Sinful Saturday & a Contest
Hmm, in Heart of the Wolf, one of the villains is a wild game hunter and his house was full of animal skins. But the hero was searching his place for clues as to whether the guy is a cold-blooded killer or not. So here Devlyn is, reading through emails on the guy's computer to see if he was connected to the murders or not.

It's fun taking a picture and describing a scene that was in your book, or using a picture to help describe a scene. I did that with a palatial farm in Heart of the Wolf that was for sale in Oregon so I'd get it right as far as the number of barns a big farm might have, cattle, etc. :)

I wanted to share a pictue that my Rebel Romance Critique partners have stashed away in the photo album--hunky Car Wash Guys. They know how to do it right. Keep the clothes from getting dirty--wash without. Hmm-hmm. :) So here's the version instead of Car Wash guy after he finished washing the car, minus the rest of the hunky picture. And I'm not talking about the souped up red sports car either!!


Have a super Saturday and check out my contest at Deadly Vixens!
Terry Spear
Heart of the Wolf
The Vampire...In My Dreams (coming Aug 26!)
Rocky Mountain High
To continue our discussion of settings this week, I have a question. Do you have to visit a place before you can set your story there?

I have an Intrigue coming out in '09 (and possibly two more as part of a series about three brothers) that is set in southern Colorado. The mountains, the ringed-in valleys, the wildflowers, the waterfalls. Right? I'm not quite sure because I've never been there.

Don't get me wrong, I did my research on the Internet. I looked up flora and fauna and temperatures and distances between certain cities. I researched the Indian tribes in southern Colorado, and looked up dude ranches and other activities. I'm pretty certain I didn't make any blunders (like having perfectly sane people lying out on the beach in their bathing suits in Carmel, CA - not done, too cold). But I'm wondering if I missed the essence of southern Colorado. You know, those little things that natives take for granted and visitors can discover on their own.








On the plus side, when you don't actually know a location intimately, you don't get bogged down in the details that only locals would find interesting. I set one of my first books (as yet unpublished) in L.A., a city I've been living in for many years and know very well. I couldn't wait to load the book with all the streets and places and quirks of L.A. Later I realized those details slowed down the pace of the book (another Intrigue where the pace must be fast).


I plan to visit southern Colorado in the near future. Hopefully, before I finish the two books in the CO series. In the meantime, I must rely on my Internet research, beautiful pictures like the ones here, and kind friends.


So what do you think? Do you need to visit your book's setting? Have you ever set a book in a particular location and then visited it later only to discover you were way off?

Melissa Mayhue bares the Soul of a Highlander
I'm thrilled that we again have Melissa Mayhue visiting with us to tell us about her newest book, just released a few days ago! Welcome, Melissa! Please tell us about Soul of a Highlander.

Melissa: Soul of a Highlander picks up almost eight months after the end of Highland Guardian. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Nine years ago, Faerie Magic saved Mairi MacKiernan at the cost of her dreams of happiness, snatching her from her life in 1272 and depositing her in the twenty-first century. Now she must save the last Daughter of the MacKiernan family…who was murdered in 1295. Transported back in time, Mairi finds herself captured by the same evil men as before! Is this the price the Faerie Magic requires of her this time?

Ramos Servans has dedicated his dreams to service as a Guardian, but when he discovers the evil unleashed on the Mortal Plain by his father and their people, he swears he will atone by ridding the world of Nuadian deceit. Part of his mission involves rescuing a lovely Highland lassie, and in the passion that grows between them, Ramos and Mairi find a new dream.

But falling in love can be dangerous when Faerie Magic is involved. Dreams may not be the only cost…

Vonda: Sounds wonderful! What inspired this story idea?

Melissa: As I considered Mairi’s plight at the end of Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband, I knew I needed to tell her story. Bringing back some of the original characters – and introducing some new ones – just seemed a natural next step in the series. Both Mairi and Ramos had huge issues with having been betrayed by a family member they trusted. It made them a perfect fit for one another.

Vonda: What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?

Melissa: That’s a really good question…but honestly, I didn’t know much at all before I made my first sale! I was blundering along on blind instinct. I can tell you now the two most important things I did that made that sale possible…in spite of my not knowing anything at the time!!!
1 – Finish the book. Write the book that’s in your heart, no matter what other people tell you about what you can and can’t do. If it’s a good story, there will be a home for it.
2 – Network. Join professional writing groups and never, ever miss an opportunity to tell someone about your book!!

Vonda: Great advice! What is your writing process or method?

Melissa: The first thing I do is decide who my hero and heroine are and I get a mental picture of them in my head. I need to know the basics about their personality and what problem they’re going to face. Then I set down at my keyboard and go to work.

And before anyone asks… :-) … No, I don’t actually plot. I know more or less what the overall challenge will be, and I know my hero and heroine are going to end up with their Happy Ever After, but the rest pretty much comes as I write it. The further I get into the story, the more I know about what is going to happen next.

Vonda: What’s next for you?

Melissa: I’m currently working on edits for the fourth book in the series, A Highlander of Her Own. The heroine is a brand new character, but the hero shows up for the first time in Soul of a Highlander. And I really like them both. You can be looking for that book in January/February 2009.

Just before I got the edits to work on, I had started Book Five. It doesn’t have a name yet and won’t be a time travel, but it will be similar in tone to Highland Guardian, giving the readers another helping of the Fae and the Nuadians. It will be Jesse’s book, for those readers who might be wondering. :-)

And for anyone who is waiting for more time travels out of the series…never fear! We’ll be going back to Thirteenth Century Scotland with Books Six and Seven. [No… they aren’t plotted yet. :-) But I do know who the lead characters will be in those two books].

Vonda: Congratulations on those additional sales! Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

Melissa: I always want to know what readers think of the stories and the characters!! :-) And if they have a favorite character or story. Most of all, I’d like to encourage them to drop by my website. http://www.melissamayhue.com/ It’s constantly evolving now, so new pieces are being added – even as we speak! :-) There will be a section that allows me to update readers on what I’m currently working on and on what is planned for the future of the Series.

My webmistress is also working on attaching something [I am so not technical] that will allow visitors to leave a question or comment and me to answer it right there! We hope to have that up in the next month or so.

Also, don’t ever hesitate to drop me an email. I’m open to questions or simply to hearing your thoughts! I love to visit with readers!

And, of course, I couldn’t end this without saying how very much I appreciate your taking the time to do this interview, Vonda, and allowing me the opportunity to ‘chat’ with all the readers of Fierce Romance!

Vonda: Thank YOU Melissa! I always enjoy interviewing you and learning about your books! I can't wait to buy this one.

Click here to buy the book.
Are You There Yet? -- Setting a Story


Why do we read works of fiction in our spare time? Two reasons are for pleasure and for escapism. A novel is comprised of many parts. There are the characters, a literary cast of leading and supporting folks whose journeys, loves, losses and conflicts we eagerly anticipate. If one were dissecting a story, the plot would serve as the framework around which a story is constructed. Another aspect of story is the tone conveyed, and this runs the gamut from upbeat to angst-ridden. Today my focus isn’t on the people, conflicts or tones that comprise a story but rather on the place. Setting is the story element that grants us escapism and fantastic fictional voyages. Allows us to have the sense of being there with the characters and experiencing their surroundings.

My favorite reason for writing historical and paranormal romance deals with setting. The fact I have a chance to recreate bygone eras and create otherworlds is extremely satisfying and often finds me staying up late as my mind sifts through the creative possibilities.




Of all the wonderful and interesting places to set a fiction novel, New Orleans ranks as my favorite. Each time my husband and I have visited the Crescent City, I’ve filled steno tablets with notes referencing the glorious architectural feats and historical details. What visit to this Louisiana getaway is complete without a ride on the St. Charles streetcar? From the moment we stepped out of the front entrance of The Pontchartrain Hotel, the melodic bell’s clang-clanging filled the air. While day-tripping, we soaked up the lively atmosphere on Bourbon Street, visited Voodoo shops and the tomb of Madame Laveau. Simply standing there in St. Louis Cemetery #1 evoked a sense of spirit—not only of those past but also of the indomitable spirits once possessed by those who lay in eternal rest. As a result of our last visit to the cemetery, the idea for my upcoming historical erotic romance, TORMENTED, came to mind. One evening found us strolling parts of the vibrant city and learning about the macabre Madame Dephine LaLaurie and some of the more sinister souls who once lived there. The following afternoon, for a truly breathtaking experience, we ventured into The Garden District and admired the Queen Anne Victorian, Italianate and Greek Revival mansions. Massive oaks stretched their wooden arms toward the sky, and their plentiful leaves whispered at us in passing. Yards bloomed with crape myrtle and magnolia, and fresh-mowed grass filled the air with its crisp-green perfume. Of course, all of our outdoor activities sparked an appetite. The Vieux Carré has always amazed and satisfied us with its fantastic cuisine. Mornings found us browsing the French Market and stopping by Café Du Monde on Decatur Street for delicious cups of café au lait and mouthwatering beignets. Whether you enjoy a muffuletta or some crawfish etoufee for lunch, be certain to save room for some of the cuisine available once the sun heads toward setting. Hearty buffets at the Court of Two Sisters (enjoy their Jazz Brunch on Sundays) or sumptuous steak dinners and Banana’s Foster at Brennan’s. And if you happen to have a craving for sweets and other delectable fare, dine at The Cheesecake Bistro. In the evenings, we walked along Magazine Street or enjoyed a carriage ride through the city.



A winsome Boston socialite—Eve Morneau—falls victim to a venomous beetle’s bite. Her healing and sexual awakening are placed in the hands of a New Orleans physician, Charles Galletiére, whose unconventional means of curing her malady lend themselves to unbridled passion and abandonment of her former ways of life. Immortality comes at a cost to the innocent woman, and her Christian soul might be left hanging in the balance.

As I type this message in a town quite far away from New Orleans, my desire is piqued to return to the delta and place that has served as a setting for several of my novels, some of which are unpublished. Here’s to you all having many journeys to fabulous places and exotic worlds over the course of your traveling and reading lives. As they say, Laissez les bon temps rouler…Let the good times roll.


Wishing you all many happy reading moments,


Shawna Moore
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED -- Coming soon to Ellora's Cave

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace
Settings in Stories!
Next week we're supposed to talk about settings in stories, but I wanted to jump into the topic today. Right now, I'm in the middle of trying to get my house ready to sell, and I've had one trouble after another. Two weeks of trying to get a painter to paint my garage--I've painted the rest of the house on my own, thank the heavens, or it would be ten years before the house was ready. But I go out to check on what the guy has done, professional painters with professional prices--cracks not plastered over, holes not plastered over, and the worst? Peeling paint just painted right over!! I could have done that! And not paid a fortune for it. But the thing is, I wouldn't have done that.



So how does this relate to setting? I would rather be in a different setting right now!!! In another world, just about anywhere. So I've been working on a winter wonderland for my fourth wolf book, Allure of the Wolf, and it's a challenge, but it's a nice break from painting woes!


It can be difficult to write about a place you've never been, but as a writer, it's fun learning new things and taking on the challenge. So, I take all the experiences I've had living through snowy winter storms in Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorado, Maryland, and even St Louis, and ski trips to Colorado, New Mexico, NY, and Pennsylvania, and then do tons of research.


I've learned so much about the Canadian Arctic and it sounds like a fun place to visit, though I'm more of a tropical paradise kind of person, but no wolves in the tropics.


So where would you like to go if you wanted to get away from it all and money was no object?



Terry Spear
Heart of the Wolf, Don't Cry Wolf
www.terryspear.com
New Cover from a Fiction Writer?
I'm very excited to share my new Intrigue cover with you. A Doctor-Nurse Encounter will be an August release, although it's available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online for pre-order.

I also want to share an annoyance with you that occurred around my participation in a library event. I live in a small town plopped in the middle of L.A. if you can imagine that. We have a little local newspaper, so when my first Intrigue came out in Dec. and I had a book signing at our local Borders, I put the event in our newspaper.

About a month after the event, a librarian contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in participating in the Author Fair the library has in June every year. I jumped at the chance, had a nice chat with the librarian, and sent her a copy of The Stranger and I, my Dec. Intrigue release.

I just got the flyer for the event, and my name is listed there as a...fiction writer! Huh? Sure I write fiction, but I'm a Romance writer first. Why wouldn't the library put that?

Last year before I was published, I picked up the flyer for this same event in the library. I showed it to the librarian when I checked out my books and asked why there were no Romance writers. She wrinkled her nose and proclaimed, "Oh, I don't read that stuff." Did I ask her if she read Romance? I replied with stunning cool, "Well, I write that stuff." She became very flustered and suggested that I participate next year. So I was excited this year about being part of the event as a Romance writer, and they have to ruin it by calling me a fiction writer!

Do you think the library might be embarrassed to have a Romance writer at their event? I don't know, but I think a lot of people in my town read Romance and would be a lot more interested in meeting a Romance writer than an author of a wedding planning book. I'm just sayin'. There are going to be a lot of "fiction" writers at this event. I wonder what they REALLY write. I'm going to sneak into the library with a Sharpie, find the flyers, and correct my genre!

Do you think I'm justifiably annoyed?
Never Too Sick for LOLcats!
Hey Fierce Friends! This isn't going to exactly be a blog this week, because unfortunately I have the flu and am really not feeling too great. So instead of a blog, I thought I'd share one of my hobbies with you -- I create LOLcats and other LOLanimals on http://www.icanhazcheezburger.com/. Here are a few that I've created over the last few months. I hope you enjoy them and they brighten your day! Check out the website for a lot of fun! I'll be back next week with a real blog.

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Visit me at http://www.tessmallorybooks.com/ or www.myspace.com/tessmallory
Hiking trip photos
This past weekend my husband and I went on a little hiking excursion. We didn't have to drive far to reach the start of the trail. It wound down through dark woods to a small river that flows over beautiful primordial looking rocks. The clear water tumbled down small waterfalls. Rain sprinkled but we had rain jackets and I had an umbrella. Yeah, I'm a genuine hiker, carrying an umbrella.






Wild roses in full bloom grew along the path and the scent was amazing. It mixed nicely with the smell of pine needle and moldering leaves. Rock cliffs stretched up toward the sky on one side, carved by the water over millennia.




Other wildflowers grew near the water. Trout jumped from the surface a few times. Mist enshrouded the cliffs in the distance on the opposite side. We even found trees half cut down by beavers.






A Protagonist Out of the Pond



In fiction, we’ve all read the theme based on “a fish out of water”. This has always been one of my favorites. Whether Gulliver or Dorothy, or any hero thrust into new world in a quest for justice or self-preservation, we enjoy turning the pages to see how these characters fare. We cheer them toward victory and a positive and/or romantic ending. Instead of a fish out of water, my theme will be a protagonist out of the pond. My upcoming novel with Ellora’s Cave, TORMENTED, deals with such a heroine and her dilemma.

Blurb:

A winsome Boston socialite—Eve Morneau—falls victim to a venomous beetle’s bite. Her healing and sexual awakening are placed in the hands of a New Orleans physician, Charles Galletiére, whose unconventional means of curing her malady lend themselves to unbridled passion and abandonment of her former ways of life. Immortality comes at a cost to the innocent woman, and her Christian soul might be left hanging in the balance.

Eve is left no choice in her new-world matter. Charles claims he is the only one who can save her from death. Time is of essence. If she leaves New Orleans and returns to Boston, her body will not bear the brunt of her injury. But her trust in Charles comes with a price. While she is an educated woman, the lessons she’s taught many are far different than the ones she will learn from the handsome doctor. She is soon dealt the harsh reality that society life as she once knew it might cease to exist. Eve is propelled toward a point of no return. Fascination battles with fear. Temptation spars with timidity. Which will win?

As a writer and reader, I enjoy following the central characters into these uncharted waters. Seeing how they remain afloat. Sharing their emotions as they are thrust into settings and situations beyond their control.

What about you, readers? What is your favorite literary theme?


Wishing you many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
TORMENTED – Coming soon to Ellora’s Cae
Shawna’s Myspace
Helle’s Myspace
Hunky Cowboys!
I loved 310 to Yuma and stories like it and was hoping Westerns were on the return...
After painting 10 doors and fifteen door frames, mowing an acre, moving dirt, and weedeating today, I was ready to hire a cowboy to take over all those jobs and more...

We even have room to put up his pony! :)

I'd even provide the tub for a hot soak!
Sigh, I hope Westerns are coming back--the cowpokes at least! :)
Terry Spear
Heart of the Wolf


The Wild Wild West
What is it about Western settings that are so popular? Being a California girl, I never understood it when people called Colorado or Wyoming or Montana the West. As I stared at a map of the United States, only California looked "West" to me. But as I learned more about history and as I help my 4th grader with his California history class, I understand the concept of "out West" to someone on the East coast or even the Midwest. And it seems as if it's more of a state of mind than a place.


After the Pilgrims and early settlers built their towns and cities and established their governments and laws, they turned their eyes to the West. "Go West, Young Man." "Manifest Destiny." This was the chorus of the early 1800's, and after John Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Fort in 1848, a new chorus resounded - "Gold Rush!" When you think about what it took the pioneers to make it out West, it speaks volumes about their character and fortitude - six months across plains, rivers, canyons, and deserts with the occasional Indian attack. And they had to cross the Sierra Nevadas before the snow came, and if they didn't, they'd wind up like the Donner Party. Or if they had a little more money, they could sail down the East coast and around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, and head north through the Pacific along the West Coast of South America. Another long and dangerous trip.



I think the West has always stirred up images of adventure, lawlessness, hard, uncompromising men and harder women. It makes for a great setting and great characters! Did you ever watch the fantastic HBO show Deadwood (with Keith Carradine as Wild Bill Hickok)? There's something powerful and attractive about a "man of few words" (at least in fiction - in real life they can drive you nuts!). There's something so sexy about a pair of tight blue jeans, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat (the first time I saw Dwight Yoakum without all those things, I nearly fell off my chair - LOL).




So whether a story is set in the Old West or in the contemporary West, it makes for a special kind of setting, populated by special kinds of characters.

Sex scenes and Cowboys - or - How To Get Your Attention Without Really Trying

When I was eleven years old, for some reason I started watching a lot of western movies late at night with my mom. Soon, not only was I a big John Wayne fan, I was in love with Blue and Manolito on the TV show, High Chapperal. Oh, how I used to imagine myself out in Arizona, on that cactus strewn ranch, riding along side either one of my favorite guys! And of course, because I was a four-eyed book geek, that burgeoning love for westerns morphed naturally over into my first love – reading. On a trip to the library one day I discovered Zane Grey, one of the first popular western authors, and I was a goner. I read everything he wrote, I think, before moving on to become a history nut.

Now, what I couldn’t understand about Zane Grey’s books at the time, was that a lot of the words he used seemed to have some letters missing. I don’t know if this was standard for his books, or if somehow I had stumbled across a specially edited line of his popular westerns, but it made for some interesting reading for a naïve 11 year old.
Here's an example:

“D _ _ n it, Joe,” Black Jack Bishop said, “tie up that sh _ _-_ _ _ ed jack_ _ _.”

I spent a lotta lotta time trying to figure out what those left out letters spelled out. Finally I gave up and just skipped those words, piecing together the stories of cowboys and gunslingers, stagecoach robbers and prairie women done wrong. The next year I even tried my hand at writing a western myself. My heroes were named Billy John and Seth, and I’ll never forget the thrill I felt as I wrote the opening sentence:

“Somewhere in North Texas beside the Brazos River, Seth Davis swung down off his paint pony and dragged his hand through his tousled sun-bleached hair.”

In retrospect, that was the beginning of my desire to become a writer. I only wrote four chapters of that book—I still have it somewhere in a folder—but the love I felt for the two main characters has never waned. Maybe I’ll write it someday.

As I was thinking about this today, with westerns being one of our blog options for the week, I realized something very important--a way the memory of my love for all things western could help me in my writing! You see, as a romance author, the hardest parts (ahem) to write, for me, are usually the love scenes. So what if I stole a page from Mr. Zane Grey’s book? It might go a little something like this:

“Oh, Jack,” Lily said breathlessly as he slid his hand upward to touch her n _ _ _ _ _ _e. “I never dreamed you felt this way about me.”

Jack caressed the side of her neck with his lips, then groaned as she touched his throbbing m _ _ _ _ _. “You’re killing me, love,” he whispered.

Lily had never felt so powerful. She s_ _ _ked his _ _ _s and then lowered her mouth to his iron hard pe_ _.

Well, I think you get the idea. (Don't blush! I might have fooled ya, pardners. What dirty minds you folks have! You might be surprised at how easy it is to imply something slightly wicked with just with a few empty spaces! See the real words that go in the spaces at the end of this blog!)

Okay, in spite of my kidding around, those tall, tanned, cowboys with their lean, hard muscles and five o’clock shadows are still one of my personal three top hero-types in romances. The lineup?

1. Highlanders (of course!)
2. Cowboys
3. Spies

More on these bad boys in another blog, but for now I leave you with the mental image of John Wayne holding that newborn baby in “3 Godfathers”. Now there was a hero!

The answer to my Zane Grey romance scene:

“Oh, Jack,” Lily said breathlessly as he slid his hand upward to touch her necklace. “I never dreamed you felt this way about me.”

Jack caressed the side of her neck with his lips, then groaned as she touched his throbbing muscles. “You’re killing me, love,” he whispered.

Lily had never felt so powerful. She stroked his jaws and then lowered her mouth to his iron hard pecs.

And here's my LOLcat for you for the day--Enjoy and have a good one!

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The Western Highlands of Scotland

One of my favorite places to set a story is the western and northern Highlands of Scotland. This, to me, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is rugged and harsh country. The mostly bare mountains of rock jut up from the boggy, wet landscape. In summer some of the mountains are covered in the most vivid green vegetation. I couldn't say what the plant is but when the sun shines on it, the green is so bright and velvety it is almost blinding. (above: Glen Coe) In other areas, heather cloaks the mountains and hills and in mid-summer turns bright pinkish-purple. The air here is fresh, cool and clean. Lochs, small and large, dot the landscape. The peat that forms the bogs turns the water naturally brown which creates dark lochs that reflect the dramatic sky.

The sky seems a part of the landscape. The clouds drift down and caress the mountains. In the morning, the mist rises and floats, ghost-like as rays of sunlight knife through. It is such a magical, mystical place. It is easy to see how many myths and legends were born here.


(above: near Ullapool)
As well, the people who lived here hundreds of years ago were as tough and rugged as their surroundings. They had to be in order to survive. Crops are difficult if not impossible to grow here because of the inappropriate or nonexistent soil in the wet bogs or on the rocky slopes. Sheep and cattle survived by eating the vegetation. The climate is cool and damp here most of the year so wool clothing was a must. The most famous of the wool cloth woven by Highlanders was plaid. What we today call a great kilt or belted plaid was to Highland men back in history the most practical of clothing which suited their lifestyle.

(Below: Eilean Donan Castle in the Western Highlands)
(Above: Sango Bay near Durness in northern Scotland)
I like imagining and writing about Highlanders who lived here their whole lives, fierce and free, loving the Highlands like a family member. They fought for, protected and died for this wild land they called home. If you visit you will know why they were so passionate about it.
Western Romances -- The Cowboy Way


Whether reading Zane Grey or Linda Lael Miller, cowboys and the Western way of life make for some of the best stories. Rugged heroes have always been my favorites in romance fiction. Something about those salt-of-the-earth types and how they live as hard as they love. Go to the greatest lengths to ensure the safety of loved ones. Fight for justice. Ride like the wind. Oh, and they are often quite easy on the eyes. Whether cowboys and rodeo heroes are roping, riding or ranching, they keep us turning the pages to find out what they love doing once the dust is cleared, the saddles are hung up and the chaps are off.

Roughrider blurb --

Rabid curiosity clashes with criminal minds and escalates the drama in the small Texas town where love and loyalties are harder won than any rodeo trophy.


Kimberly Taylor is a successful Western outfitter who deserves a worthy man to take her mind and body off the demands of her business. Jack Dodson has had his moment in the rodeo spotlight and decides he’d rather seek a more stable occupation. Kimberly needs something and someone to shake up her mundane existence. Breathe some excitement into her life. She finds fulfillment, drama and more when she tackles Jack on her own sexual terms.

You might wonder how this story came about. One day I happened across an older Western movie about cattle drivers. I mused about a man and woman who’d never explored their attraction to each other. During their younger years, they shared a friendship but never dared admitting or acting on their basest desires together. Couldn’t wait for the first commercial to play before I started jotting notes about Kimberly and Jack. Roughrider is about Kimberly's sexual odyssey. By returning her to Mesa Junction, Texas, I put her directly in the path of her ultimate temptation. It's been ten years since her last visit to the Dodson family, and she decides it's time to slay some sexual demons. ROUGHRIDER is all about finding that special person with whom you can share some of your most intimate secrets and indulge some of your wildest sexual fantasies. Kim knows she'll always have a friend in Jack, but she wants more. And the only way she'll ever find out if he feels the same way is by revisiting a certain Texas town.


If you enjoy romantic stories pivoted by sex and suspense…

Click here for more information and a ROUGHRIDER excerpt

Click here to watch the book videos and to read another excerpt and reviews


Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED -- Coming soon to Ellora's Cave
Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace
The Thrill of the Paranormal
I've always been fascinated in the paranormal from the time when I was a teen and watched the local community college put on the play Dracula and Hansel and Gretal, to ghost stories at the school library and tons of mythology, and fantasies too, like Beauty and the Beast (not the Disney Version) and all the other childhood fantasies, where the man and woman loved each other, but were destined to be star crossed lovers if they couldn't break a spell, or kill off the evil witch. So yeah, I've been in love with the paranormal forever.

It's only been really recently that I discovered the paranormal world of romances with a happily ever after for some of the most unlikely types of stories, from goddesses and demons to ghostly hunks, and, yep, werewolves.
I'd have to say for me, Dracula was the closest thing to a sexy romance, but it was never a happily ever after for the poor vampire. The same with the other stories, the witches and ghosts were not the main characters, but the villains or secondaries. Not as far as romances go at least.

And then there are the tons of psychic detective shows and ghost hunter shows, and fantasies like Narnia and Star Dust, and lots more great stories with paranormal elements.

From werewolves like Heart of the Wolf and Don't Cry Wolf, to vampires and witches in The Vampire...In My Dreams and psychics in Deidre's Secret, I love to explore the paranormal or urban fantasy realm.
So if you could have any paranormal ability, whether it was some kind of psychic ability, or shapeshifting power, what would you want to have and why?
Bring on the Kelpie!
Hi, everyone, I'm thrilled to announce Red Sage has made an offer on my second novella! Woohoo! This paranormal erotic romance is entitled "Beast in a Kilt." The hero of this story is a shapeshifter of a special sort. He turns into a kelpie at night. Kelpies are a part of Scottish folklore and legend. Centuries ago, Scots believed certain lochs or rivers were inhabited by these malicious water demons. A kelpie appears to be a normal-looking, beautiful white (or black) horse. This creature charms and lures weary travelers onto his back and then dives into the loch or river, drowning and eating his victims. Kelpies have the strength and stamina of ten horses. And some legends say these kelpies could shift into gorgeous human males if they wanted. In this form they sometimes mated with women.

Of course Torr Blackburn, the hero of my story, doesn't drown people or eat them, but he does shift into a beautiful white "horse" at night and feels an intense, violent rage at times. When he's hungry, he eats grass or oats like a normal horse. He loves swimming in the nearby loch to burn off energy or aggression, and he never feels cold, even in midwinter. In kelpie form, he does, as legend says, have the strength of ten horses; he can run all night if required. (I used this picture of Gerry Butler as Attila as inspiration for Torr. Yes, he does like to smirk. ;-) )

Traditionally, the only way to capture a kelpie is with a magical bridle. If a person can manage to place this special bridle over his head, the kelpie is enslaved. And that's exactly what the witch of the dark arts does at one point--the witch who cursed him in the first place. The only way he can escape the curse is to find true love.

I thoroughly enjoy researching and creating paranormal stories, whether they are shapeshifter, time travel or magical. I can let my imagination fly free and ignore the restraints of everyday rationality and logic. Paranormal romance is pure escape and fantasy, yet still believable.

When I visited Scotland recently, I saw this sculpture called The Kelpies at the Falkirk Wheel.


I created this paranormal world in my first novella in this series, "Devil in a Kilt," Red Sage Secrets Volume 27. The novellas take place in the year 1621 in Scotland. A dark witch placed a curse on three men who are friends and Highlanders (Gavin, Torr and Brodie) the year before because her son was killed in a skirmish in which he and his friends were trying to ambush and kill our three heroes. The witch took her revenge by placing a different curse on each of the three heroes. Gavin, the Highland chief from "Devil in a Kilt," shapeshifts into a hawk during the daytime and he can do nothing to control or prevent this. The curse has nearly destroyed his life. His clan believes he's possessed by the devil and so they fled. More than anything, he wants them to come home. Only one thing will break the curse for each man, love given and received, in equal parts with complete trust.

Here's the blurb for "Beast in a Kilt:"
Scottish lady Catriona MacCain has loved Torr Blackburn, a fierce Highland warrior, since she was a young lass, but Torr only sees Catriona as his best friend’s little sister. When Catriona’s family promises her in marriage to a detestable chieftain, she desperately needs Torr to save her from a fate worse than death. But Torr is under the spell of a witch of the dark arts and is cursed to spend his nights as a kelpie water demon. He doesn’t believe himself worthy of the virginal Lady Catriona. However, she is determined to seduce Torr and claim him… body, heart and soul, if only they can banish the curse and defeat the enemies who have vowed to possess and enslave them both.

I hope you enjoy reading about Torr and Catriona! :-)

Question for readers: What is the most unusual shifter you have read about?

Nicole North

A Paranormal Virgin
No, that's not the title of a new erotic romance from Mia Varano!

To celebrate Paranormal week here at Fierce Romance, I’m going to post a bunch of questions for you Paranormal fans from a newcomer to the genre. I have to admit, I haven’t read many Paranormals. When I made my way back to Romance after several years’ absence, I was surprised it was a Romance genre at all, and of course, it’s exploded in popularity over the past few years.

First, how did this genre get started? Did it begin with Time Travel stories? I did read Jack Finney’s Time and Again, which I loved. It’s sort of a mystery and romance, but mostly a recreation of New York City in the 1880’s. But that book was published many years ago. I’m aware of a few time travel romance movies, such as Kate and Leopold, which came out in 2001. Did this occur at the beginning of the phenomenon in Romance or simply dovetail onto it?

I gather vampires are very popular in Paranormals and may have even reached the point of saturation, which seems odd since I’ve never read one! Did all this fascination with vampires start with Anne Rice’s books? I read her entire series of vampire books, starting with Interview With a Vampire, and loved them. I also read The Witching Hour but then couldn’t get into Lasher. Again, I wouldn’t characterize these books as Romances. Did Rice inspire the vampire trend, or was it Buffy the Vampire Slayer? I never saw that show, although I do know it starred the actress who played Kendall Hart on All My Children (Tess will be so proud of me!)

And how about werewolves? Where did the idea come from that men who transformed into wolves were sexy? The werewolf story with which I’m most familiar is An American Werewolf in London. Great movie but hardly a Romance!

Now there are ghosts, witches, and shapeshifters populating Paranormals. The story ideas must be endless, and I imagine that’s part of the attraction for both writers and readers of Paranormals.

I hear a lot about “world building” in relation to Paranormals. I’m guessing that applies not only to stories that are set in another galaxy, but stories that have to have a frame or background for its “creatures.” How they come about, what special powers they have, what can bring them down. Do most Paranormal writers build their worlds from scratch, or do they borrow elements from other writers? Do vampires still fear garlic and are werewolves wary of the silver bullet in Paranormals?

It’s kind of fun to think that there’s a whole genre out there waiting to be discovered…by me! So tell me your Paranormal secrets, preferences, favorite authors, and what you think will be the next big thing in Paranormals.

And if you like werewolf stories, check out Cynthia Eden’s Caged Wolf in Secrets Volume 21 (cover above because I can't seem to figure out how to put a picture anywhere else!)
My First Blog for Fierce Romance!
Hi Fierce Friends!
Tess Mallory here. I’m new on the Fierce Romance blogspot and am very excited to be here! Vonda tells me that a lot of the bloggers are talking about paranormal romance this week, and as a paranormal romance author myself, what better way to begin my stint here?

Today I was thinking about my start in the rombiz (short for romance business, as we in the biz like to call it. Not really. I made that up. I have a weird sense of humor. I’ll try to keep it under control. Ahem.) When I sold my first Time Travel romance, the sub-genre had just begun to build up steam, along with the equally unusual and popular futuristic romances. “Ghost” romances were also hitting their stride. While futuristics were obviously Science Fiction-based stories, Time Travels and Ghost romances were fantasy-based, or, dare I say it—-supernatural. None of these types of romances were labeled ‘paranormal’ at the time, but they certainly opened the door for what came next—vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters!

It’s funny to me now to think that no one sees anything particularly strange about a romance with any or all of these elements, but when the sub-genres first began, these were ground-breaking books! Ghosts in romances? Time Travel? Vampires? Crazy! But oh, so much fun—and so much money for the publishers as the popularity of these books grew! When the Dark Side showed up and started taking a bite out of the market too, the term ‘paranormal romance’ began to show up as well. As the ghoulish creatures of the supernatural world sunk their teeth into romance (are you catching all these amazing puns?) Time Travel began to take a back seat to the evolving paranormal sub-genre.

However, I’m very happy to announce that TT is making a comeback! The genre responsible for helping start the whole sub-culture of strange and unusual tales, combined with the usual hot hero and feisty heroine, is rising from the dead like those frustratingly popular vampires. And now, finally, TTs are labeled ‘paranormal romances’. Which makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Einstein taught us Time Travel is impossible, so how in the world are we supposed to get those hunky guys and gutsy girls back to a romantic time in history? Enter the paranormal, or supernatural element!

When I started plotting my new book for Berkley Sensations, HIGHLAND ROGUE, I wanted to introduce a ‘time travel device’ that would really catch a potential reader’s interest and be filled with mystery and supernatural possibilities. I came up with the idea of having my heroine stumble—literally—on a carving of a tri-spiral, or triskele, in the floor of an ancient cairn. Each of the three spirals is supernaturally connected to a different time period in the past.

In Highland Rogue, my heroine, Maggie, and hero, Quinn, soon come to know that somehow the spirals are a portal, a doorway, between the twenty-first century, and the year 1711 But when they open that door, the two are catapulted across time and space, and in the process, risk being separated not only from each another, but from their very souls. Is it magic, an ancient time machine, or something otherworldly that sends Maggie to the past and Quinn to the future? Whatever causes the spirals to work (me to know, you to try and find out! ha!) the story definitely falls into the paranormal range, and that makes me very happy!

I love hearing from readers of paranormal—and other kinds of romance—and welcome your comments here and your emails. Write me at tessmallory@yahoo.com, and please visit my websites, www.tessmallorybooks.com/, www.sff.net/people/tessmallory, and my MySpace at www.myspace.com/tessmallory.

Also, I love LOLcats!! Here’s one just for all of you on the subject of Time Travel.

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Cynthia Eden makes it Hotter After Midnight
Hi, we'll continue paranormal week here at Fierce Romance by talking to Cynthia Eden about her latest story.

Cynthia Eden writes paranormal romances with a sensual edge. Her publishers include: Kensington Brava, Avon Red, Red Sage, and ImaJinn Books. She lives in the South and loves long, lazy summer days (and books--plenty of books!).

Vonda: Welcome, Cynthia! Please tell us about Hotter After Midnight.

Cynthia: Thank you! I’m very excited to be here today. :-) Hotter After Midnight is my first paranormal release from Kensington Brava—it’s the start of my “Midnight” series. My heroine, Dr. Emily Drake, is a psychologist—and she only treats paranormal patients. When a supernatural killer begins stalking the streets, she is pulled into the investigation as a profiler. Emily gets teamed up with the lead detective on the case, Colin Gyth—a guy who happens to be a wolf-shifter. The attraction between the two is immediate. If they can just catch the killer, they might have a chance at love.

Vonda: I love wolf-shifters! What inspired you to write this story?

Cynthia: I started writing this story right after I returned from the RWA Convention in Atlanta. I was energized by the conference and really wanted to write without fear. So, I just sat down, stopped worrying about the market and what was selling well and what wasn’t—and I just wrote. Emily’s character came to me immediately, and she led the way for everything else.

Vonda: That's inspiring! Is this your first full-length novel release from Kensington Brava? How did this sale come about?

Cynthia: Yes, this is my first full-length novel with Kensington Brava. My agent, Laura Bradford (of the Bradford Literary Agency), pitched the story to Kensington for me. I love Laura—and if anyone is interested in learning more about her, you should check out her website at http://www.bradfordlit.com/. (Hey—I plug her because I do think she’s a terrific agent.)

Vonda: Wonderful! You have several releases this year. Please tell us about them.

Cynthia: I am absolutely thrilled to say that I have four Kensington Brava releases and one Red Sage release. All of my releases will be paranormals. I love paranormal stories like I love my chocolate.

After Hotter After Midnight, I will be in two anthologies from Kensington, When He Was Bad (June 08) and Everlasting Bad Boys (September 08). In December, my second full-length novel from Kensington Brava, Midnight Sins, will be available. I like to think of Midnight Sins as Basic Instinct meets The X-Files.

My last release of the year will be Secrets, Volume 25: Wicked Delights. I’ll have a novella in the anthology. Blood Hunt is my tale of a vampiress who has a real taste for bad boys.

Vonda: Wow that's a lot of hot sounding stories! What is your favorite part of story creation?

Cynthia: This actually varies for me depending on the story. Sometimes, I absolutely love the beginning. The excitement of starting a new story can be wonderful for me—so many possibilities. Other times, I love the ending. The mad race to the finish usually keeps me up nights as I try to pound out the end of the book.

Vonda: What can we look forward to from you next?

Cynthia: More paranormals! LOL. Seriously, I can’t help it. I think I have a paranormal addiction. I’m working on my last “Midnight” book now, and then I’ve got plots in my mind for a few paranormal bounty hunter books (don’t have a series name for those yet).

Vonda: I love bounty hunters. I know this series will be great. Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

Cynthia: Yes, thank you! I’d like to know…what is your favorite paranormal character? And why is that one your fav?

Vonda: I'll give you my answer now. Who can pick just one? LOL Okay if you're forcing me to pick one I'd have to say a shifter of any type. Thanks again Cynthia for visiting with us today!

Everyone please visit Cynthia's website at http://www.cynthiaeden.com/

Please click below to buy the book at:

Amazon
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Paranormal and the Passionate Romance
Helle In Heels regular cover


One of my favorite ways of passing time as a child was writing stories and creating fictional characters, many of whom possessed otherworldly powers. As I got older, I focused more on reading women’s fiction, literary fiction and historical romances, but I never forgot the thrill of creating my own worlds and characters.

My first published paranormal erotica romance, HELLE IN HEELS, came to fictional life thanks to the family coffeemaker. One Saturday morning as I stood in the kitchen, the coffeemaker emitted these strange guttural noises. Almost as though a hellcat dwelled somewhere in the brew basket. When the sequence of sounds repeated themselves, I wished the demon back to where it belonged. No sooner did I vocalize this wish and the idea for a spitfire hero who is banished from Hell by her father, Sir Satan, sprang to mind. Once the travel mug filled with java, I grabbed it and my laptop and headed to the master bedroom for a plotting and writing session that lasted over five hours. That same weekend I finished the story’s first draft and tucked it away for proofing months later. Imagine, a writer’s creativity sparked by a coffeemaker’s satanic rumblings.

Helle Hawthorn is the heroine of HELLE IN HEELS, my first Exotika release at Ellora’s Cave. She is the daughter of the Devil and a mortal woman. She was gifted with her father’s good looks and charm, but she has her mother’s kind nature and conscience. Of course, this makes for the perfect conflict between her and her father. Women will relate to HELLE IN HEELS because this erotic tale explores the feminine tendencies of self-sacrifice and nurturing. Helle shows readers how women can dare slaying their sexual demons and finding fulfillment in more ways than one. But her bloodline doesn’t save her from being dealt the ultimate blow. She is banished from Hell and forced to leave behind her otherworldly powers and true love in order to save Earth from Satan’s destruction. She uses her intelligence and demonstrates unflagging determination when escaping a hellish situation that's getting hotter with each passing moment. Helle is quite adventurous and a sexual being, but she doesn't hesitate putting another's needs before her own when a situation warrants. Quite a candid woman, she tells one lover she's, "Your mother's worst nightmare and your daddy's wettest dream." Despite her sassiness and sex appeal, she never forgets the handsome Greek who brought her love and orgasms below ground. Menlikus, the story's hero, shows how far he will go and how much he will risk for the woman of his wildest and most romantic dreams. HELLE IN HEELS is a tale of personal loss for the gain of the masses. Taking chances to bring peace and betterment to your own life and the lives of others.

The Devil isn't above defeat. Helle and her Greek lover, Menlikus, never surrender their goals despite the fact they’re faced with a dismal situation. They might be otherworldly characters, but they are able to differentiate between love and lust and recognize which means more to them overall. Circumstances drive them apart, but one is often thinking about the other. Helle was such fun to create because I gifted her with a level of intelligence that enables her to outsmart her despot daddy. On reaching Earth, she faces the ultimate sexual obstacles and learns more than one valuable lesson in the process. When I characterized Helle, I wanted to make her multi-faced and enable her to rise above the stereotype that those who dwell in Hades are inherently evil. I also created a world where the Devil isn’t such an all-seeing, all-knowing entity. That he has his limitations and intellectual superiors. I also didn’t want Helle suffering immediate defeat at the hands of the Devil. HELLE IN HEELS keeps the hellfires burning with explicit sexual content. The paranormal is blended with an edgy, sassy tone in this Ellora's Cave Exotika tale. If you think you really know what happens in Hell, Helle Hawthorn might change your mind.


Click here for more information and an excerpt from HELLE IN HEELS

Click here to read more excerpts and reviews

Click here to watch the book video for HELLE IN HEELS


Feel the heat in erotic fiction,

Shawna Moore
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
TORMENTED – Coming soon from Ellora’s Cave
Shawna’s Myspace
Helle’s Myspace
Forbidden Love

I'm on Books Binge since yesterday if anyone wants to see my answers to an interview~~ http://thebookbinge.blogspot.com/2008/05/guest-author-terry-spear.html


What do you think of forbidden love? That's the title of one of my vampire romances, but it pertains to a form of story I enjoy writing--a forbidden love between two people. Think: Romeo and Juliet. West Side Story. Even Heart of the Wolf is about forbidden love as Devlyn isn't permitted to mate Bella, the alpha male's choice of mate. In Winning the Highlander's Heart, Lady Anice must marry King Henry's choice of groom, a Norman, when she falls in love with the Highlander, Laird Malcolm MacNeill.

What makes forbidden love so much fun to read?

It's the deep interpersonal conflict for me--the love of two people that cannot be stopped no matter the rules in their society. It's the love that bridges two people from different worlds, different ideologies, backgrounds, beliefs. Or some other element that threatens to keep them apart becuase of family feuds or other dastardly external conflict.But I want a happily ever after! Star crossed lovers are not my idea of a fun read!

What are some of your favorite stories of forbidden love?
Terry Spear
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