What about you? What are you resolving as we approach the time when 2007 will surrender to 2008?
What about you? What are you resolving as we approach the time when 2007 will surrender to 2008?
NN: Welcome, Alice!! Please tell us about your story out now with eRed Sage, Master of the Elements.
Alice Gaines: As Elsbeth says goodbye to her father at the foot of the forbidden mountain, he places a bride’s garland on her head and then refuses to let her go.
NN: What a great premise!! Please tell us about your favorite character in the book and why is this the case?
AG: The story only has two important characters -- Elsbeth and Lord Raelen, the Master of the Elements. Although I love and admire Elsbeth, Raelen is the one who totally captured my imagination. He's mysterious and frightening and yet gentle and adept at giving his virgin companion great pleasure. As the story progresses, he becomes more human, more vulnerable, and more precious. I want that man!
NN: He sounds like a hero I would easily fall in love with! Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
AG: Never give up! Never surrender!
Okay, that's Commander Peter Quincy Taggart of the NSEA Protector (Questarians know what I'm talking about), but it's the best advice to writers at every point in their careers. It's never easy, and it never gets easier. The rejections hurt more after you're published. Take it from someone who knows.
Ultimately, the only thing you can count on is the joy of writing itself. Publishers will reject or neglect you. Editors will fail to recognize your brilliance and insist you throw out your best stuff. Reviewers will write descriptions of your books that prove beyond a doubt that they never read your stories but someone else's. Blogs? Don't even get me started on blogs. Your nearest and dearest may not understand why you HAVE to tell stories. They may even try to sabotage you.
In the end, all you have is your characters and the beauty of the worlds you've created for them. Cling to them and protect them. They -- and you -- deserve no less.
NN: This is so true! What’s next for you?
AG: I'm in the process of finishing a full-length book set in an alternate universe where a mutation has created a sub-species ultra-sexual human beings called Novuses. My heroine is cast into that universe where she has to learn how to fix her own world so she can save her child. In that alternate universe, she meets her soul mate -- a powerful Novus leader. When the time comes to return to her world, will she be able to bring her lover back with her? Will she have to chose between her child and the man she loves?
After that, I have a few short things I need to write before I can move on to my next obsession. I recently succumbed to the Timothy Dalton version of Jane Eyre. Oh, la la! that tortured, beautiful, passionate man! To exorcise that demon I want to write my own story about the redemption of a man who believes he was born without a heart. Only, my Jane will be a force for sensuality rather than a force for morality.
NN: Sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for being here today, Alice!! Please visit Alice's website at: Alice Gaines To join her yahoogroup send an e-mail to AliceGainesChambersemail@example.com.
To blog readers, who is your all time favorite romance hero and why did you fall in love with him so quickly and completely?
One author sold his new book based on being a new father to hospitals, gift stores, etc. This is great.
Yes, go for niche marketing. If you have a book that features travel, hit up all the travel bureaus, airport gift shops, etc. Have a book about a local place where it has a lot of visitors looking for souvenirs, sell to the gift stores in the local area. My mother-in-law bought a mystery thriller, though she didn't usually read them, because it was set in Keene, NH where they had a cabin and it was pushed in that area, local setting, local author.
An author created a book about quilts for the crafter in mind and then self published because, according to publishers, people didn't make quilts anymore. Now since this lady was a quilter, attended numerous quilt shows all over the country, and had won at several shows, but most of all found there were NO books on how to quilt, she knew there was a market for it. So she self published. After selling to quilting craft stores and at shows all over the states....she sold 100K on her own, a publishing company picked her up for the next 100K. She's had several printings and written subsequent books on quilting.
But how do you sell werewolves? :)
For WINNING THE HIGHLANDER'S HEART, since there are plenty of real characters from Henry I's time in the book, I've played up the historical, medieval (I gave a talk about medieval life to a book club where we had wine and cheese!, and am scheduled to have a medieval garden type booth at a garden show), and Scottish aspects (sold to several Scots, and have a lot of Scots in my family tree)....I've been able to market based on several niches.)
When we were at the movies to see Sweeny Todd (I was very fortunate to see the play in NYC some years ago), there were several trailers for other fantasy shows coming up. Urban fantasy/paranormal/fantasy are all still making their impact on the world.
Vampires...hmmm-hmm...acceptable. But werewolves?
Welcome to my world, where wolves are wolves with a human sensibility, and humans are gifted with the wolf's keen senses. See what happens when the lupus garou break free of the rules of their society, wreaking havoc, and threatening exposure of their special kind. Read how Devlyn rescues Bella only to find themselves in worse trouble than before.
HEART OF THE WOLF is set in Colorado and Oregon. So that's a niche! I went to college in Portland and my grandfather was one of the first doctors in Beaverton, suburb of Portland. Maybe a tie in? I lived in Colorado too. Another tie in?
So you have to find ways to get your work noticed. Finding a niche for more unusual kinds of books might be difficult, but not impossible! You just have to get a little creative!
HEART OF THE WOLF is coming out April Fool's Day. No fooling!
While out and about recently, a shopper approached me carrying two blouses. One was a stunning leopard-print, the other a plainer, tailored style in petal pink. My first impression was that she was going to ask me which suited her better. Instead, she started chatting with me about various topics--including the shopping frenzy over the holidays. Eventually she mentioned the next place on her must-visit list—her favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore. She enjoys reading romance fiction and named several of her favorite authors. At this point I mentioned I write romance fiction—including erotic romances and erotica. We were standing in an area of the store where no one else browsed at the time, and she hung the blouses at the front of a nearby rack. After giving me an abbreviated history of her liberal days during the 1960s and 1970s, she posed a question: “Do you authors actually practice what you put in those books?” She glanced past me, then around the immediate vicinity. “Do you all personally research what the characters do?”
After a brief pause, I responded – “As with the stories I write, I’ll leave the answer to your imagination.” She laughed, smiled and said something to the effect her imagination worked overtime when reading sexually-explicit fiction. We chatted for a bit longer about reading romance novels, wished each other happy holidays, I gave her my business card and we parted company.
What about you? Have you ever been put on the spot? Care to share the “hot” topic and how you responded?
Season’s greetings and steamy readings,
Shawna Moore http://www.grant-moore.com
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/shawnamooreauthor
Helle’s Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/hellehawthorn
Kate St. James lives in the Pacific Northwest with her adoring family. She keeps trying to kick them out, but they're sticking like glue...for reasons she can't figure. It's not like she's a model wife and mother. Or is she? Therein lies one of the great mysteries of Kate's generation.
An avid reader since childhood, Kate loves spending her days writing about the hot men and adventurous women populating her head. When she's not engrossed in her fictional worlds, you can find her chasing her hound in the hills above an azure lake, ignoring the smoke alarms blaring from the kitchen, or endlessly renovating her house.
Nicole North: Hi, Kate, welcome!! Please tell us about "Good Vibrations" in Red Sage Secrets Volume 21, Primal Heat.
Kate St. James: "Good Vibrations" is an erotic romantic comedy about a woman who decides to swear off sex while she gets her MBA so her grades don't suffer like they always have in the past when she's mixed men and her studies. Then her favorite out-of-town customer shows up as she's about to give notice at the sex-toy shop she's been managing for her vacationing aunt. Gage is only in the city once a month, so this might be Lexi's last chance to see him...and her last chance to indulge her hidden wild streak before she straps on that chastity belt. So she goes for it, not realizing Gage is moving home--to her city--and has no intention of settling for a short-term affair.
NN: Sounds like a great, sexy plot! What inspired you to write this story?
KSJ: The title popped into my mind while I was writing another story in which the heroine bemoaned that her "Mr. Good Vibrations" vibrator had run out of batteries. Immediately, I thought, "Wow, Good Vibrations would make a great title for an erotic story." So I jotted down the idea, which at that point consisted of the title, the setting--a sex shop (I wanted plenty of vibrators at my heroine's disposal
NN: Interesting! I recall doing that one time myself. I love it when a whole story comes from a title. Please tell us about your favorite character in this story and why he/she is your favorite.
KSJ: I'd have to say it's Lexi O'Brien, the heroine, because she isn't afraid to go after what she wants even when she's suffering self-doubts. And she does suffer them. She thinks she's too top-heavy and plain Jane. Now, I personally don't have any experience with being "top-heavy," but when my heroine began complaining about her big boobs, who was I to dissuade her? Like most women, she sees the worst in herself physically, and I found it interesting to write from the vantage point of a character who has such a different life experience than I do. At the same time, although she's practical, she can find humor in almost any situation, which also appeals to me. Plus, she lusts after Gage, who is heaven on legs. So, she's smart.
NN: I can't wait to meet both characters. Which element of this story was hardest for you and why?
KSJ: Researching the police procedural aspect of the plot. When I started writing the story, I had no idea the cops were going to show up mid-way through the story. But there they were, and I had to stop writing merrily along and research what they would say and do. Research is always the stickler for me, because I get lost in it. I can research for days on a minor plot point. I don't know why. It's like I need to learn everything I can about a subject so I can toss 98% of that knowledge out the window and just keep what I need. Luckily, I have a good friend with a retired cop husband, so between the two of them and a call to the police department, I think--hope!--I got the cop scenes right.
NN: What do you wish you'd known before becoming published?
KSJ: That's a hard question to answer, because it took me so long to become published that I haven't really been surprised by anything that's happened to me on the published side of the fence. At least not so far. Remember what I said about research? Well, when I was unpublished, if my intent was to become published, then it made sense to me to learn as much about my craft and the industry as I could. I learned to develop a rhino hide about rejections. I learned to just keep soldiering on. That the only person who could stop me from achieving my writing dreams was myself. That I had to believe in myself even when it felt like only family members and critique partners believed in me--that no one in the publishing industry ever would. I strongly believe that persistence is half the battle in the publishing game, and considering somewhere along the way I forgot how to give up (honestly, I think I just grew too many stupid cells and forgot!!), clearly the belief in persistence helped me. It got to the point where, when I got rejections, my writing friends were more upset than I was. I just became very practical and stubborn about the whole thing. This business isn't for the faint-hearted. Don't give up. Believe in yourself. Strap on blinders and just keep improving your craft. And don't be afraid to try something new.
NN: Fantastic advice!! What's next for you?
KSJ: I have two more novellas coming from Red Sage Secrets! "Exes & Ahhhs" in Secrets Volume 26: Bound by Passion will appear in December 2008, and is about a bakery owner and her silent partner ex-lover. And I just sold "Kiss Me at Midnight," the story of two late-night L.A. talk show co-hosts, for a Secrets volume slated for 2009, although I don't know the month or volume number yet. I'm currently marketing an erotic single title, and I plan to write more erotic novellas in the New Year. I love writing for Secrets, and I hope to have a long and successful career with them. I also publish non-erotic romantic comedies under another name, and my work-in-progress is a single title romantic comedy/mystery I plan to market in the spring. So I'm keeping very busy!
NN: Wow, you are busy! And congratulations on the additional sales!! Thanks again, Kate, for being a guest here! We've enjoyed learning more about you and your stories.
Here is the book trailer video featuring all the stories in Secrets Volume 21, Primal Heat.
Kate's websites: http://www.katestjames.com/
“Go on,” you say, just dying to know what happens next.
But the storyteller says, “But you see, ten years ago…,” and he gives a ten minute discourse on something that happened in the past.
What happens to the avid listener? The storyteller has lost him. The listener is now drawn into the past. Will he be as rabidly entertained? Maybe.
But wait, we have to get back to the present, and the narrator pauses and begins again with the current crisis.
I just finished reading a terrific historical romance—super characterizations, descriptions, plotting, but a couple of times the author pulled me out of the current riveting story to reminisce about past life experiences.
In one of the passages, I was so disoriented by the shift, I had to flip back to where the flashback began to assure myself that it was a flashback. Did it add to the story?
Not for me.
I read a paranormal like that, too, where the story was going along great and then the author stops everything to reminisce about the past. Again in this instance, it didn’t add anything to the story as far as I was concerned. It was filler, boring, and a distraction.
Whenever possible, keep the story moving forward. Sure, it’s fine for the hero to think of the special moments he’d spent with the heroine the night before, or consider the grudge he’s held against his brother for the last hundred years.
But when a flashback turns into actual scenes with dialogue and action, is it really necessary to the story? Does it maybe force the reader out of the story too much? Will you lose some of your readers? Will they forgive you?
Move the story forward. Write in the present. Don’t force your reader to live in the past unless it’s absolutely necessary and adds to the story. Use them sparingly and when you do, don’t make them so long that the reader forgets this is not the current story, but a flashback to the past.
NN: Welcome Ellie! I'm glad you're here. Please tell us about your story "Heat."
NN: You're right, short fiction is really liberating. Thanks again for being here today, Ellie! To finish, do you have a question for blog readers?
EM: Yes. What breaths of fresh air might you like to see in the romance genre? What themes/topics/etc. do you think have grown stale?
Jody W. w/a Ellie Marvel
5 Beacons!!! (Lighthouse Literary Reviews)
5 Hearts!!! (Romance Studio)
4.5!!! (Romance Junkies) Winning the Highlander's Heart
Deceit, Intrigue, Romance in Medieval Scotland and England during the reign of King Henry I.
Determined to avoid King Henry I's randy advances, Lady Anice of Brecken attempts escape, wishing to find a Highlander to escort her home to her castle in Glen Affric where she will rule until she can find a laird worthy of her hand. Laird Malcolm MacNeill desires an English bride to improve his standing with those in power. But rescuing the Scottish lass from an escape attempt casts him into deadly political intrigue when the king sends Malcolm and his brothers to escort the lady home and investigate the disappearance of some of her staff. Now he must protect the king's ward without losing his heart to the willful lass, or he could very well earn His Majesty's wrath...and lose far more.
Excerpt from Winning the Highlander's Heart:
Later, the sound of men’s voices stirred him from his ragged sleep. For a moment, he lay muddle-headed trying to discern what it was he’d heard. Was it his brothers? Then they spoke again. He quickly sat up. ‘Twas not his brothers’ voices. Instantly, his body went on high alert.
Was it the owner of the croft then? If so, would he be angry to find they’d used his dry wood for the fire and used his blankets, too?
Malcolm covered Anice’s face with the blanket, then grabbed his damp trewes and shoved them on, when four men stepped out of the byre into the house.
They appeared to be knights, not a farmer and his family, bearded, wet, and bedraggled. The situation couldn’t be worse. “How now,” Malcolm said in greeting, but edged in the direction of his sword.
“We got caught in this storm and beg your charity, good man,” a black-haired man said, his voice dark, but attempting cheerfulness, his blue eyes icy. He pulled off his rain-soaked cloak, handed it to a stockier man, then glanced at the body buried underneath the blanket.
“Aye, there is a fire here to warm ye.” Malcolm motioned to the hearth, trying to be cordial, though he felt less than charitable if these were some of the baron’s men.
The other three men began to pull off their wet clothes, hanging them around the room to dry.
The first said, “If those are your horses in the byre, methinks you are not the owner of this farm.”
“Aye, the owner was not here when my wife and I came upon the place in the storm.”
“Wife?” The man’s thin lips turned up slightly, but his eyes remained hard. He cast another glance at Anice. “I am Baron Harold de Fountenot. You must be a knight to own such a fine horse, and the lady a daughter of a knight, perchance?”
Malcolm’s heartbeat pounded fiercely to hear that this was the very baron who wished to marry Anice. “Aye, Laird MacNeill.” But he couldn’t give away Anices’s identity. If they knew who she was, they’d kill him, just as they’d planned to do using their mercenaries earlier on their travels.
“We will take the place by the hearth,” the baron said, stripping out of his clothes.
The baron was shaking, undoubtedly cold to the bone like he and Anice had been. Too bad he wouldn’t die from a chill. Mayhap he would still. “My wife is still sick from the chill she had taken.”
The baron’s mouth turned up. “Then I will warm her. ‘Tis the only way, do you not agree?”
Malcolm grabbed his claymore. He would kill all of them if any laid a hand on Anice.
The men were half naked and trembling from the cold so hard, he assumed he could easily kill all three of them. A part of him wanted to, to protect Anice from this murderer. But how would he explain his actions to the king if he should act on his feelings? That he had killed the king’s first choice of a husband for Anice because the baron had found them bedded together naked?
Each year I celebrate Christmas, I rely less and less on the gift-giving aspect and more on the true meaning and majesty of the holiday. But as a child, I marveled at the presents tucked underneath my parents’ Christmas tree. After Thanksgiving, never before, our town hosted a lovely seasonal parade complete with marching bands, festive floats, prancing horses and a host of other lively participants. Mom or Grandma would go in search of the man selling balloons and purchase me one of the pretty helium-filled toys in the shape of a Christmas character. Bundled in boots, the wool or down-filled coat, scarf and mittens, I’d stand with my mom, dad, grandma, and aunt while watching the parade. Once Santa’s float passed, they’d take me to the place on or near the town’s square where Santa Claus held camp in his holiday house. Granted, I cried a couple years at being placed on his lap, but I always managed to convey a partial list of the toys on my wish list. Santa’s house also had a mail slot where we children could slip our letters to him and never have to worry about them getting lost in the seasonal shuffle. Of course, I’d count down the days until he was poised to make a trip down the chimney.
On Christmas Eve, usually sometime around eight in the evening, my parents would warn they heard sleigh bells in the distance and that it would be wise for me to head off to bed so he wouldn’t pass by our house. I’d enjoy a story read or told by Mom or Dad and then crawl under the covers. Sleep usually eluded me, but when the dreams came they often brought any number of happy images, and I later jotted them in my diary. Twinkling lights and tinsel on the family tree. The plates filled with various kinds of cookies Santa hadn’t sampled. Ice-cold glasses of milk for all. And you all have likely guessed I was up and about before dawn on Christmas day. I’d tiptoe into the living room and admire the stockings hanging from the mantel or dangling from the fireplace-iron stand. Somehow Mom always heard my first footsteps and appeared before I had a chance to shake any of the stockings’ contents to figure out what they contained prior to ripping off the wrapping paper. She’d carry the stockings over to the couch, turn on the Christmas tree lights and start perking the Christmas-morning coffee for Dad and herself. By this time, Dad was stirring and turning on more lights throughout the living room.
Photos from those Christmases past fill the family’s albums and make for wonderful journeys to the past on occasion. I have vivid memories of many of the presents Santa delivered, but my all-time favorite was my first bicycle. A gleaming cherry-red Schwinn with a cute basket between the handlebars and training wheels. My five-year-old heart filled with joy, and I had a hard time waiting until the sun came out to take a couple short turns around the driveway with my new bike. Then it was off to Grandma’s house for more fun, good cheer and Christmas dinner. Such was the wonderment of youth.
As snowflakes fly outside the den window, I wish you all the best and brightest for the holidays and beyond. Share with me your favorite Christmas present, whether or not it fit under the family Christmas tree.
Season’s greetings and steamy readings,
Shawna Moore http://www.grant-moore.com
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
How do you handle that first rejection and then all the others that follow after that?
Sometimes, champagne, chocolate, and a good cry help, but I’d be a blurry-eyed, six-hundred pound alcoholic at that rate.
So what else works?
How do you hold your head up high and send that rejected, maybe revised, manuscript back out there? And how do you get the courage to write another manuscript and another one after that, that may only have the same success as the first?
Perseverance is the key.
Think of a ship’s captain battling the enemy. His motto: Don’t give up the ship.
And we shouldn’t either...not if we feel as he does. Our cause is worthy. Right? Our writing is worthy. Correct? We want to be heard. So we persevere.
Rarely does anyone get published the first time they submit a manuscript. Sure it happens...but rarely. So we have to expect rejection. Write the best we can, perfect our craft, but accept that not all of our work will be lavishly praised by editors, clamoring to get their greedy hands on it.
So if drowning our sorrows with alcohol, chocolate, and tears doesn’t work, what else is there?
Research the market, find another place to send that manuscript and shoot it out there again. In the meantime, get to work on another manuscript, which should have been started after the last one was finished. Polish it up and send it out.
It’s easier to handle a rejection when you still have queries for other manuscripts out there.
What about a support group? Your husband, kids, parents, goldfish don’t understand you? Join a writer’s group or several. I have lots of critique partners and belong to a number of writing groups. When I feel down, I let some of them know. And guess what? They understand. They’ve been there, done that. But what’s best is they remind me of all the other famous authors who got rejected and rejected and rejected, too.
So what was their key to success? Did they quit? Did they give up the ship?
Form letter rejections are the worst. You haven’t any idea why they didn’t like this great story you pitched to them. I found out after the fact one publisher didn’t like espionage stories. Now if I’d found this obscure news before I sent my manuscript, I’d have saved myself a form letter rejection. Form letter rejections make you guess at why your story didn’t fit for them.
Then comes the self-doubting. My writing is so lousy all they can do is send me a form letter rejection. It doesn’t matter that the letter states you’re receiving it because there are so many submissions that’s all they can manage, or heaven forbid, close the door to unagented submissions. You just know your work is unloved.
There’s not a whole lot you can do about form letter rejections except keep them in a file so you don’t pitch the same story to the same editor by mistake and get another one of those form letter rejections. Or gloat over them when you’ve sold that “unsaleable” manuscript.
What about the personalized rejection? Now this is much better. Someone has taken the time to actually read your work and let you know why it doesn’t work for them. You can write the editor and ask if they’d like to see revisions based on their suggestions. They can say no, and thereby you receive another rejection, deepening the wound, or they can say yes and you revise your heart out. Again, you’re faced with the possibility of another rejection. Is it worth it? Sure. What if by some slim chance the revisions work and now in that editor’s eye, your work is saleable? You’ve got a contract.
Again, perseverance is the key.
It’s not to say there are days when the rejections just seem to pile up and take their toll on your sanity. One day I received a request for a full. For three days after that, I received rejections for other manuscripts. But that one request for a full made all the difference in the world to me. I could handle the rejections for a while. But the big blow came when the two fulls I had at one office both came back rejected from an editor who says she liked my writing style. So if I can’t get published by an editor who likes my writing, how can I get published by editors who won’t even bother to look at my writing?
Another editor said I had come so close to writing just what she wanted in two different manuscripts. Tell me what you want and I’ll make it perfect!
One day I received a call from Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks. She wanted to know if my HEART OF THE WOLF sold. No, not yet. Was the world I created unique? My first thought was—ack! She thinks it’s too farfetched. But yes, it is unique. She said she loved the premise and the characters, that she was a good way through the book, but she hadn’t finished reading it. Heart sinking, she hadn’t read the rest of the book. What if she hated it?
She called a couple of days later and loved it, but...
You notice how we have cliff hangers along the way even when we get THE CALL? First, we wait forever to get this call. Then the editor hasn’t finished reading the book so I still don’t know if she’ll like the book enough to want to buy it. Then she loves it... but, now she has to pitch it before a board. Will the board love it as much as Deb does?
Everything is crossed that they do!
A week passed. I thought, nope, they didn’t like it. I’d come sooo close. And then a couple of days later Deb calls. It’s got to be good. Otherwise she’d probably just send an email, right? Yep, she wanted the book. THEY wanted the book. This was THE CALL.
And now, HEART OF THE WOLF will be coming out on April 1, 2008... no April Fool’s!
No matter what, keep writing, revising, and submitting.
Shove those doubts out of the gray matter, think positively, research a different line, but whatever you do, keep sending those great works of art in and one of these days that SASE won’t be returned. You’ll get “The Call” instead.
Winning the Highlander's Heart, 5 Angels! 5 Beacons! 5 Hearts! 5 Ribbons!
The Vampire...In My Dreams, 5 Angels! 5+ Stars! 4.5 Ribbons!
Heart of the Wolf, Coming April 1, 2008
The Mummers' Dance
Huron 'Beltane' Fire Dance
The Mystic's Dream
The Lady of Shalott
I wanted to ask Terry a few questions so you can get to know her better.
VS: Welcome Terry!! When did you know you wanted to be an author?
TS: I've always loved to make up stories and took creative writing in Junior High School. But I first began to write children's stories when my kids were little. Then I went to adult paranormal and historical romances and then began to write young adult romances.
VS: What is your writing process or method?
TS: Seat of the pants!! I think of an opening scene between my hero and heroine, trying to make it as unique as possible. I think up what their goals are and the reason that they have to complete these goals. And then I just create scenes as I go. I never outline my characters or the rest of my plot. I never know who will be the bad guy until the end. :)
VS: I always find that so interesting! I've done that on a couple of books but find I can't anymore. What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?
TS: That even if one publishing house rejects, another can love it. Never give up on your writing. Never throw out old stories. Sometimes the market changes, or you can revise them until they're the next best seller! Believe in yourself and keep on writing! :)
VS: Great advice!! Thanks so much for joining our blog, Terry. It will be great fun having you here as a partner! Please visit Terry's website at http://www.terryspear.com/ to learn more about her and her books.
Check out this book video for one of Terry's books...
NN: Welcome, Larissa! I'm glad you're here. Please tell us about your story, "Wet Dreams" in Secrets Volume 21 which is out this month.
LI: Well, it’s the story of a federal agent who hates the water and can’t swim, who gets trapped on a boat in the ocean in the middle of a storm. Oh, and he’s been shot, and bad guys are in pursuit. Fun! *g* Here’s the blurb: Injured and on the run, DHS agent Brent Logan needs is a miracle. What he gets is Wet Dream, a sport-fishing boat owned by Marina Summers, whose fledgling business is now in jeopardy, thanks to Brent. Pursued by killers, ravaged by a fierce storm, and plagued by engine troubles, they can do little but spend their final hours immersed in sensual pleasure. But soon they discover that the danger they face on the high seas is nothing compared to the danger to their hearts…
NN: Sounds sexy and full of adventure. My favorite kind! What inspired this story?
LI: Well, I’ve always wanted to do a boat story, but I didn’t want it to be a “pleasure boat” story, if that makes sense. I also wanted to do something different and challenging for myself – I’d been writing mainly character-driven stories, and I wanted to try my hand at something more action-packed and plot-driven. So with the help of my Coast Guard husband, I came up with the story of a sport-fishing boat captain and ex-paramedic who wants to get her fledgling business off the ground, and a federal agent who wants to remain on dry ground. Neither gets their wish!
NN: You are also part of the writing team, Sydney Croft, aren't you? Is writing with a partner easier or more difficult than writing alone?
LI: Yes, I’m half of the Sydney Croft team. Stephanie Tyler is the other half, though we argue about who is the better half! *g* And for the most part, it is SO much easier to write with her than it is to write alone! There’s an energy there that doesn’t exist when writing alone. It’s so fun to play off what she writes, and usually, I have no idea what she’s going to write. We plot very, very loosely, and much of what happens during the course of the stories comes organically as the characters develop. I would say that the only drawback is that you’re at the mercy of another person’s schedule, and at the whims of the internet gremlins. Sometimes you can’t move ahead until you talk to your partner or until they’ve seen your scene or whatever, and if either one of you is having internet issues, you’re sort of screwed. That can be really hard.
NN: Interesting! I've always wondered how writing partnerships worked. How are the Sydney Croft books different from the books you write as Larissa Ione or your Secrets stories?
LI: Well, the Sydney novels are very erotic and very fast-paced with lots of action. They have a very science-fiction/superhero feel to them that just makes them fun. My Secrets stories are erotic, but not at the level of the Sydney books. Snowbound (Samhain) is the tamest book I’ve written, at a Harlequin Temptation/Blaze heat level, and is very much a character story. But my newest work, my Demonica series coming next summer from Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner,) is super dark, gritty, and paranormal – a departure from anything else I’ve done, but honestly, I think it’s my truest voice. I love to write sexy and dark. There’s a freedom there that I love. Again, these books aren’t at the erotic level that the Sydney novels are, though with heroes who are incubi (sexual demons) the plots are inherently sexy. Also, the Sydney Croft books have a military twist to them – many of the characters are ex-military, and the ACRO series centers around a super-secret, paranormal paramilitary organization. With all of the Larissa Ione books, you’ll find strong medical elements. In Flesh To Fantasy, from Secrets Volume 18, the hero is a paramedic. In Wet Dreams, from Volume 21, the heroine is an ex-paramedic who finds her way back. In Snowbound, the hero is an EMT/ski patroller. In the Demonica series, the action centers around a demon hospital, and the hero of the first book is a doctor, the hero of the second is a paramedic. So definitely, there’s a distinct difference between the Sydney Croft books and the Larissa Ione books.
NN: They all sound fascinating and extremely creative! Thanks for visiting with us today!
LI: Thank you so much for interviewing me, Nicole! It’s been fun, and I look forward to reading YOUR Secrets stories when they come out!
NN: Thank you, Larissa!!! Everyone, please visit Larissa's website at: http://www.larissaione.com/ My question for you blog readers today is... if you write, have you tried writing with a partner and how did that go? Or have you tried doing any type of creative project with a partner?
Snow has fallen and your senses are stirred at first breath as you step outside. Lampposts and lintels are festooned. Holiday finery decorates doors, windows, shrubs and lawns. Proud pines show off their tinsel and trimmings. You’re strolling along, perhaps singing a favorite Christmas carol and mulling over plans for the season. What Christmas tradition is observed by you and your family?
Blessings and all the best for the holidays and beyond,
Shawna Moore http://www.grant-moore.com/
Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/shawnamooreauthor
Helle’s Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/hellehawthorn
NN: Thanks for being a guest here at Fierce Romance, Cynthia! Please tell us about "New Year's Bites" in A RED HOT NEW YEAR which was released a few days ago.
CE: Sure, thanks for asking! New Year’s Bites is an erotic paranormal novella about, well, here’s the blurb:
While on her way to a New Year’s Eve party, Anna Summers is attacked and bitten by a large, wolf-like creature. She is saved by sexy security expert, Jon York. But Jon isn’t quite who he seems to be, and Anna… well, she’s starting to change. The quiet, good-girl she’d been before the bite disappears, and a wild, sensual, almost… animalistic woman takes her place. The hot lust that burns through her body every moment she’s around Jon soon flares out of control. Filled with new strength and passion, Anna begins to think she may be starting the best year of her life. Yet in the shadows, someone is stalking her—waiting for another sweet bite. For Anna, the New Year that began with a blaze of passion may burn out with the dangerous rise of the moon.
NN: Sounds hot! I love wolf shifters! Do you have a review you could share with us?
CE: Yes, Cherokee of Coffee Time Romance reviewed the book—actually she was the first person to give me a review. Here are a few lines from her review: "Cynthia Eden creates an intriguing read full of hot, steamy passion that brings out more than the animal. Anna and Jon inflame the pages while staying one step ahead of the obstacles that continue to get in their way. This story takes a bite and does not let go." The complete review may be read at: Coffee Time Romance
NN: You also have a Red Sage novella which will be out at the end of December. Please tell us about "Caged Wolf" in SECRETS, VOLUME 21: PRIMAL HEAT.
CE: “Caged Wolf” is the last installment in my Call of the Wolf trilogy for Red Sage, and this is the blurb for that story:
Alerac La Morte has been drugged, kidnapped, and taken to some hole in the wall far from civilization. To make matters worse, Alerac realizes that his captor, Madison Langley, is actually…his destined mate. Madison hates his kind–she blames Weres for the death of her father, and she wants vengeance. But when captor is turned captive, will Alerac be able to convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks, that wolves are true, and when they mate…it’s forever?
A real quick note… The first story in my Call of the Wolf trilogy was “Bite of the Wolf,” and it appeared in SECRETS, VOLUME 15. The second tale, “The Wolf’s Mate,” was published in SECRETS, VOLUME 18: DARK PASSIONS.
NN: Lots of wolf stories! I see I have a lot of reading to catch up on. How were you first inspired or motivated to write werewolf stories and what do you love most about writing them?
CE: I’ve always loved the werewolf legend—I particularly like the idea that there are men and women out there who have more than a bit of the beast within them. When I write about werewolves, I love being able to push physical, mental, and emotional limits with them—they are supernatural creatures, so anything is possible with them.
NN: What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?
CE: I learned to persevere. Rejections happen to everyone, they are just a fact of the writing life. You have to develop a very thick skin in this industry if you want to be successful.
NN: So true! Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
CE: Yes, read, a lot! Study your genre. Write from your heart. And do NOT let rejections get you down. Keep trying—keep honing your craft—and don’t ever give up.
NN: Great advice. What's next for you?
CE: In May of 2008, my first Kensington Brava novel will hit store shelves. I am very excited about the release of HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT (my tale about a psychiatrist who only treats paranormal patients and the wolf shifter that steals her heart).
I’ve actually just started work on a new paranormal novel—and by just started, I mean I’m on page 10! :-) But I sure do hope to get some fast and frantic writing done before the new year arrives.
NN: I hope you do too. Good luck with that new story! And I look forward to your Brava novel too. Thanks again for being here with us!
CE: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me! I had a great time answering your questions.
NN: Please visit Cynthia's site here Cynthia Eden. A question for you readers, if you're a fan of werewolf or wolf shape-shifters, what do you love most about them?
Intrigue Authors blog today. Go check out her post on bad boy heroes and find a yummy recipe too.
I also want to announce the winners of my November contest. I held drawings for both. The winner of my mailing list drawing was pamk258. She won two books. And the winner from a drawing of the blog postings is Veronica Wolff. She won a pair of handmade earrings. Congratulations ladies!!!
Please check out my newly redesigned website www.nicolenorth.com/
More information, including the first chapter, is available at –
Today I’m giving extra-special thanks and remembering the birthday of the most important person ever in my life. Had she not succumbed to cancer, my beloved mother would have turned eighty years old today. Her indomitable spirit in the face of a devastating disease is the reason I refuse to let life’s upheavals and unforeseen circumstances get me down. She fought the good fight and so do I, every single day. During her illness I tapped into my creative side and started writing a tender historical romance that has never been published. Each day for the remainder of her life I serialized this story for her. The 431-page novel wasn't completed until after her death, but I knew she remained at my side during the writing process, providing support as always. Memories from those times we spent together are some of my most precious. Mom was an avid reader of romance and women’s fiction. She read several category romances each week, and Western settings were among her favorites. This blog post is in honor of Mom, the woman whose guidance and encouragement of my love of the written word spurred me to embark on a writing career.
For years I’ve enjoyed reading tales of the Wild West and those rugged men who win hearts and wrangle their way out of the worst situations. While watching television one afternoon, I became inspired to write a Western historical erotic romance set in Tombstone. TAMING THE TEMPTRESS is a ribald tale that speaks to second chances at love and of never giving up hope. It’s all about rising above circumstances and realizing good things come to those who wait.
Nothing comes between Lorelei Pettigrew and her whip…until a handsome newspaperman from NY arrives on the scene with a story on his agenda and seduction on his mind.When a saloon siren, Lorelei Pettigrew, crosses paths with the latest handsome man to arrive in Tombstone, her passion knows no boundaries. James Melton, a newspaperman from New York, ventures to this sinful silver town looking for a story but finds romance and redemption instead. When Lorelei’s life is threatened, James vows to protect the spirited temptress and deliver her from harm. He’s always preferred dalliances to husbandly duty, but after a short time in Lorelei’s company, James’s mind and life change forever.
James and Lorelei are enchanting characters with well developed personalities. They are opposites in some ways and yet they complement each other very well. Their relationship progresses at a realistic pace. The way the emotional connection between them develops is fascinating to watch. The love scenes are hotter than a firecracker and left me breathless. The language used in the book is appropriate to the time period. The setting is nicely described and appropriate to the storyline.Ms. Moore has written a tale of love and lust in the old West that I enjoyed greatly. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Western style romance with detailed love scenes. Taming the Temptress is most definitely a keeper!" - Susan White, Coffee Time Romance.
"Lorelei is a remarkably written character. Her emotions are genuine and really pull at the reader’s heartstrings. I'm not sure I have ever read a romance where the heroine is really a prostitute. But, although Lorelei manages to avoid sleeping with some patrons, she definitely does have sex for money. James expects the worst of Lorelei because of what she does for a living. Likewise, Lorelei thinks James will be like every other man she’s known and walk away after he gets what he wants. They each have to earn the other’s trust. Ms. Moore has penned a brilliant combination of Western romance and erotica. Taming the Temptress is a gritty, erotic romance that doesn’t candy-coat the harsh reality of life for some women in the old West. I highly recommend this touching, yet very erotic love story." - Reviewed by Shelley, Fallen Angel Reviews.
"Taming the Temptress is a poignant novel. From the moment James sets eyes on Lorelei we see her as a most strong woman, full of spirit and determination. Men have treated her badly in her years but she maintains her strength the best she can. James admires that she has been able to keep her sweetness. He is there to get a story for his newspaper but he cannot fight the strong urges that he begins having for Lorelei. Ms. Moore illustrates a picturesque life of what it was like in the Old West with hard times and what impact it played upon the woman as she was made to feel as a possession or a section of property. The characters are quite believable and the dialogue superb. Ms. Moore has depicted Lorelei with courage, tender emotions and a powerful resolution that melts the heartstrings. I enjoyed reading about James and Lorelei as their love for each other allowed them to earn each other's trust." -- 5 Hearts, Linda,
For the month of December, I’m a Featured Author at The Romance Studio Blue, and you can read more about my novel, TAMING THE TEMPTRESS.
Access my Feature Author interview at –
An excerpt and more reviews are a click away at –
Wishing you all health and happiness for the holiday season,
Shawna Moore http://www.grant-moore.com/
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
VS: Hi Judith, welcome and congratulations on the release of your book!! Lovely cover! Please tell us about A Perfect Affair.
JG: This is a heart-touching story full of hope and new beginnings. After losing her father ten months ago, divorcee Katherine Cahill goes back home to Houston and fights to return the joy of Christmas to her mother and young son. At the same time she secretly battles two men, her two-timing ex-husband who blackmails her, and a growing attraction to a Texas attorney hell-bent on sharing his bed with her, but not his heart.
Jared Randall swore he would never get involved with another divorced woman after the fiasco when his fiancee returned to her ex. Then he made two colossal mistakes--rescuing ice princess Katherine Cahill from her mother's roof and playing Santa. His cobwebby Santa brows get him in trouble, thanks to his promise to Katherine's young son.
VS: Sounds both fun and emotional. Having read some of your manuscripts in the past, I know it will be awesome! What inspired you to write this story?
JG: Katherine, the heroine, was inspired by two people I knew who went through very bitter divorces, often dangerous for them. I wanted to write about a heroine who would take on her ex-husband when he attempted to blackmail her and would cleverly turn the tables on him, even adding a taste of revenge, a la Katherine's way. Readers and reviewers have said they absolutely love the revenge scene and high five Katherine's audacity. It's an, "I-wish-I-had-thought-of-that moment."
VS: Nice!! Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.
JG: Jared, because you can't help falling for a man who tells a grinning five-year-old Matt, "I bet your dad will be proud," sees the boy's demeanor change, the anger and sadness in Matt's eyes, and cares enough to put happiness back into his life. Poor Jared, no matter which way he turns he steps in it. He has to learn he can't play Superman with Katherine, jump to solve her problems, but learn when to help and when to stand back, even if she's in danger, and trust Katherine to find a way to whip-butt.
VS: He sounds like a true hero. Do you have any advice for unpublished writers?
JG: The difference between a published and unpublished author is perseverance. Don't give up. Per Olin Miller, "Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators." If you don't already know this, the costs of PROMO/Marketing is the responsibility of the author, so expect to shell out money to build a readership. One of the things you should concentrate on is writing faster and still maintaining the quality. Set daily goals, whether it's words or pages, and keep tract of your actual daily output. How long does it take you to produce a novel? You need to know how fast you can produce a novel when you get published because you'll be selling on proposals and giving your editor the date you'll deliver the complete novel.
VS: Would you like to ask blog readers a question?
JG: I'm hoping The Wild Rose Press will also give me a contract on another orphan of mine: Blood Hunt: The Legend by J Gilbert, the darker side of Judith, so I can get the other three books in the Blood Hunt series out for my readers. The Legend has witches, vampires, shapeshifters, FBI and the Army to contend with. The second book has the addition of a Demon from Hell. Think of your worse nightmare. If you had the power to pick a name for this Demon from Hell, what would it be?
VS: Great question! And I definitely hope TWRP offers you a contract for Blood Hunt: The Legend. I have read most of this story in the critique group, folks, and it is fantastic! Thanks again for being a guest here. Please visit Judith Gilbert's website at: www.authorjudithgilbert.com
NN: Congratulations on the release of your new novella and thank you for being here! What a beautiful cover! Please tell us about ALL WORK AND NO PLAY.
LD: Julie Preston worked hard raising her younger sister Emily after their parents died, and creating a career. She gave up simple pleasures like love and relationships. So when a friend drags her to a singles bar, Julie’s ready for anything. She meets a gorgeous guy and they spend several passionate hours together. There’s real chemistry there, but Julie regretfully sticks to her promise: a one-night stand, no strings.
When Julie hires a tutor to help Emily pass English, she’s shocked to find he’s the man from the bar. Seeing him in her house makes it hard to keep her hands off him, but he isn't looking for a long-term relationship since he’s a singles bar patron. Right? How many miles can Julie jog before she gives in and jumps him?
NN: Sounds hot!! Please tell us how you use the Tarot in your writing.
LD: ALL WORK AND NO PLAY is a story in Ellora's Cave "Torrid Tarot" series. In my story, Julie's friend Tanya is a Tarot aficionado and constantly compares Tanya to various cards; most recently, the Eight of Pentacles. As the title suggests, this is the card of "all work and no play," and Tanya thinks Julie needs to loosen up and enjoy her life. Julie strives, throughout the story, to be more like the free-spirited High Priestess, who goes by her instincts instead of the "rules" of life.
I also sometimes use Tarot to develop characters, plot lines or scenes in my stories. If I want to get to know my main character, I draw a card for him or her to see what his or her major personality trait is. I then turn over a few more for other traits. I do something similar with plot lines, or sometimes will lay out an entire spread, such as the Celtic Cross spread or a yearly 12-card spread. Tarot can give you lots of interesting ideas you might not come up with on your own; at the least, it will get your imagination working.
NN: That's so intriguing! Maybe I need a Tarot deck. What element of this story was hardest for you?
LD: Writing a love scene between two people who had just met was tough. I wanted the scene to be romantic and tender, and believable. I wanted the reader to feel, "If I were in that situation, I would make that same decision." And naturally, I wanted the reader to fall in love with the hero, just like the heroine. ;-)
NN: Absolutely! And I'm sure they will. Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
LD: Perseverance is the most important trait of a writer who moves from unpublished to published. Never say die! Read everything you can get your hands on, not just for pleasure, but for ideas on what works and what doesn't. Study and improve your technical skills, i.e., grammar, spelling and punctuation. Work with a critique partner or group who can spot errors you might miss. And finally, perseverance. :-)
NN: Great advice! Do you have a question you'd like to ask blog readers?
LD: I'd love to know what are your favorite paranormal elements in paranormal romances you read. Do you like to read about ordinary characters with psychic abilities like reading Tarot, crystal ball, palms or crystals? How about people who can sense and communicate with ghosts or supernatural beings? Or do you prefer stories about supernatural beings themselves, i.e. vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches? Tell me what you'd like to read next!
NN: Thanks again for being here Lila! Everyone, please visit her site at: http://www.liladupres.com/
I interviewed her on a previous post about her latest book and enjoyed reading all her responses. But I had a few more questions for her so you could get to know her better...
NN: Shawna, when did you know you wanted to be an author?
SM: Ever since childhood, I've enjoyed creating enchanting worlds and imaginary characters, As an only child this proved such fun and presented endless possibilities. My first skit was performed in the family's living room in front of an assortment of stuffed animals and Barbie dolls. They proved quite a patient and captive audience :) More toys served in starring roles, and I provided the voice-overs. Family and friends were treated to other performances, and my parents always encouraged my creativity. Long before I started Kindergarten I discovered a favorite pastime in reading. Mom bought me several books each week and we also visited the local library each Saturday. She and Dad also told me stories every night at bedtime for many years. Mom's love of reading introduced me to the beauty and miracle of the written word. Before the completion of my first novel--a historical romance which is unpublished--she succumbed to terminal lung cancer. But we shared so many wonderful moments during her illness. I treasure those moments more than anything else. Each day I serialized the completed portions of the historical romance for her. She adored reading romance fiction and I also embrace the genre.
For as long as I can remember, I've jotted stories and musings in tablets, diaries and a variety of other media. By the time I reached junior-high school, one of my dreams was of someday becoming a published author. During my high school years I served as Editor and Features Editor of the school newspapers and won several writing competitions. Though I worked in medical offices in a variety of capacities after college graduation, I always longed for a chance to write that first book. After 15 years of working outside the home, I was blessed with an opportunity to devote myself full-time to the writing career, and I've completed and published multiple novels, novellas and short stories during that time.
NN: That's fascinating. In your writing, what inspires you? What motivates you?
SM: Life and love inspire me. I'm an avid observer of my surroundings and the people with whom I come into contact. Immersing myself in the beauty of nature. Strolling local malls where the scents of coffee shops, chocolatiers, and leather-goods stores stir my senses and spur my creativity. Listening to conversations of those around me. Seeing the wonderment in childrens' eyes and the bloom on their cheeks as they sit on Santa's lap or listen as a story is told. Indulging in delicious food and taking time to savor every bite. Watching the orchestrated dances of lovers as they pass.
I've always been a self-motived person. My love of and enjoyment derived from what I do keep me motivated, along with the strong sense of accomplishment when a task is completed. For at least five days a week, for eight to ten hours, I concentrate on my writing, editing, plotting and promotional activities. Nothing short of an emergency will find me deviating from that schedule. I take my writing job as seriously as those jobs I held outside the home when I worked in the corporate world. My timeclock is an imaginary one, and I allow time for breaks and aerobic walks when necessary or desired. I do everything possible to meet daily goals, knowing life sometimes interrupts. The following day, or as soon as possible, I make up for the lost time.
NN: Whatever you're taking, I want some! :-) What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?
SM: There are several related lessons, but here's the primary one--the only element of my writing career over which I have control is the writing process.
I must defer to other elements beyond my control. Publishing is a challenging, subjective and competitive business. There are so many talented writers and only so many openings in publishing schedules. Timing of submissions can play a major role in making a book sale. The American and global economy impact sales. Lines close or fold into others at a publishing house. So many other variables. But writing is a pleasurable pursuit--one I wouldn't trade for any other.