

They’re two people caught between friendship and something more; they can’t move forward, and they can’t let go.

Drawn together from early childhood, Sean McGee and Melanie Mitchell seemed destined for each other. But at age thirteen, Melanie was wrenched from the people she loved and forced onto a path she loathed. Sean was no stranger to people leaving, but losing Melanie devastated him. When she suddenly reappeared in Orson’s Folly, Sean was overjoyed. The Melanie who came home, though, wasn’t the same girl. She’s got a harder edge and she’s obviously hiding something, but Sean no longer knows how to reach her.

Returning to Orson's Folly as an adult, all Melanie wanted to do was forget the years she spent away. But she soon learned that going home didn’t mean she could return to her old life—or her childhood sweetheart, Sean. Even their mutual attraction to one another hasn’t rebuilt the bond of trust and closeness they once shared. It’s been seven years since she returned and now everything Melanie wants to forget has broadsided her. She must confront her demons and relive her past in an unexpected way or risk losing the only man she’s ever loved. But even if she succeeds, Sean might be lost to her anyway.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM WRITING







BY
CARA MARSI



1. Affirmation works. If you want something badly, write it down. For several years before I sold my first book, I wrote fifteen times a day: “I will be a published author.”

I didn’t sell immediately and I had to work really hard at writing. Just affirming what I wanted wasn’t going to do it. But putting voice to my dream kept me focused.

Life lesson?—If you really want something, believe in yourself and keep working toward your goal. Will affirmations help you win the lottery? Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. But if you have a realistic goal, for instance to buy a new house in two years, you can make it happen. Write your house-buying affirmations every day, but save your money and work hard.

2. Don’t listen to the so-called “experts.” If I’d listened to the nay-sayers I would have stopped writing a long time ago. The “experts” said I would never sell because: I wasn’t finaling in writing contests; editors didn’t praise my work; I wasn’t receiving personal rejection letters. The only personal rejection letters I received made me cry. I refused to give up and I refused to let the nay-sayers stop me.

No matter what you want to do in life--move to a new city, start a new career, go back to school, there are those who will tell you that you cannot do it. DO NOT listen to them. Only you know what you want and what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals.

3. Don’t burn your bridges. Good advice in the real and corporate world and the writing world. Another rejection? And from your own publisher. Ouch! Smile through the pain and send that editor a thank-you note. You may want to submit there again. [NOTE: You may not always want to send a thank-you. If I get a rejection from an editor who I have a relationship with, I send a thank-you note or email. If I get a personal rejection letter that is constructive with good advice, I send a thank-you. If I get a form letter that says nothing, I don’t bother with a thank-you]

Passed over for a promotion at work? Congratulate the person who got the job you wanted. Smile at your boss. Maybe you’ll need to look for a new job, but you never know when you might need that good recommendation from your old boss.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be those who are smarter, prettier, more successful than you. There will always be those who are less smart, less pretty and less successful than you. Don’t sweat it. Just be true to yourself.

This is a hard lesson in life and in writing. We all know those people blessed by the fates. They have beauty, brains and money. It’s the same with writers. We’ve all heard of that writer who suddenly decides to write a book. She finishes it in six months. Agents clamor to represent her. Book goes to auction and sells for six figures. And then there are the rest of us. We struggle for years, enduring rejection after rejection. But we persevere and we sell.

Life lesson?—Accept that some are more blessed than others and be the best you can in anything you attempt. We each have a special talent.

5. Karma—there is such a thing. I have bad contest Karma. I never finaled in a contest until after I sold. See number 2 above. When I finally began to final, what did it get me? Rejections within two weeks rather than twelve. Contests are overrated. Bad contest Karma? Not a big deal. Accept it and go on.

Bad Karma in life? Not to worry. Good Karma is overrated. See above. If you tell yourself that you have no control over your bad luck, you are in trouble. You do have control over your life.

6. “Don’t take life seriously. No one gets out alive.” A rock star said this. I wish I’d been clever enough to think of it. Write for the pure pleasure of telling stories. Don’t worry about the rejections. I know - that’s easier said than done. You tell a story from your heart and some editor or agent or contest judge rips it apart. Keep writing because you love to write. Another sage once said, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” [NOTE: That isn’t always the case but if you don’t get rich at least you’ll have fun]

The same goes for life. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Hard advice at times, but remember this: when you’re in that nursing home, you’ll regret what you didn’t do, not what you did.

7. Know the rules. I belong to several email loops. It’s important to know the loop rules. Know them and follow them. Don’t give others a bad impression of you. You can break grammar rules though, but only if you know the rules to begin with. In English class, we were taught never to write fragments. I write fragments all the time in my fiction. Lots of writers do. They make a story flow better. If you break any grammar rules, you’d better have a good reason. Nothing kills a story faster than bad grammar.

Life lesson? — Break the rules if you want, but know them first and have a darn good reason to break them.

8. Publishing is a business. Repeat this fifteen times. Sure, you’re a nice person. That has nothing to do with anything. An editor will take your book and an agent will represent you if they think they can make money. That is the bottom line. Don’t take rejection personally. A few years back I had a great interview with an agent. We discussed our upcoming vacations. She said she loved the type stories I write. I sent her the requested partial. In my cover letter I said I hoped she had a wonderful vacation. Her response? An unsigned, mean-spirited form letter that didn’t include my name or the title of my book. The final punch in my gut? The letter said I shouldn’t ever bother them again. Publishing is a business. Don’t forget that.

And life doesn’t always give you warm fuzzies either. Pick yourself up and go on. Be true to yourself and kind to others. That’s what’s important.

9. NEVER GIVE UP. If you want it, go for it. Have faith in yourself. Don’t despair. See number 6 above. Enjoy.

10. NEVER GIVE UP. See 9 above.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interview of AuthorTrish McCallan

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Trish McCallan.

Latest Book: Forged in Fire
Buy Link: Will not be available until September 1st. Please visit my website for details: http://www.trishmccallan.com
Video Link:

BIO:
Trish McCallan has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her first books were children’s stories illustrated with crayons and tied through punch holes with red yarn. She used to write several a day and sell them at her Lemonade stand beside the tennis courts at the local park.(she was in grade school at the time) Her sister used to collect half the day’s haul because she’d harass the tennis players into buying a book along with their lemonade or candy bar.

These days she sticks to romances featuring hot alpha heroes and suspenseful plots. Her books always end up with just a dash of paranormal, not surprising considering her favorite shows are Fringe, Lost, X-Files and the old Twilight Zone.

Forged in Fire, the first book in her Forged Series will be published on September First through Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The first part of the book is the easiest. I always have a clear picture of what I want to do. In Forged in Fire, I even dreamed the entire opening sequence. So from the get go I knew exactly what I wanted to have happen. Oddly, with every book, I end up changing the opening during revisions. I haven’t kept an original opening yet.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The End. Part of the reason I have such trouble with the end, is because of all the different threads and conflicts I am juggling through the book. It’s difficult to tie everything up in a satisfying manner, and leave a hook for the next book. The ending needs to be satisfying for the current story, but leave enough questions and conflicts to carry the next book.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: My favorite character in Forged in Fire, is Commander Jace MacKenzie. Interestingly, he was also the least liked character (at least in the first half of the book) among my Crit partners and Beta readers. They thought he was an ass, and that I could never redeem him. And he is an ass. LOL This is a man with a lot of deep-rooted anger, a huge chip on his shoulder, certain he knows best, and constructed from pure stubbornness. He is also intensely loyal, completely open/honest (and politically incorrect)He does what needs to be done, no matter the consequences to himself. Of all the men in this series, he is going to change the most. His story will probably hit the hardest. For his Happy Ever After to be believable, he’ll have to do a complete about face.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write"?
A: No, all my heroes and heroines look different in my mind. Before I start writing, I have this very clear, very visual picture of them in my mind. They don’t look like anyone I know. I’m not even sure where their image comes from. I used to look for pictures of them before I’d start the book, but gave that up. I could never find anyone close to the image I already had in my mind.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I’ve been told that I write very strong Alpha heroes, and that my men sound, act, think and feel like real men. I think I can write men so well, because I worked beside them for thirteen years. I used to work in an industry dominated by men. In my department I was one of two women and 250 men. I used to share a lunch room with them and ease drop on their conversations. I’d listen to how they acted toward each other, the type of conversations they had, the subtext to their dialogue. Men have much more subtext than woman. lol

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: This would have to be Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward. The entire Black Dagger Brotherhood series really grabbed me. But Z’s book broke my heart. He had so much healing to do, not just within himself- but within his family (his twin) and his brotherhood. To go from someone untrustworthy, and unable to love- to someone capable of both—was an amazing journey. It takes an incredibly talented author to pull that journey off and make it believable.

Tell us where to find you...list everywhere!
I’m on Facebook under Trish McCallan
Twitter under TrishMcCallan
And you can find my website at http://www.trishmccallan.com

BLURB:
Beth Brown doesn’t believe in soul mates, premonitions, or psychic connection, until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a company plane. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the passengers waiting to board, including the man she’d watched die the night before. With the departure clock ticking, Beth needs to ground that plane—and warn a man she’s never met that he’s about to die.

Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities—they see flashes of the future and mentally recognize and bond with their predestined soul mates. When Zane and two of his teammates arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his friends’ corpses. And then she arrives—a leggy blond who sets off a different kind of alarm. Great. He’s finally found her, his soul mate, booked on a flight bound for destruction.

As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. With a small team of Zane’s platoon brothers for support, Beth finds herself neck deep in intrigue. Not the least of which is the sexy SEAL who sets off a flash-fire of unwelcome attraction. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth needs to shed a lifetime of inhibitions and open herself to a psychic connection with the navy warrior who claims to be her soul mate.

EXCERPT:
Zane pushed away from the wall. “Whatever’s going to happen is bad enough to take the three of us out.” The flashes never centered on him, but if Cosky and Rawls were in danger, he was as well. “We need to get hold of Mac.”

As the OIC of SEAL Team 7, Commander Jace Mackenzie had the pull to get the plane grounded and the passengers searched.

“Question.” Cosky’s attention zeroed in on Zane’s face. “What are we going to tell him? We don’t know what’s going to happen, who’s behind it, or what kind of weapons will be used. If Mac gets this bird grounded, only to have nothing show during the search, the backlash is gonna be a bitch.”

“What are you suggesting?” Zane cocked an eyebrow. “That we skip the wedding, keep our mouths shut and let events play out?”

“Don’t be an ass. I’m saying it would be handy to have some solid intel to pass on for a change. Why can’t you ever pick up more information if you touch us again?”

Zane shrugged. Just because he suffered through the visions didn’t mean he understood their properties. “We’ve got some time before boarding. Maybe one of the passengers will jump out at us.”

A wave of heat suddenly rolled through him. It started at his scalp and flowed down—a tide of molten fire that left chills in its wake. A tingling, numbing sensation followed, as though he’d been hit with a high-voltage electrical shock.

“What’s wrong?” Cosky’s question came from a distance. Muted and warped.

Zane turned, searching for … something. The gate area spun in slow motion. That strange, electrical tingling raised the hair on his arms and down the back of his neck.

He found her in the mouth of the waiting room. She was blonde, slender. Perfect. Her cream-colored slacks and ivory blouse glowed beneath the harsh fluorescent lights, as though she stood squarely in a spotlight—lit up to catch his attention.

Her chin lifted, their eyes connected and that strange, pulsating current shot straight to his cock. Electrified him. His libido, numb for years, reared up and howled. He took one long step toward her.

Cosky grabbed his arm and hauled him back. “Goddamn it, Zane. What’s wrong?”

Zane shook his head, tried to clear the fog from his mind. The tug toward her was incredibly strong, like she was a magnet and his bones were metal. He took another step forward, his body vibrating at some strange frequency.

Cosky’s hand tightened with brutal force around his forearm, piercing the primal urge to claim her.

Zane froze and drew a shaky breath. His muscles were rigid. A vicious ache had seized his groin. His skin must have shrunk at least three sizes.

Holy shit.

It had to be her.

After all these years of searching, of waiting . . . this had to be her.

To go from nada to nuclear in the blink of an eye … yeah. He drew a slow, burning breath, grappling to drag his body back under control. This had to be her.

From listening to his brothers’ stories about meeting their mates, he’d expected a strong reaction, but nothing like this whirlpool of hunger.

And he hadn’t even touched her yet.

“Who is she?” Cosky demanded. “Did you see her in one of your flashes?”

The question snapped the world back into focus. The memory of those damn visions flooded his brain.

He watched, frozen, while she headed toward one of the plastic benches strewn throughout the waiting room. She was apparently booked on his flight.

A marked flight.

His chest seized. His skin started to crawl. Christ, he couldn’t breathe.

Of all the bad timing.

He’d finally found her. His soul mate. When he couldn’t afford the distraction. When the slightest mistake could get her killed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sex, Music and a helluva Joy Ride

Available at Decadent Publishers and online booksellers


 First of all, be sure to leave a comment. My publisher will be giving away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter.
I look at the places my life has taken me and hope that I was smart enough to enjoy them all while I was there. I had great experiences working as a reporter for weekly newspapers, covering everything from local political meetings, to the trial of a man who shot his wife because she wrecked his car, I once did a tour of thirty stores in one day interviewing Santa Claus. It’s a good thing I didn’t wreck my car! I’ve done things both sane and insane, like promoting the opening of a shopping center by sending a band up in a hot air balloon and stopping traffic for four miles in every directions.
But I think the real richness of my life came from my years managing rock bands.
Rock musicians are a breed unto themselves. The music is their life, and one of their first goals is to be able to move their practice sessions from someone’s garage to a real practice studio. Sometimes they’re lucky and they get to practice far enough out of civilization that only the cows and horses can comment. Other times the poor manager gets to field phone calls from neighbors and—if you’re not lucky, the police—about that “awful sounding stuff”.  But wherever they practice, it’s all about the music.
The sound.
Their sound.
And the music is great. It’s good. It’s terrific. The success of a good song can give you the same high as really good sex. The success of your client can take you to orgasmic levels.  And despite all the pitfalls, there’s nothing like being at the top, even if the bottom is always just a misstep away.
Last year I went to Johnny Depp’s Viper Room to see a performance by an excellent rock band, Run Devil Run. The moment I stepped into the room it was like stepping into my past, surrounded by memories, excitement and hot music. The person who drew my attention, however, was the bass player. Can you say sex on a stick? He was sooo into his music, and so “hawt” on stage you could feel the energy and electricity sizzling from him.  I knew I had to write a story where the hero was based on him.
Check out this shot of him.
And so Joy Ride was born.
The traditional story of the good girl and the bad boy, set against the world of rock music. I hope you’ll come along for the ride with Emma and Marc.
And to celebrate, Decadent Publishing will give away a copy of Joy Ride to one lucky person drawn from those who comment today.
Available at: Decadent Publishing, Amazon, Sony, All Romance eBooks.
Also, celebrating the opening of my Café Press store where you can purchase all kinds of items with the logo of Lightnin’, the band in Joy Ride.
Just go to www.cafepress.com/desireeholt

Blurb:
Emma, the good girl poster child, is running from a life she suddenly sees as grey and suffocating. A life where she’s successfully buried all her hopes and secret dreams. Until the night she wanders into Aftershock and is immediately drawn to Marc, the hot bass player with the band. Marc doesn’t much care for the groupies who hang around the band. He wants a woman he can create a life with that’s a counterpoint to the craziness of the rock music business. When he sees Emma for the first time something inside him cracks wide open. Just one sizzling glance between them and he’s sure he’s found the woman he wants. But as the relationship grows, there’s a huge stumbling block: Emma won’t tell him her name.  The sex is fabulous but he wants more. So does Emma but her fear of everything falling apart builds a barrier she can’t seem to cross. Marc is taking her on the joy ride of her life, but will her own insecurities destroy everything?
Excerpt:
Clutching the cold beer bottle in her hand, she wedged her way between gyrating bodies, hypnotized by the music until she reached the front of the crowd…and stopped at the edge of the stage, mesmerized. The bass guitarist stood with one foot balanced on the monitor in front of him, his body leaning into the sound. His head was thrown back, dark hair flying around his face as he pounded out the rhythm of the song they were playing. He was wild, uninhibited, totally immersed in his music. He moved with an incredible grace to the accented beat, hips thrusting as his clever fingers plucked the strings and slid on the neck of the guitar.
For one incredible moment, Emma had the feeling he was playing only for her and she realized she really had been struck by “Lightnin’.” Permanently electrified by it.
A surge of heat raced through her, and it wasn’t the kind that emanated from the tightly packed sweaty bodies. Instead, an electric excitement gripped her, sending a charge of unfamiliar sexual thrill to every nerve. Her breasts tingled and between her thighs, she felt a throbbing as deep as the sound of the bass. At first she stood stiffly, clutching her drink. People jostled and shoved her as they kept time to the beat. She took two quick swallows of the beer, grimacing at the bitter taste. But as the alcohol eased her tension, she found herself catching the rhythm of the music and trying to mimic the movements of the bass player, totally caught up in the seductive lure of the song. For one crazy moment, she was gripped by an uncontrollable urge to jump up on the stage, and bump and grind with him. Her! Emma, the good girl!
Clumsily juggling the beer bottle, she slipped the thin strap of her purse over her head so it lay crosswise between her breasts. Her focus still on the bass player, she swayed to the beat, hips moving, rocking. When the song ended, the bass guitarist threw back his head on a final note and then looked out into the crowd, peering beyond the glare of the stage lights.
His eyes seemed to find hers as if pulled by a magnet, and a fist slammed through her.
Ohmigod!

Find me at:
www.desireeholt.com
www.desireeholttellsall.com
Twitter: @desireeholt
Facebook: www.facebook.com/desireeholt




Sex, Music and a helluva Joy Ride

 First of all, be sure to leave a comment. My publisher will be giving away a copy of this book to one lucky commenter.
I look at the places my life has taken me and hope that I was smart enough to enjoy them all while I was there. I had great experiences working as a reporter for weekly newspapers, covering everything from local political meetings, to the trial of a man who shot his wife because she wrecked his car, I once did a tour of thirty stores in one day interviewing Santa Claus. It’s a good thing I didn’t wreck my car! I’ve done things both sane and insane, like promoting the opening of a shopping center by sending a band up in a hot air balloon and stopping traffic for four miles in every directions.
But I think the real richness of my life came from my years managing rock bands.
Rock musicians are a breed unto themselves. The music is their life, and one of their first goals is to be able to move their practice sessions from someone’s garage to a real practice studio. Sometimes they’re lucky and they get to practice far enough out of civilization that only the cows and horses can comment. Other times the poor manager gets to field phone calls from neighbors and—if you’re not lucky, the police—about that “awful sounding stuff”.  But wherever they practice, it’s all about the music.
The sound.
Their sound.
And the music is great. It’s good. It’s terrific. The success of a good song can give you the same high as really good sex. The success of your client can take you to orgasmic levels.  And despite all the pitfalls, there’s nothing like being at the top, even if the bottom is always just a misstep away.
Last year I went to Johnny Depp’s Viper Room to see a performance by an excellent rock band, Run Devil Run. The moment I stepped into the room it was like stepping into my past, surrounded by memories, excitement and hot music. The person who drew my attention, however, was the bass player. Can you say sex on a stick? He was sooo into his music, and so “hawt” on stage you could feel the energy and electricity sizzling from him.  I knew I had to write a story where the hero was based on him.
Check out this shot of him.
And so Joy Ride was born.
The traditional story of the good girl and the bad boy, set against the world of rock music. I hope you’ll come along for the ride with Emma and Marc.
And to celebrate, Decadent Publishing will give away a copy of Joy Ride to one lucky person drawn from those who comment today.
Available at: Decadent Publishing, Amazon, Sony, All Romance eBooks.
Also, celebrating the opening of my Café Press store where you can purchase all kinds of items with the logo of Lightnin’, the band in Joy Ride.
Just go to www.cafepress.com/desireeholt

Blurb:
Emma, the good girl poster child, is running from a life she suddenly sees as grey and suffocating. A life where she’s successfully buried all her hopes and secret dreams. Until the night she wanders into Aftershock and is immediately drawn to Marc, the hot bass player with the band. Marc doesn’t much care for the groupies who hang around the band. He wants a woman he can create a life with that’s a counterpoint to the craziness of the rock music business. When he sees Emma for the first time something inside him cracks wide open. Just one sizzling glance between them and he’s sure he’s found the woman he wants. But as the relationship grows, there’s a huge stumbling block: Emma won’t tell him her name.  The sex is fabulous but he wants more. So does Emma but her fear of everything falling apart builds a barrier she can’t seem to cross. Marc is taking her on the joy ride of her life, but will her own insecurities destroy everything?
Excerpt:
Clutching the cold beer bottle in her hand, she wedged her way between gyrating bodies, hypnotized by the music until she reached the front of the crowd…and stopped at the edge of the stage, mesmerized. The bass guitarist stood with one foot balanced on the monitor in front of him, his body leaning into the sound. His head was thrown back, dark hair flying around his face as he pounded out the rhythm of the song they were playing. He was wild, uninhibited, totally immersed in his music. He moved with an incredible grace to the accented beat, hips thrusting as his clever fingers plucked the strings and slid on the neck of the guitar.
For one incredible moment, Emma had the feeling he was playing only for her and she realized she really had been struck by “Lightnin’.” Permanently electrified by it.
A surge of heat raced through her, and it wasn’t the kind that emanated from the tightly packed sweaty bodies. Instead, an electric excitement gripped her, sending a charge of unfamiliar sexual thrill to every nerve. Her breasts tingled and between her thighs, she felt a throbbing as deep as the sound of the bass. At first she stood stiffly, clutching her drink. People jostled and shoved her as they kept time to the beat. She took two quick swallows of the beer, grimacing at the bitter taste. But as the alcohol eased her tension, she found herself catching the rhythm of the music and trying to mimic the movements of the bass player, totally caught up in the seductive lure of the song. For one crazy moment, she was gripped by an uncontrollable urge to jump up on the stage, and bump and grind with him. Her! Emma, the good girl!
Clumsily juggling the beer bottle, she slipped the thin strap of her purse over her head so it lay crosswise between her breasts. Her focus still on the bass player, she swayed to the beat, hips moving, rocking. When the song ended, the bass guitarist threw back his head on a final note and then looked out into the crowd, peering beyond the glare of the stage lights.
His eyes seemed to find hers as if pulled by a magnet, and a fist slammed through her.
Ohmigod!

Find me at:
www.desireeholt.com
www.desireeholttellsall.com
Twitter: @desireeholt
Facebook: www.facebook.com/desireeholt




Sunday, August 21, 2011

Branded With A Name

Have you ever heard someone's name and immediately associated it with someone else? 

When I here the name Heathclif, the first thing I think of is Heathclif of Wuthering Heights. When I here the name Garfield, a lazy fat lasagna-eating cat appears in my brain. When the name Rocky is mentioned, are you like me and imagine the Italian Stallion boxer droning exhaustively for his Adrienne? Point being, we all have certain names that can be linked through various intangible ways to their famous counterparts.

One book that inspired this post, is a new release from Margaret Ethridge entitled CONTENTMENT. She's written a story about a common issue among married couples. While they appear to lead happy lives in a perfect neighborhood, holding down great jobs, and raising several wonderful kids, their marriage is on the brink of failure as they try to keep up the front and virtually live separate lives under the same roof.

When I read this book, I was so enthralled by Ms. Ethridge's talent for writing with heart and intensity as she broke apart these multi-layered characters without slowing down the pace. She brings you a story that sucks you in until you've no choice but to laugh and cry right along with the characters.

The couple in this endearing romance is Sean and Tracy. While the names seem common enough, their household Irish names have been etched into my brain forever as the protagonists who learned how to fall back in love with each other. From now on, whenever I hear either of them, I will revert to Margaret's beloved characters in this timeless novel.

As an author, I've obviously done the same with all my characters. I'll never hear the names Grayson or Chloe again without thinking of my book SILENT PARTNER. Or Daegan without thinking of RAELIKSEN.

So, what about you? Whose name do you instantly associate with someone else who's encompassed the name first?


Places to find Renee Vincent



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interview of Author Dianne Hartsock

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Dianne Hartsock.

Latest Book: Shelton’s Promise
Buy Link: http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/345

BIO:
I live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.

Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write my tails. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside and a fire crackles on the hearth inside that kindles my imagination.

Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The easiest part for me to write is the interaction between the characters. I love my two men! I enjoy their playfulness and flirting. They’re obviously in love, and though there are people around them, they’re often in a world of their own. It’s the same in my other stories. I like my characters, even the bad ones, and it’s easy to write about them.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: Transitional scenes. I have the hardest time moving characters from point A to point B without being excruciatingly boring. My heart’s just not in it. I usually end up throwing in dialogue or some action by the characters I hadn’t planned on at first. Sometimes it changes the whole dynamic of the story, which can be a challenge in itself.

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: Hands down, it’s Shelton. Sweet and shy. A successful businessman, he can’t help loving the exuberant, beautiful Nevil. I love writing about his involvement with Nevil and how he overcomes his insecurities to make a future with him.

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I’m the world’s biggest bookworm, devouring them two or three at a time. I also enjoy going out to hear a favorite band. Coffee shops and lunch with friends. I don’t know if these are hobbies, but its what I like doing when I can’t be writing.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I think it’s writing emotions. Some scenes can be so difficult and might take me hours to work through. I hurt or cry or laugh with them. I usually have to get up and pace the house to work the scene out in my mind. But in the end I think I have something that will move people.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I think I’d like to try a paranormal romance. You know, something with a shape shifter in it. I’ve been hesitant to try one simply because I’m not sure how to change the MC back and forth without sounding ridiculous. Maybe I’ll make that my next challenge. Did you know that writing erotic romance was a challenge I had given myself last summer? Who knew I’d enjoy it so much!

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#%21/diannehartsock
http://twitter.com/#%21/diannehartsock
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4707011-dianne-hartsock
http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/345

BLURB:
Shelton has a gift for Nevil but can’t seem to score a moment alone with him. Will Nevil ever let Shelton take him home?

Shelton has a gift he’s anxious to give to Nevil.At the party, Nevil flirts with one man after another, keeping Shelton on his toes. Then Percy shows up to complicate things. Despite his best efforts, Shelton can’t find the right moment to give Nevil his gift. Will Nevil ever let Shelton get close to him, or will Shelton have to keep the gift in his pocket all evening?

EXCERPT:

Shelton floated, pleasantly dizzy, but he hadn’t had enough to drink to numb the stab of jealousy when Nevil leaned over Percy’s chair and whispered something in his ear. The man looked into his face and laughed; a tinge of color in his cheeks.

Seeing them together, Shelton thought of the jeweler’s box in his coat pocket, wishing he’d had the balls earlier to give it to Nevil. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever have the nerve. What if Nevil didn’t want it? Irritated with himself, he made his way through the crowd to the kitchen, intent on finding the bottle of bourbon he’d seen on the counter earlier.

The kitchen proved as crowded as the rest of the house and Shelton brushed impatiently at his alcohol blurred eyes. Where was that damned bottle? He almost knocked it into the sink, and poured a good amount of the golden liquid into his glass.

He sipped the warming drink, letting it trickle down his throat with its slight burn. He supposed Nevil couldn’t help himself with those beautiful men. Until a short time ago, Nevil could have slept with any number of them. Six months. That’s all Shelton had of him.

He took another swallow of the numbing liquid then looked at his glass, nearly empty again, and used both hands to set it on the countertop. It hadn’t helped at all. He leaned over the sink, refusing to throw up. Shelton jumped when an arm suddenly went around his shoulders, too surprised to struggle when he was dragged across the crowded kitchen and pushed through a doorway.

Shelton squinted in the dim street light coming through a curtained window. Nevil slammed the door of the utility room and twisted the lock in the knob.

“What’s the matter?” Shelton asked, wincing at the slur in his voice. Nevil crossed to him in two strides, shoving Shelton back against the dryer and giving him a hard kiss. Shelton turned his head away and Nevil bit him on the lip.

“Ouch! What are you angry about?” Shelton asked, not liking the glare in Nevil’s blue eyes.

“You deserted me,” Nevil growled against his mouth. “Percy practically raped me on the couch, unable to keep his hands to himself, apparently, and you weren’t even there to help. Some hero you are.”

“You can handle Percy without me,” Shelton asserted, and yelped as Nevil gripped his arms. Shelton was confused when Nevil brutally kissed him, sharp tongue darting into his mouth. Nevil bent Shelton back uncomfortably over the dryer and continued to plunder his mouth.

Shelton struggled slightly when Nevil’s hand dropped to his groin, squeezing Shelton through his slacks. Nevil gave a guttural laugh, stroking Shelton, his hold too tight to be comfortable. Damn. Nevil had never made Shelton feel cheap like this, before.

It slowly rose through Shelton’s muddled brain that Nevil must be hurting and acting on it, probably from Shelton’s seeming indifference to Percy’s flirtations. It always surprised Shelton to find a chink in Nevil’s self-assurance.

Shelton pushed against Nevil and the man stepped back, eyes dark with pain. Putting a hand on Nevil’s heaving chest, Shelton felt the rapid heartbeat against his palm. A tear clung to Nevil’s thick lashes and Shelton swallowed his pride. “I love you, Nevil. Please, don’t make love to anyone else. It would break my heart.”

Nevil’s eyes narrowed, then he hid his face against Shelton’s neck. “I’m a fool. I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve never belonged to anyone before.” His shoulders lifted in a shrug. “It makes me crazy when I think you don’t care.”

An unaccustomed thrill of power shot through Shelton that this gorgeous, virile man wanted him. Shelton put a finger under Nevil’s chin and raised his face for a tender kiss. Nevil sighed into Shelton’s mouth, warm hands sliding up Shelton’s back to urge him closer. Shelton went to Nevil willingly, molding his body against Nevil’s enticing heat.

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