May 31 2011

HOW TO GET A FIVE-STAR REVIEW

It’s Wednesday! I’m sure everyone is trying to recover from Memorial Day! So I have Camryn Rhys here today! And she’s gonna talk about reviews! Curious? Then read on!

HOW TO GET A FIVE-STAR REVIEW

Everyone wants a five-star review. Or five roses or chef’s hats or kisses or whatever it is that signifies a book is awesomesauce. Even as you’re reading this, you’re thinking, ohmygosh she’s right! I want a five-star review, too. Pick me! Love. Me! Well, I’m here to tell you how to get one.

My name is Camryn and I’m a reviewer. I review for several book blogs, including The Pen & Muse blog and The Season reviews. Over the last couple of years, I’ve reviewed over 500 books. Some novellas, some novels, some under this name, some under another.

In all this time, I’ve given out my share of 5-star reviews (or, if you read my blog, 99/100 point reviews—although, to be fair, there have only been two of those), and my share of 1-star reviews. There were even a couple of books I would have given no stars to if I could have. And I’m here to share with you, from a reviewer’s perspective, what exactly is the 411.

First, I feel obligated to let you in on something: Reviews are subjective. You might think, duh, Cam, I already knew that, but stick with me here. Let’s say your editor has told you that you write just like Eloisa James. First of all, score for you! Second, you probably don’t want to target your review campaign to people who prefer J.R. Ward. Not that reviewers don’t/can’t like multiple styles. But more that if I like Eloisa James, I’m probably going to like people who write similar styles and/or themes. So because reviews are so subjective, do yourself a favor and do some research about who you’re requesting reviews from. Don’t be afraid to ask for a specific reviewer, either, because you think they’ll like what you’re layin’ down.

Second, and this one will be less obvious: Reviews are SUBJECTIVE. So while five-star reviews feel good and are fun to read, they don’t last forever. And neither do one-star reviews. Reviewers also have good days and bad days. If you get a bad review, remember. Cam says, reviews are subjective.

I promise not to say “reviews are subjective” again (although they are). Because I want to tell you how to actually get a five-star review. Or, rather, how not to get a one-star review.

*Don’t start with the dumb stuff. This includes waking up, traveling, a character saying one or another of their friends should get laid, and wild misunderstandings that are quickly resolved. Just to name a few. If I have to roll my eyes just to get through your first page, you’ll never get a five-star review. (And, by the way, ask someone objective to read your writing… someone objective, and not stupid. Every writer needs to know how they sound.)

*Don’t start with backstory. No matter how important you think it is, resist the urge to start off with history. Of any kind. Seriously. Don’t try to get around it by pretending it’s not backstory. Start your book where the story starts. Period.

*Don’t write flat characters. Your characters should be deep and interesting. I know you love them, that’s why you’re writing about them. But I’m not going to love them just by virtue of the fact that you do. You need to show me how awesome they are. Show.

*Don’t write bad sex scenes. Sex is more than physics. It’s more than flowery descriptions of body parts and orgasms or funny ways to describe an erection/clitoris/orgasm. It’s a deep connection, and it’s always about way more than a chemical process inside someone’s brain/groin.

*Don’t include excessive descriptions of bodily fluids. This one may seem like common sense, but I’ve given out an F review for precisely this reason and am seeing a disturbing trend in this direction. No one wants to hear about characters dribbling spit into each other’s mouths. Or the precise color and opacity of your heroine’s lubricating liquid. Trust me. It’s gross.

*Don’t try too hard. Generally, we reviewers and readers can tell when you’re being “that girl”—you know the one. The girl guys want to shake off because she’s too clingy/talky/whiny. You want too badly to write like someone else, or to write a genre that’s not natural for you. Give yourself some space to figure out what your style and voice are really like before you rush into publishing. Make sure you’re putting out your absolute best. Because it really sucks to read something that’s not.

And finally, I hate to parrot Donald Maas (mostly because everyone else is doing it, and I hate to be a sheep—or, apparently, a parrot), but the most important thing is to tell a good story. Bottom line, I’m reading your book, I want to be engaged. Backstory? Not engaging. Conflict-less meandering prose? Not engaging. You need to make me turn every single page. Because as soon as I can stop turning, I will.

What do you think?

Check out Camryn’s coming release from Breathless Press!

Blurb:

Mindy Edwards can’t bake to save her life, but with no where else to go, she returns to the one place she’d avoided for six years. Her boss’s son, Leo—still strictly off-limits—doesn’t help her starved libido, and what’s a girl to do when she could barely keep her job as the cook?

Leo Fortiss has never quite gotten over his first love nor did he expect her to return and pretend they didn’t have a heartbreaking past, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t save her from all the other cowboys–who definitely weren’t after her burnt buns and horrid cooking. He proposes a trade: he’ll teach her to bake bread if she’ll come to the big Barn Dance with him.

Mindy accepts, but when things heat up in the kitchen, she finds history repeating itself. Will she run or risk her heart a second time?

 

 


May 27 2011

It’s Memorial Weekend! Party! Party! Okay, Let’s try something different…

As we all know, Memorial Day is just around the corner and I’m sure all of you all gearing up for some cool trip, time spent with family and friends, or even just an excuse to party.

 

Memorial Day is a time packed with memories for all those who have served our nation and those who have died in honor. For the past few years, my life has been thrown into the whole military whirlwind as I’ve moved across the country from New York to Hawaii and back to the mainland. I’ve been introduced to the different branches of military, met wonderful people who have loved ones overseas ensuring that our country’s greatness. I’ve learned a lot about what the men and women who serve our country do for us, how they risk their lives to protect our rights and our lands, and also the sacrifices they’ve made to ensure our safety and freedom. I have to say, it’s awesome to live in this country, and realize how much history we have and what we continue to fight for.

 

So for this special weekend, I would just like to hang out and talk about whatever your heart desires! Don’t be shy. Grab a drink from the bar, and commemorate with us.

 

Share your plans for Memorial weekend! What are you doing? How are you celebrating this weekend? BBQ? Fireworks? Give me some ideas!

 

Two lucky commenter will win a $20 gift certificate from Barnes and Nobles and also a special gift package from ME! (I’m Clarissa, by the way, for you new guests that have accidentally stumbled on my blog.) Winner will be chosen on Wednesday, June 1st.

Also, please be ready to gear up for the summer part soon! Will post more as soon as possible! It’s gonna be huge!




May 24 2011

Beyond Jack and Jake: What to Name Your Hero

Guess who? We have Jennifer Shirk here today! Yay! Let’s talk character naming!

Beyond Jack and Jake: What to Name Your Hero

I talked about this subject this time last year, and I thought it was so interesting, I figured I bring it here for cool discussion.

A few things struck me as I picked up yet another romance novel that had Jack as the hero’s name.

1) It’s a GREAT name for a hero. (I confess I used the name, too, in a story) and
2) Romance writers don’t really like to mess with what is already deemed a good, strong hero’s name.

It’s kind of funny how we romance writers have no problem seeking out extraordinary heroine’s names, though. I’ve seen Wanda, Sierra, Prudence, and even Tandy. But when it comes to male hero names, we tend to stick with old standbys like Jake, Sam, Keith, Mike, Matt, and Nate. And of course, Jack.

(I’m over generalizing a bit here, but stay with me anyway)

Why do we contemporary romance writers linger around these names so much? I think it’s because a name carries an IMAGE. And we all want our hero to have the image of being strong and masculine. We don’t want our heroine to fall in love with a wienie. So we don’t want a wienie name for our hero.

But what about the in-between names? The names that go beyond Jake but don’t quite reach the Roark, Tyler, or even Brent Alpha-unique level. I’m talking about names that according to one baby name book are in “fashion limbo”.

  • Bruce
  • Clark
  • Dean
  • Dennis
  • Don
  • Grant
  • Glenn
  • Lance
  • Neil
  • Jay
  • Todd
  • Vince
  • Walt

Why don’t we see these names more in books? I have to say I’ve met some REALLY hot, fun (and young) Vince, Walt, Len, Jay, Grant, and Glenns in my life. But can an author convince a reader of that? Is it possible to break the image barrier with these names? Well…I don’t know.

(I am trying, though) My hero in GEORGIE ON HIS MIND is named Walt.

I write more lighthearted reads, so I think if a writer writes romantic comedy she might have a little more reader forgiveness if she uses a borderline name, but of course I could be wrong. The point is I love a good challenge!

Have you or would you use any of those fashion limbo names for your hero? What names have you liked for heroes that you’ve read?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jennifer Shirk fancies herself a more prolific writer than she really is and has an unnatural tendency to use words like “fancies” and “prolific” when describing herself.  Please feel free to check out her recent romantic comedy, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME and GEORGIE ON HIS MIND—where she promises she didn’t use either of those words anywhere in her story.
Also, check out her BLOG anywhere blogs are available.

Blurb:

Georgie Mayer has no boyfriend and rarely goes out. In short, she needs a life. Since she’s graduated college and returned back home, her brother’s protectiveness has been in overdrive, and she hasn’t been able to have any fun, never mind get a date.

So what’s a poor particularly attractive girl to do in a situation like this? The only thing she can do: find him a woman!

He’ll thank her for it in the end. That is, if his best friend Walt Somers would stop interfering with her plans. The handsome pharmacist has made no secret that he doesn’t approve of what she’s up to. Unfortunately, having Walt hanging around does strange things to her mind, and suddenly she can’t help but take a healthy interest in him. But how can Georgie entertain thoughts of the two of them together when Walt still treats her like his best friend’s little sister?

 


May 23 2011

Theresa Meyers Interviewed and Kidnapped!

Okay, I’m contemplating the kidnapping part, but you have to read how amazing this woman is. Today, our guest of honor is Theresa Meyers. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

Wine, please. Favorite it is Hogue’s Late Harvest Riesling or Covey Run’s Late Harvest Riesling because they are sweet. Never really have enjoyed the taste or smell of beer or coffee for some reason.

*gasp* You don’t like coffee? How about cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

Yeah, based on the above, I’d confirm that would be CAKE, with a sprinkle of sugar, please.

Love me some cake. Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

You know I should be thanking you, just like I thanked the kid at the grocery store who wanted to card me. That’s just so sweet of you!

LOL. Well, we’ll see how you sweet you still think after we’re done roasting you here…So, what did you bring us today?

Blurb:

FROM SWORN ENEMIES…

Dr. Rebecca Chamberlin hated nothing more than the vampires who had turned her loved ones into creatures of the night…until she became one herself. Now her experimental vaccine has become more urgent than ever, and has made her the target of vampire security chief Achilles Stefanos.

TO FORBIDDEN LOVERS.

Built like a god with golden hair and an irresistible allure, Achilles made her feel passion the way no mortal man had before. Beck could no more deny her craving for him than she could the hated bloodlust in her veins. But when her vaccine fell into the wrong hands, Beck has a difficult choice to make—one that challenged everything she’d always believed…..

Dark and dangerous, the Sons of Midnight are a temptation that few can resist!

Ohhhhhh! Intriguing! All right, I guess you can come in.

Why did you want to become an author?

I don’t know that I wanted to become an author so much as I was just born that way. I always told stories. I’m dyslexic and so when I was younger I couldn’t read, but I adored being read to. My mom gave me a tape recorder and let me ramble on for hours telling the stories in my head.

I got into journalism in school and found I really enjoyed writing and started writing my first novel at age 17. At one point (after writing for 20 years and NOT being published in fiction yet) I was in the American Title II contest (the American Idol of books) as one of 11 finalists in the nation up for a publishing contract. When I got kicked off in about round three or four I decided I was going to give it up. After all, I had a thriving PR agency, what did I need to beat my head against my keyboard for?

Yeah. That lasted about half an hour.

I realized no matter what, I was still going to have these ideas and characters mulling around in my head and have to find a constructive way to deal with that constant barrage of stuff. I figured I could A) tell it to my friends, and potentially lose them all after hogging all the conversations over the years; B) take a second job so I could afford to tell a therapist all my stories and get them out of my head or C) keep writing. I like my friends. I don’t need another job. Writing seemed the best option to staying semi normal and if I was going to keep writing, why not keep sending it out?

Wow, very inspiring. Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I love to travel. I’ve been several places, but there are so many more I’d love to see. I’d like to go back to Italy again to see my extended family and see more of it. The most I really got to see of Rome before heading south to Sicily was the train station! I’d love to go to Australia and New Zealand, because they have an allure all their own. I’ve been to London before, but with my fascination with steampunk, I’d love to go back again. I’d also love to see the rest of Europe because I have all my family roots there. History absolutely fascinates me as does amazing natural settings. And there’s also much of the United States I’d still like to see because it’s so vast and different from state to state. I’ve done a lot on both coasts, but kind of missed out on most of the middle!

Then you definitely need to travel more! It could be research for your books! What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

I like to sew and design clothes. No. Seriously. I’ve been designing things since I was about nine. Mostly Victorian-style gowns. My mother taught me how to sew first by hand, then on the machine when I was very young. I sewed my first dress from a pattern, for her, when I was eight. All through high school if I wanted a formal gown for a dance, my mother would buy me all the supplies, but I had to sew it myself. I even sewed my own gown for the Junior Miss pagent when I was 16. Today I end up repairing items for the kids, sewing my own costumes for steampunk conventions or Halloween, and occasionally do something like sew curtains or a tea-cozy for the house. I think in our current society, it’s kind of a disappearing art.

That’s awesome! You are seriously one talented woman! Writing, traveling, sewing, and designing? Busy, busy. Tell us about one of your favorite character from your books.

I adore Achilles, the hero of The Vampire Who Loved Me. He was actually a secondary character in The Truth About Vampires who demanded his own story from the moment he stepped on to the page. I had to promise him his own book to shut him up long enough to finish writing The Truth About Vampires.

He’s a Spartan warrior who became a vampire through the original ancient cult in the ancient world. The problem is while he’s a warrior and a vampire, he’s also a Halfling. He bonded with his mentor, which in my vampire world means more than an emotional attachment. A bonded pair share not only each other’s powers, but each other’s pain and a love that lasts past death and can be reborn again. But his mentor, Ione, was killed during the Inquisition, which left him tortured and unable to truly feel emotions. Without the clan, he’d go insane. He tries so hard to joke around and tease feelings out of other people because he can’t experience those emotions himself.

He’s the ultimate tortured hero, who sees his past repeating itself as is terrified of it. I found the song “Wake Me Up Inside” from Evanescence perfectly described him and I ended up playing it over and over again as I wrote scenes in Achilles’ point of view.

I love Evanescence. I can almost take your hero home right now, but tell me what makes your character and story so special?

LOL. Well, I’ve already waxed rhapsodic over Achilles, but more than that really intrigued me about The Vampire Who Loved Me as a story because it really explores our own cultural biased towards those who have a disease we don’t know how to control. There’s an innate fear and kind of mob mentality there that makes for great fiction. Because my vampires are created by a virus, there are people willing to do anything, including creating a vampire pesticide, to protect themselves. But at what point do we stop seeing people as “them” and realize we’re all “us”?

There’s also the healing of two very broken souls in this story. They’re broken for different reasons, but truly each of them has been living dead emotionally for way too long. I also adore the heroine in this book. She was also a walk on secondary character with a smart mouth and a ginormous brain. Rebecca (who goes by Beck, if that gives you any clue to her attitude) is just one of those fun brainy heroines who thinks she knows everything but is really utterly clueless when it comes to navigating a relationship. She and Achilles together were just very fun to write. And that part about sharing everything once you’re bonded, yeah…boy, does that make for some interesting scenes!

Very interesting. Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?

Actually I think I write Gamma heroes. They’re a blend of the two and I think they make the best romance heroes. Alphas are too into themselves and their own ideas of the world to really care about the heroine until it’s almost too late. Betas wait for her to make the first move, even though they might be passionate about her. Gammas have enough self-confidence to be bold, but have that emotional core that allows them to love her, say so, and want an answer back. Now. For example, Tom Hanks and Hugh Grant often play Beta heroes, Bruce Willis and Steven Segal play Alphas, and Adrian Paul, Tom Selleck, Taylor Lautner, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson often play Gamma roles. (Han Solo is the perfect example of a Gamma hero.)

I love that! Gamma heroes. I have to say you’re the first to give me such answer. How much do you write in a day? Day or Night? Everyday?

That depends. My usual, sane pace is between five and ten pages a day, and while I’m on deadline that’s every day. If I’m getting close to the end of my deadline and I’m still not making it I’ll bump that up and write my 9 am to 3pm (while the kids are at school) and then start writing again at 9 pm (after people go to bed) until the work for the day is done. In between deadlines I’ll often take a week or two off and either have vacation with the family or start noodling and plotting out the next story. Sometimes in the summer I’ll take off a month to spend with the kids. It all depends on what’s happening, but there’s always a story (or two, or three) in my head at any given time. Yes, I’m out of my mind, but that’s because it’s dark and scary in there.

That sounds very smart to take breaks during the summer. Are you a pantser or plotter?

Actually I’m what I call a planter. I like to plot things out using a plotting board, character sheets, spiderweb subplotting, etc., so I have a good solid story and know the motivations of my characters, but when it comes down to actually writing my characters often take a detour here and there in a pantser-style that always make the stories better. I plant the idea with a good steady trellis and feed it. I let it take root and then I leave it free to grow however it wants to. The plot is the trellis that supports the creative free-flow.

You kill me! Love that! I might steal that word: Planter. What else are you working on right now?

Remember, you asked…Right now I’m currently in edits for book three for the Sons of Midnight series for Harlequin, The Half-Breed Vampire, that’ll be out in spring 2012. It’ll be a slight expansion of the current world because we get to see how the Cascade vampire clan clashes with the Wenatchee Were pack when a vampire isn’t everything he seems.

I’m also writing my second steampunk paranormal romance, The Slayer, for my Book of Legend Chronicles series with Kensington that’ll be out in 2012 (the first, The Hunter, is out this Nov.) It’s a switch from the straight vampire world because I get to go back to my historical romance roots and write in the Wild West, only it’s the Wild Weird West. The series features three brothers, named after their father’s favorite guns, Winchester, Remington and Colt, who fight supernaturals, kind of like if you plunked down the Winchester brothers from the television show Supernatural in the West and gave them some really cool steampunk inventions for fighting. It’s part Indiana Jones, part Wild Wild West, and part Supernatural.

In addition, I’m also working on a new urban fantasy romance world featuring dark fae that takes four sisters who can see the fae and get draw into their world to save each other and mankind. The first is a novella called Shadowlander, that will be out in Oct. from Entangled Publishing.

You are one busy woman! I’m so glad I got to hunt you down here (Okay, I’m glad I let you in the room…) Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

The best place to find what I’m working on now is my website, www.theresameyers.com, or keep up with me on Twitter @Theresa_Meyers but the books are out just about everywhere Harlequin books are sold and available (with a discount!) at www.eharlequin.com

Thank you so much for coming!

Thanks so much for inviting me, it was a lot a fun!

You heard the woman! Get the party rolling! Join in the fun and enter for a chance to win a Cool “Love Bites” vampire mug filled with dark chocolate and an autographed copy of The Vampire Who Loved Me

 

 


May 19 2011

Meet Tatiana March!

It’s Friday. It’s raining, but why let the bad weather get to you? Come hang out with Tatiana March and check out her new release!

Who is Tatiana?

Tatiana March has published eight books in romantic suspense and contemporary and historical romance, mostly by Resplendence Publishing.

Born in Finland, Tatiana has lived in several countries (America is a great favorite). Her current home is in the UK, in a small town west of London, where she lives with her boyfriend of 20 years and a zillion spiders who creep in through the walls when no one is looking.

Tatiana, what’s your writing routine – plotter or pantser?

In between. I start with a situation and write the opening chapters to get to know the characters. While I do that, the plot takes shape in my head.  However, I never write it down. A formal outline would be too rigid for my writing process. And because I like to keep it all in my head, I need to write intensively, often fifteen hours a day, to capture the story before it fades.

How did you start writing?

I’ve always loved books and dreamt of being a writer. Ten years ago, I lost my job as a senior director in an international company and suddenly had lots of free time. So, I opened my laptop and started writing down some of the stories I used to make up during transatlantic flights when I couldn’t sleep. From that day, I’ve been addicted to writing.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

It’s a hard business. Don’t start unless you’re willing to dedicate your life to it. I have two university degrees and a professional qualification. Getting those was much easier than becoming a published author. But if writing is your life, and you want to make it into a career, treat it accordingly. Research the market. Study novels of successful authors in your genre. Experiment with writing styles to find what works best for you. Keep in mind that romance readers are seeking a satisfying emotional experience, and you need to write stories that will meet those expectations.

Why do you write in multiple genres?

Each genre gives me something different. I started with romantic suspense, as I like complex plots. Then I became interested in the Klondike Gold Rush and wrote my first historical (which remains unpublished). I found that I enjoyed researching period details and writing in a historical voice. On the other hand, contemporary romances allow me to write about ordinary people, coping with modern problems. My contemporaries tend to be shorter, more strictly focused on the romance, and have more humor and higher heat levels.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just finished the edits for my June release, a contemporary romantic comedy HOW CAT GOT A LIFE. My current WIP is a western historical, set in 1870’s Arizona, a little earlier than my first western historical CIRCLE STAR. The hero is half Apache, the heroine an eccentric spinster. The tentative title is APACHE HEART. I’m really enjoying the story, and I expect to write more in the same genre.

What else have you published?

My lastest release is LIES AND CONSEQUENCES which came out in March this year (Check it out below!)

CIRCLE STAR – western historical 2008

PROJECT SEDUCTION – contemporary 2008

SECRETS OF THE PAST – romantic suspense 2009

TROUBLE WITH THE LAW – contemporary 2009

HOME FOR A SOLDIER – contemporary 2010

LE PACS – contemporary 2010

LEARNING TO FORGIVE – contemporary 2010

Where can readers find you?

www.tatianamarch.com

tatiana.march@yahoo.com

Don’t forget to leave a comment to win a PDF copy of LIES AND CONSEQUENCES.

Blurb:

Journalist Christina Miller is determined to scoop the first ever interview with Lucas Frost, a reclusive scientist who has invented a gadget worth millions. On the way to his isolated lakeside home, her car breaks down, forcing her to shelter the night in an ancient boat. In the morning, she finds herself hijacked by a surly fisherman who refuses to take her ashore.

Christina strikes a daring bargain: if he takes her back, she’ll sleep with him. No names, no personal details, just two strangers sharing pleasure in the night.

She has missed the chance of an exclusive interview with Lucas Frost, but at least she can make the press conference at his research lab. When she arrives, she finds her surly fisherman sitting behind a podium, facing a bank of microphones – Lucas Frost.

And he has no intention of letting her forget.

Excerpt:

“Have you ever made love in water?” he asked, low and hesitant.

Christina shook her head. The tension inside kept words from forming on her lips.

“Neither have I,” the man said. His voice deepened “Want to give it a try?”

She floated closer to the boat and clung to the ledge, looking around. Daylight was fading. A swarm of insects danced above the water, and on the distant shore a few scattered lights were beginning to glimmer in the twilight.

“I don’t know,” she whispered.

He hooked one elbow around the steel hoop that formed a step below waterline at the back of the boat, and wound his other arm around her waist, pulling her close. “Come on,” he murmured into her ear. “A weekend on the lake won’t be complete without it.”

She looked at him accusingly. “You said you’ve never done it, and how many weekends have you spent on the lake?”

“But never with someone like you.” He tightened his grip until their bodies molded together. Her breasts flattened against his chest and his erection pushed against her stomach. His eyes searched her, and Christina felt her heart thud in heavy beats. Finally, the man’s lips came down to hers, and he explored her mouth in a long kiss that was a searing contrast to the cool water that surrounded them.

“How is it even possible?” she breathed when his head lifted.

“The marvel about floating in water is that you’re almost weightless.” He wedged his leg between hers and bounced her up and down. Her tender flesh rubbed against the solid muscle as she skimmed along his thigh.

“All right,” she whispered. “Show me how.”

He lifted her until her shoulders rose out of the water, and with one strong arm he shifted her into position, separating her legs to straddle his hips. “You’ve got to help,” he said, his gaze dark and intense. “I need one hand to keep us afloat.”

She reached into the water, until she found him, hard as steel, and for one brief instant she wanted to escape, but then the man began to lower her. She guided him inside, her legs wrapped about his waist as he slowly penetrated her.

“See,” he told her in a low voice. “Weightless.” He lifted her up, then slackened his hold to let her down again. He filled her, making her feel wanted and cherished, the loneliness and sense of futility banished for a fleeting moment. She threw her arms over his shoulders and clung to him, finding her own rhythm of rising and falling in the glorious combination of cool water and hot blood.

 


May 16 2011

Decadent Publishing 1Night Stand – Triplets become Dozen

Welcome Kate Richards! Come hang out! Party! Win a copy of the Virgin and the Playboy and a $10.00 Amazon gift card to a random commenter!

 

Decadent Publishing 1Night Stand – Triplets become Dozen

One day last summer, I was kicking it with a couple of friends. Now, as an ebook author that means two other authors and I were emailing and IMing back and forth about whatever odd ideas crossed our minds. Yeah…I mean odd. We’re authors…we hear voices. Odd is bound to happen.

 

Valerie Mann, Olivia Starke and I do that, we share ideas and that day one of us ( I think it was Valerie, but not completely sure) said, what do you think about a trilogy of stories about a dating service. With a twist.  We thought it would be fun to set up a service for 1 Night Stands. Madame Evangeline was born and along with her the Castillo family, Cuban ex-patriots living in the U.S. who own and operate a chain of fabulous hotels and resorts throughout the world.

 

Well, it was all good and we loved the idea, agreed to write our stories and then got busy and it was December before we got together again on that issue and before too much longer we had shared our idea with the fabulous publishers at Decadent Publishing who told us great…but get us more! So we put our heads together again and sent out some invitations to some of the most fabulous authors in the industry and the stories began to pour in.

 

Well, eight have been released so far and we have many, many more in the pipe. We have started a second series 1NS GLBT for the m/m, the f/f and well, a few surprises in that one!

 

We are prepared to do this as long as readers want us to! Our thanks to the readers and authors and everyone at Decadent Publishing for the incredible support for a little idea by three little authors that has become an incredible project for us and thanks also to Madame Evangeline and Jackson and Jagger Castillo. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Blurb: Julia’s sex life has only been lacking one thing. Sex. somehow she’s made it to her mid-twenties without ever going to bed with anyone. The mysterious Madame Evangeline’s dating service is the answer to an accidental virgin’s prayers. Mark’s participation is the result of a dare by his envious, married buddies. Is Madame right in setting these two polar opposites up for a 1NightStand? Can one night at the glamorous, Castillo Resort in Las Vegas be more than they ever expected?

An accidental virgin and an experienced man of the world find more than  they expected in their 1NightStand

 

 


May 13 2011

Bound to Moonlight-Coming Soon!

Check out Nina Croft’s new release, coming May 18th! Don’t miss out. Comment and enter to win a copy NOW!

Blurb:

ANYA, a powerful telepath, always believed she worked for the good guys–the organization that created her, trained her and turned her into the ultimate weapon. Her most recent assignment: to assassinate the head of a group of mercenaries. The very man she believes is responsible for the death of her sister.

Investigating the disappearance of three pack members, Alpha werewolf, SEBASTIAN QUINN finds himself under scrutiny of a deadly group. Caught in their cross-hairs he must now fight to save his own life.

Captured and held by the charismatic werewolf, Anya feels the stirrings of passion. For the first time there is something beyond duty. Now she is faced with a choice — complete her assigned mission or risk everything she has ever known for a chance at love.

 

Excerpt:

He pushed down the waistband on her pants, and his mouth moved lower.

She had to act now, before she lost it completely. Before she decided never to go back, to stay here with this man for whatever time she had left. Her thoughts warred with the feel of his mouth moving over her skin, moving closer to the core of her desire.

But even from the short time she had known him, she’d perceived that Sebastian was a man who would honour his responsibilities. Soon, he would come to his senses, remember his missing people.

She had to go now, before she was completely undone, before she gave in and told him anything he wanted to hear.

Anya took a deep, calming breath. Staring over his shoulder, she focused her powers on the heavy stone jug that stood on the bedside table. The jug lifted easily, flew through the air, and crashed down on the back of Sebastian’s skull.

His eyes widened, filled with confusion. Then a shudder ran through his body, and he collapsed on top of her.

Anya lay beneath him, unmoving. Her face was wet, and she realized she was crying silently into his shoulder. After a minute, she swallowed her tears and pushed her hands against his chest. Dragging herself from beneath him, she stumbled to her feet.

With trembling fingers, she picked up her bra and T-shirt and pulled them on.

She rubbed her hand across her face and turned to go. At the door, she paused and looked back. She tiptoed back to the bed and sank down beside him, picking up the pieces of the broken jug scattered around his head.

One side of his face showed and she stroked the silky hair back from his cheek. It occurred to her, fleetingly, that she could quite easily complete her mission, now. He was helpless, all she needed to do was open the vein in his throat, and his life would drain away. She traced one finger down along the vein. Beneath her fingertip, she could feel the throb of his life force. So fragile.

She stood up abruptly. This time she didn’t stop at the door.

 

What do you think? Be one of the first to get your hands on a copy of Bound to Moonlight! Comment away!


May 10 2011

Confessions of an Accidental Romance Author

You know things happen for a reason…Meet Kathryn Scannell!

Confessions of an Accidental Romance Author

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but when I decided to write, I had no intention what so ever of writing romance. I had a plan in mind, but it was going to be an epic fantasy novel – world saving battles, heroic deeds, the whole bit. It was supposed to have more of an urban flavor than the standard epic quest, but it was definitely fantasy. There were some romantic elements, to be sure, but they weren’t the point.

Then I thought better of it, and decided to start with something a little less ambitious first – a nice, simple fantasy set after the world has been saved and people are picking up the pieces, as a warm up.  It would be practice before I dug into the ambitious work. I did chew my way through an entire first draft, except for a couple of spots where I skipped scenes, meaning to come back later. Someday I may yet do that, but I’ll be rewriting the whole thing if I do – the first draft was amazingly bad.

In the meantime, someone in my critique group sold a nice little M/M story to Torquere Press. I looked at their guidelines, and thought to myself “Hey, I could do this. I’ve got this character in the back story here who’s bisexual. I could do a quick little story about his first M/M relationship, kind of an outtake from the epic, because it probably won’t make the final novel when I do write it, and then I’d have something published.”

That was two years ago. I’ve now discovered that there is no such thing as a quick little story. Anything I touch will try to turn into a novel. And I’ve gained a whole new respect for how much work is involved in writing a romance novel – they require just as much craft and skill as any other kind of novel,  no matter what some genre snobs say to the contrary.  I have sold four short stories to Torquere, and sweat blood on every one of them to keep them under 8,000 words.

I seem to have found my niche in romance that’s a little outside the box. I’m not limiting myself to just M/M. One of those short stories is a ménage featuring two men and a woman. I have one on the drawing board about two women. Love is universal, and comes in all flavors. I’m really enjoying seeing how many of them I can explore vicariously by writing about them.

So what’s your experience?

3 lucky commenters will get a copy of an out of print short story entitled “Leap of Faith”, set in the same world as my recent release, Embracing the Dragon, to randomly chosen commenters.  [Adults only, please. The story contains explicit M/M sex scenes and BDSM elements.]

BLURB:

Danny O’Riordan’s life was complicated before he had the vision of a past life that forced him to admit to himself that he was bisexual. There’s a war going on, and being Liegeman to Aran, the Elven King of Avalon puts Danny squarely in the middle of the politics of two worlds, Earth and Avalon. Adding a romantic relationship to the mix could be explosive.

His lover from that previous life has been reborn as Mordellir, the ruler of the Tengri Empire. The Dragon of Heaven is the most powerful person in his world. Will he want Danny back once he knows he’s been reborn? If he does, how far will he go to get his way?

Danny knows it isn’t smart to get involved with the Dragon of Heaven. Aran hates the Tengri. Following his heart and renewing that old relationship with Mordellir will leave him torn between his commitment to Aran and those old feelings which are still frighteningly strong. If he yields to temptation, can he balance his love for both men?



May 5 2011

Get inspired! Meet KT Grant!

Today, our guest of honor is the eccentric redheaded author KT Grant. It’s so nice to have you here, and I’m sure you’re ready for a good time! Let the party begin!

First Questions:

Wine or beer? (If you want a club soda, I’ll have to send you to the corner.)

KT: I’m more a wine person. Give me a nice blush wine and I’m a happy person. But I’m also a big fan of Bud Light.

Blush wine? That’s weak! Just joking. Hehe. Cake or chips? Are you a sugar or salt person?

KT: I’m a total brownie addict. If you put a plate of those chocolate squares in front of me, I will inhale them.

Oh, oh, oh, I love me some brownies! Are you old enough to drink? LOL.

KT: I’m way past the legal drinking age *sob*

It’s okay. Don’t cry. We’ll just pretend we’re all underage…lol. So what did you bring us?

Blurb: Deborah Murnay has a life most women would die for. She has a loving wife of four years who gives her anything she wants. But, Deborah hides a dark secret. Her wife Genevieve not only enjoys kinky, dangerous sex, but is insanely jealous and possessive. When a violent argument between the two leaves Deborah bruised and battered, she has no other choice but to run away.

Through some intricate planning on Deborah’s part, she’s able to trick Genevieve into thinking she’s dead. Deborah becomes Sharon Wade and ends up hundreds of miles away in the small town of Woodberry Creek where she can start over again, even though she lives in fear that Genevieve will find her and kill her.

When grade school teacher Bridgette Woodberry notices her new neighbor, she quickly figures out Woodberry Creek’s new resident is hiding something. Deborah knows she can’t have a future with Bridgette, but finds herself attractive to the kindhearted redhead whose kisses and warm embrace makes her feel protected.

As Deborah turns to Bridgette to help heal her scars, Genevieve is waiting for the right moment to take back her wife and make her pay for deceiving her.

Intriguing. What makes your character and story so special?

KT: Sleeping with the Frenemy is a story about survival and how to escape a situation that could end up hurting you both mentally and physically. If you’ve seen the movie, Sleeping with the Enemy, you will get a good idea what my book is about. My heroine, Deborah, has been through a horrible hardship at the hands of a woman she loves. She finds the strength to leave her wife and move on in the hopes she can feel safe again and begin to heal.

All right, I guess you can come in. I should have made you bake brownies first, but…

So, what do you write? And why?

KT: I write a hodgepodge of romance from Lesbian, to M/M (Gay) and Straight Romance. I love to write about all different types of romances and show that love can be in many forms, no matter the gender or the person.

What would your characters say about you?

KT: My characters would adore me for giving them life! But then they would think I was very cruel because I make them suffer before they can find happiness.

LOL. I probably would think the same too… What was your first sale as an author? Anything special about it?

KT: My first sale is very special to me because it was a Lesbian Romance called Lovestruck (Available from Noble Romance Publishing. Buy link: https://www.nobleromance.com/ItemDisplay.aspx?i=134) I was told I would never be able to sell a Lesbian Romance and no one would buy it. Well, I was able to sell it and it’s one of my bestselling books.

That’s great! Very inspiring! What is the hardest part of writing your books?

KT: The hardest part is beginning a new book. Seeing that blank page and not knowing what the final outcome will be can be a scary thing.

Hmmm…you sound like a pantser. lol. Not a bad thing at all. What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?

KT: I’m a skilled palm reader *cue spooky music*

Really? That sounds fun! If only we could have a palm reading party. That would be different. Do you like more Alpha or Beta heroes?

KT: I actually like both, but there’s something special about Beta heroes. They’re so adorable and most of the time reserved. Seeing them fall in love and trying to handle their emotions for their lover always brings a smile to my face.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers?

KT: There will be people who will tell you that you’re not good enough and you’ll never be able to compete in the vast world of publishing. Don’t listen to them. Write what you want and don’t listen to those who want to bring you down. Stick to your guns and never, ever give up. And most importantly, have fun and don’t obsess about trying to get publishing and making a lot of money. Do what makes you happy.

Great advice! Where can our partygoers find you and your work?

KT: My website at ktgrant.com has all the information about my current and future releases. I’m published with Decadent Publishing, Noble Publishing Romance and Ravenous Romance.

Sounds awesome! One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Sleeping With the Frenemy! So comment away!


 


May 3 2011

Supernatural Sexiness And Eternal Commitment

Don’t miss out! Virna DePaul is here! And we’re not just hanging out. It’s gonna be a big party! So grab your hats and dancing shoes as Virna introduces us to Supernatural Sexiness and Eternal Commitment!

Get that confused look off your face and read on! You might win a prize or two!

Supernatural Sexiness And External Commitment

Virna:

Thank you so much for having me today at the Romance Author’s Hot Spot.  As my debut novel, Chosen By Blood (Book 1 in the Para-Ops Novels) hits the shelves, I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think of my story, but also my slightly controversial hero, Knox Devereaux.  In his own way, Knox has pushed some “hot buttons” for my readers.  This wasn’t intentional on my part–it was just the way the story and this character came to me.

Knox Devereaux is a dharmire, a half vampire/half human who is the son of the Vampire Queen and a traitorous human who informed humans how to kill vampires.  He struggles to lead his clan, which is literally starving due to an FBI-engineered vaccine that changes the properties of human blood so it can’t nourish vamps.  At the same time, he believes it’s only because of his human blood, the same human blood that his clan despises, that he’s strong enough to lead.  He’s constantly trying to prove his loyalty to his people, and this means doing his duty to marry another vampire.  Knox is sexy, strong, loyal, honorable, and unfailingly honest.  Granted, in this world, vampires are physically incapable of lying, but the way I’ve crafted Knox, I think he would be just as honest even if he was biologically capable of lying.

However, as much as I love Knox, he might have to win some of you over.  He’s a tad controversial because at the beginning of the novel, he’s married to someone else, but in love and pursuing the heroine.  You see, in the world of this series, vampires are NOT monogamous and the males are duty bound to marry and procreate with vampires. Yet even though Knox feels genuine affection for his married-for-convenience wife, Knox loves a human, Special Agent Felicia Locke.  Because of her strong human morals, she tries her best to stay away from Knox, and he lets her, until that is, they both join the FBI’s first Para-Ops team.  At that time (which is Chapter 1 of the book), he’s widowed, but he still has plans to marry another vamp.  Felicia’s bound and determined not to be his mistress on the side, however.  So what will they do?  The issue is really about how soul mates fight hard to do the right thing despite a powerful and constant pull to be with one another.

I’ve put lots of obstacles and thrilling adventures in Knox and Felicia’s way, but things work out the way they should in the end, at least in my mind.  After all, I write suspense, but it’s always a romantic one! :D

I’m giving away my e-books, A Vampire’s Salvation, and a heart charm bracelet to one random commenter.

Blurb:

United by fate. Bound by desire.

 

Five years after the Second Civil War ends, humans and Otherborn— humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA—still struggle for peace. To ensure the continued rights of both, the FBI forms a Para-Ops team with a unique set of skills.

Leader of an Otherborn clan, half-breed vampire Knox Devereaux would do anything to find a cure for the anti-vamp vaccine slowly starving his people into extinction. When the FBI contacts him about leading a team of hand-selected Others on a mission to reclaim the stolen antidote, Knox accepts. His new assignment places him in direct contact with Special Agent Felicia Locke, the beautiful human he’s craved since their very first meeting.

 

Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor whose debut mass market paranormal romantic suspense novel, Chosen By Blood (Book 1 in the Para-Ops series), comes out May 3, 2011 by Berkley Books.  In addition, Virna writes contemporary romantic suspense for Harlequin Romantic Suspense (Dangerous To Her, September 2011) and HQN (new series launching April 2012).  Virna has also self-published several novels, including “A Vampire’s Salvation,” “This Magic Moment,” and the “Red-Hot Cops” series under the name Ava Meyers.  Visit her at www.virnadepaul.com.