Interview with Dona Parus, CEO of Tiger Publications

Hi, everyone, Today I'm excited about having Dona Parus, CEO of Tiger Publications, Inc. here to tell us more about this wonderful new publisher.

Vonda: Welcome, Dona! What was your main goal in opening the doors of Tiger Publications?

Dona Parus: The main goal we had when we opened our doors was that we knew there was a better way authors could be treated. If you look at the industry it works like this. Bookstores get respect from distributors. Distributors get respect from publishers. Publishers get respect from authors. Here's where the broken spoke of the wheel comes in. No one respects the authors. Without authors there is no industry. But the industry feeds off the dreams of authors and not once do they respect them for producing a product that everyone, except the author makes money on. Our goal is to show the industry that authors, out of all, deserve respect.

Vonda: What wonderful insight. Your company definitely sounds like the friend of the author. How many editors acquire at Tiger?

Dona: Three of our editors acquire. Margaret Esch, Romance and Women's Fiction. Carol Smith for YA, and Wayne Bruno for Action Adventure, and Rudy Rend for Science Fiction and Fantasy are all acquisition editors.

Vonda: What types of stories are your editors looking for?

Dona: We're looking for good stories. I know that sounds trite but it's all Tiger will ever look for. We don't have genre slots. If we have 20 books in Romantic suspense that are great they'll all be released. If we don't get a RS that year we don't have one to put out. In other words, if we find a good story we're going to publish it.

Vonda: Anything you're not looking for?

Dona: I know you're asking about genres but once again since we have no restrictions as far as genres go there isn't a story we won't consider.

Vonda: Sounds wonderful! Please tell us who designs your beautiful covers, some of which I'm displaying along the sides.

Dona: Dale Ankrum, Lin Rudolph, Sandra Kelley and Scott Parus have done our covers.

Vonda: They do wonderful work! Please tell us about Tiger's distribution.

Dona: We use Baker & Taylor for our distribution. We're in their sales book and also we've placed ads in their sales catalog. Now if you're talking about the promotions that Tiger does that's a different story. We have a PR director that works with our authors. She contacts bookstores for book signings and also sends out bookmarks, that we produce for the author, to both bookstores and book clubs. We are in the process of creating our own catalog that will be going out to bookstores with follow up visits from our sales staff.

Vonda: I find myself going Wow to a lot of your answers including this one. You guys do a lot for authors! What and how do you prefer writers submit their work?

Dona: As our website says, we would prefer synopsis, and the first three chapters. All submissions should be done via email attachment, because it's less expensive for the author. Now with that said, I must clarify that we've bought from paper submission.

Vonda: That's easy. Will Tiger editors be scheduling appointments at RWA national and smaller conferences this year? If so which ones?

Dona: Early in the year we were asked to participate in the New Jersey conference. We discussed it and decided that it's not fair for us to do that until Tiger has proven we're going to be around a while. Since we're accessible via the net we also feel that it's not necessary for us to acquire at conferences. Now that doesn't mean that we won't be at a few of them, just not in the capacity of an acquiring publisher.

Vonda: How many books will Tiger release this year? Can you give us a hint about some of them?

Dona: This year we were planning to release 12 books, however that number has recently jumped up. Our first released on March 17th was A Band of Roses by Pat McDermott. You were kind enough to do an interview with her an we thank you for that.

The next was Butterfly Wishes by LaDonna Paulette. This is a book that will rip you heart out. Every reader and editor that has read it has said the same thing. This one is a very emotional book so keep that box of Kleenex nearby.
I won't take up your readers' time with all the others, but please stop by Tiger's site and check out our fantastic list of titles.

Vonda: What sensual heat level does Tiger prefer for their romance novels?

Dona: We haven't stepped into the erotic level of stories and that's because we haven't been presented with one that we feel is written to the quality we're looking for. So once again it has nothing to do with genre or sensuality. It has to do totally with a good story.

Vonda: Would you like to tell us anything else?

Dona: I would like to tell your readers that Tiger Publications is an author based publishing company. What that means is that our authors come first. We will do all we can to gain and make sure we keep their respect. This means it comes from not holding their copyrights, to making sure we hold their hands through the quagmire of promotions.

Vonda: Thanks again for being here Dona! I've enjoyed it!! This has been an enlightening experience.

Many Happy Returns

Home is where my heart is, but I also adore traveling. Finding new places that stir fond memories, no matter how many years pass. In essence, destinations that fill my best dreams and bring many happy returns.

Today marks my twelfth wedding anniversary, and one of the best getaways hubby and I ever experienced was when we visited Charleston, SC, two years ago to celebrate a decade of love and togetherness. No matter that rain showers dampened the windshield as we drove. The weather couldn’t dampen our mood or plans. From the moment we checked into our lovely bed and breakfast in the heart of the historically-rich city, we focused on fun and romance. No visit to Charleston is complete without a carriage ride. As soon as Marcus, our carriage horse, started along the tour route, the sun burst through the cloud cover and provided us the first rays of a glorious day. Peninsular majesty. Regal oaks dripping Spanish moss. Breathtaking homes fashioned in the Georgian, Classical Revival, and Greek Revival (my favorite) styles of yesteryear. After soaking up lots of sights and historical details, we returned to the Old City Market and browsed the handicrafts and sweetgrass baskets. While there we chatted with some of the friendly locals and other tourists and sampled Low Country goodies offered by a few vendors. Though Southern cuisine is my favorite, the evening hours saw us sharing some special moments over a candlelit Italian dinner and toasting our union with a fine cabernet. A leisurely stroll near our bed and breakfast found us under the stars, and we capped off our day of sightseeing with a guided tour featuring more of the history and haunted past of Charleston. More tours of splendid gardens and enchanting plantation properties filled our remaining days in Charleston. Even more moments of romantic bliss resulted. I could go on, but you get the perfect picture. As a matter of fact, I believe more wonderful memories resulted than times Marcus clopped his well-shod hooves.

Wishing you all many happy returns,

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

My Closet Muse

A long time ago, someone brought up the discussion of muses on one of the lists. Silly, I thought. I deal in reality. Right…with my vampire, werewolf, fae, and--you name it-- stories….reality. So why does a writer who loves fantasy and the paranormal not have a muse? Because I’m the one who works hard to think this stuff up. No way am I going to give credit to some fantastical entity. No way.

And then one day one of my critique partners asked our group about everyone’s muse. She’d been to an RWA workshop, and felt like I did. She didn’t have a muse, didn’t want to think about it. Silly. But she really got into it, described her muse, and had a lot of fun doing it.

So for the first time, I began to think of my muse. She’s my height, same coloration, beautiful--just like me--only she’s thinner, younger, wears fairy-like clothes and hides in the closet.

And that’s why I don’t have a muse. What good is a closet muse? About that time I was having one of those, I refuse to call it writer’s block, but you know, something like that…when the words just won’t jump out of my fingers onto the keys and appear on the paper. I’m usually really annoyed with myself when I have this…this frustratingly annoying non-creative, non-productive period. Until I latched onto that muse and realized the problem. It was all her fault! She refused to come out of the closet.

I also had to blame my critique partner, because if she hadn’t introduced me to my muse, I wouldn’t have ever blamed anyone but myself for not getting back to my writing.

The good news is I’m busily at work again, despite the fact I have a closet muse. So remember, whether you have a muse or not, writing is an important part of a writer’s life and nothing should stop that natural drive, even if it has to be given a nudge every once in a while.

Sometimes I go months without thinking about my muse. It just happens. The idea comes to me, the words get written, the story is completed. I’m a writer. Other times, I have to drag the words out of the gray matter, hash and rehash the words on paper, and finally, with a great deal of effort, finish the story. I’m still a writer. Does my muse help?

You’d have to ask her. She won’t come out of the closet to speak to me.

What about you? Do you have a troublesome muse? What is she or he like?

Turn up the Heat! workshop

Turn Up the Heat! Heightening Sexual Tension and Sensuality in Your Manuscript

Presenter: Nicole North

Date: May 1 - 31

Description: Editors want to buy spicy-hot romance stories now more than ever before. How do you do it? In this class we will discuss all aspects of sexual tension and sensuality and how they relate to the developing romance in your story. You'll learn tips for successfully building sexual tension over the course of the hero and heroine's relationship from first glance, through climax, to happily ever after. Several examples will be used to illustrate different nuances of hot romantic chemistry and how to employ them in your own story. Learn how to avoid clichés and use sexiness in fresh new ways. Strengthening sexual tension will take your story from ho-hum to so hot and delicious your reader can't put it down. We'll do exercises for hands-on learning. (Please be aware this course contains explicit and frank discussions of sexuality.)

**Topics covered**
Using the five senses more effectively
Sexy talk
Word choice
First kiss
First love scene
How to rebuild sexual tension after sex
Why point of view is important
Hot characters
Combining physical attraction and emotion
Body language
Differences between romance and erotic romance
Revising to make a sensual romance manuscript spicy or erotic

Fun Extras
Visual inspiration
Multimedia examples and exercises

About the presenter: Nicole North writes sensual and erotic romance novels and novellas. She is the author of "Devil in a Kilt" a novella in Red Sage Secrets Volume 27, due out next year. She has finaled in over a dozen writing competitions and won several awards. She admits sexual tension is her favorite element of romance and sprinkles it liberally through her stories. What others have said about her works: "This author handles sexual tension very well. Her characters are completely drawn to each other..." and "Wow! Talk about sexual chemistry. This story has it in spades. You’re a natural in the romantic chemistry department." Please visit her website to learn more and read past student testimonials: on the workshops page.

Deadline to register: April 28

Fee: $10 CHRW members; $15 non-members. RWA Membership isn't required; anyone can take our courses. Celtic Hearts members receive 2 free workshops a year.

Where to sign up:
Please fill out the online form.

Thank you for considering our workshops!!

Structuring Your Manuscript for More Impact Online Workshop

MAY 5-30, 2008

Structuring Your Manuscript for More Impact!

Have you just started your mss and you're at a loss already? Have you finished the mss and need help structuring it so that it has the kind of impact that will compel readers, agents, and editors to keep reading?

Whether you're a plotter who sets up the whole mss from start to finish, or a pantser who writes from the seat-of-the-pants, from the writer who is just beginning, to the one who has finished a mss and needs some help, this workshop is for you! We'll discuss the major components of a mss-the Scene and Sequel, what makes them work and how to make they better. We talk about the anatomy of scenes and sequels, flashbacks, transitions, opening and climax scenes, conflict, characterization and more. I'll give examples and work with you on how to improve your own mss. Afterward, you should be able to identify what makes your story catch the reader's interest and what needs to be reworked to do a better job.

Please join Terry Spear, the online presenter of Happy Hookers and 3-D Characterizations, for a workshop on Structuring Your Manuscript for More Impact!

Offered by: Outreach International

Melissa Mayhue shares her Highlanders

Hi, today I'm thrilled we have Melissa Mayhue here to tell us about her first two Scottish time-travel romances, out now.

Vonda Sinclair: Thanks so much for being a guest at Fierce Romance, Melissa. Welcome! Please tell us about your first book Thirty Nights With a Highland Husband. (What an interesting title and a magical cover!)

Melissa Mayhue: First of all, thank you so much for having me here! Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband was my first book and my first entry into the Faerie World. It’s a time travel romance with an insecure modern day woman traveling to Thirteenth Century Scotland – complete with intrigue, surprises and, of course, hunky Scottish Highlanders.

Here’s the book jacket blurb:

Scotland, 1272. Connor MacKiernan, a descendant of the Fae Prince, is a warrior who lives only for honor and duty. Though he’s vowed never to marry, that’s exactly what he must do to save his sister. Enter a little Faerie magic, and the search for a bride is on.

Denver, Present Day. Caitlyn Coryell is having a really bad day – she just discovered her fiancé with another woman! Imagine her surprise when she puts on some sexy lingerie and an antique pendant and Connor appears in her bedroom, begging for her help. He offers a simple yet outrageous adventure: travel to his time, marry him, and return home.

But nothing’s simple when Cate is trapped in the thirteenth century. The wedding’s delayed, someone’s trying to kill her, and in the middle of all this, she realizes she’s falling in love with a man who can only be her husband for thirty nights.

Vonda: Sounds yummy! I'm a big time-travel fan, and of course, hunky Highlander fan! :-) Do you have a review or two you could share with us?

Melissa: I’d love to! Here are a couple of my favorites:

4 Stars – Mayhue debuts with an enchanting time travel that follows the rules of the genre yet is infused with humor, engaging characters and a twist or two – Kathe Robin – Romantic Times Magazine

Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband is a wonderful time travel romance, even if time travel is not your preferred genre, it’s outrageously great! – Carolyn Crisher – Romance Reviews Today

4 ½ Roses - What a smasharoo debut! Newcomer Melissa Mayhue rocks the Scottish highlands with Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband... Fans of Janet Chapman and Karen Marie Moning will love Melissa Mayhue! – Bonnie – A Romance

Vonda: What wonderful reviews!! What did you find hardest about writing time travel?

Melissa: Writing time travel is really writing a historical, but coming in the back door! So the hardest part is making sure I stay true to the period as much as possible, double checking my facts so I don’t make errors like having my heroine eating some food that hadn’t been discovered yet or the hero interacting with a historical character who wasn’t on the scene!

Vonda: Please tell us about your second book, Highland Guardian and share any reviews you'd like.

Melissa: While my debut book was my first foray into the new Faerie world I’d created, Highland Guardian was the book that really fleshed that world out. This one was a departure from the series in that it wasn’t a time travel, but it introduced characters and concepts that will carry throughout the series. And I loved writing it!

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Sarah Douglas is a successful romance novelist who’s come to Scotland hoping to overcome her writer’s block and come to terms with her strange ability to sense the emotions of everyone she touches. But from the moment she arrives, her problems only intensify. From the stalker – who might be only a figment of her imagination – to her attraction to the darkly handsome owner of the cottage she’s rented, nothing goes as she had planned.

Ian McCullough is neck-deep in his own trouble. A half-mortal descendant of Faeries, he’s been a Guardian for more than six hundred years, but he’s never encountered a woman like Sarah. Assigned to protect her, he finds the job tougher than he could have imagined. Oh, he can handle the stalker, and even the renegade faeries trying to kidnap her. But falling in love means forsaking his role as Guardian – which is something he could never do.

But there is no denying the passion that exists between two souls fated to be together.

4 Stars – With her sophomore effort, Mayhue jumps into the magical world with a story of the power of love and bloodlines. She not only develops compelling protagonists, but her secondary characters are also rich and intriguing. An author with major potential! – Jill M. Smith – Romantic Times Magazine

Melissa Mayhue’s writing is magical. Unable to stop, I devoured Highland Guardian in one afternoon. Highland Guardian has dark suspense, wretched villains, and smoking hot romance. Highland Guardian is fantastic! - Annmarie – Joyfully

5 Angels – Melissa Mayhue has an awesome story in Highland Guardian…This was a lovely getaway to fantasy land and I can be ready to go again in a moment. If you like Scotland and Highland Heroes and Faerie magic this is a must read for you. – Dana P. – Fallen Angel Reviews

Vonda: Sounds like another winner! What do you enjoy about writing books set in Scotland?

Melissa: There is a mystique to Scotland that few other places can claim. Whether it’s the turbulent history or the wild, untamed landscape, I can’t say. When I first visited there the first time, I just knew it was the perfect setting for my characters.

Vonda: I agree! What do you find most difficult and most rewarding about writing paranormal?

Melissa: I love paranormal…both reading it and writing it. Most rewarding is easiest, so I’ll start there. It gives me the freedom to suspend belief, to create my own world and really immerse myself in my characters and their lives.

Most difficult? Staying true to the world I’ve created. And reining my imagination in!!!

Vonda: Please describe your journey to publication?

Melissa: I really was one of the lucky ones. I wrote Thirty Nights having no idea how difficult it is breaking into the publishing world. Once I finished the book, I joined RWA and my local chapter [Colorado Romance Writers] and it was through that association that my book ended up in the right hands at the right time.

Vonda: Wow! What do you wish you'd known before becoming published?

Melissa: Good question! I wish I’d known how much time and effort would go into promoting my work and the importance of having begun that process long before that first book was even in an editor’s hands. For everyone out there on the road to publication – get your website, your blog, your MySpace, your contacts in place NOW. You’ll be so glad to have that platform under you later on, I promise!

Vonda: Excellent advice! Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

Melissa: I was a reader long before I was a writer, so I’m always on the lookout for wonderful books I might have missed – especially now that I have so much less time for reading! Paranormal of all types, and especially time travel have long been my favorites – which is why I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the reviewers who’ve compared my work to Lynn Kurland, Janet Chapman and Karen Marie Moning!

So my question – would you share some of your favorite, must read paranormal romance books? AND [here’s the hard part] What did you like best about that book that makes it one of your favorites?

Thanks so much to you and to all your readers for having me here today! Please stop by my website [ ] for more information on my work and on my upcoming release, Soul of a Highlander, due out May 20.
Feel free to email me with any comments or questions – I absolutely love to hear from readers and I do my best to answer quickly. . . well, except when I’m writing to deadline. :-)

Vonda: Thanks again, Melissa! This has been fun!

What's on the Cowboy's Mind?

MySpace Comments - Cowboys and Cowgirls

For most of the years I’ve been reading romance fiction, rugged heroes have always been my favorites. Those men who fight hard, live with purpose, and love with every bit of energy in their hard-to-resist bodies. Whether on the rodeo circuit or ranching, these guys face challenges head on and refuse defeat. Dirt and sweat help define them and their working ways.

Recently I found this handsome cowboy’s picture and pondered what might be on his mind. Here’s what I’m thinking he’s thinking. Tires churn the packed earth leading to the farmhouse. He turns and is nearly blinded as sunlight blares off the lipstick-red hood of the convertible. But it doesn’t prevent him from noticing the woman sitting behind the wheel, her black hair teased by the wind. She smiles and he shifts the saddle on his shoulder. He swipes a free hand over his sweat-slick chest. Her amber-lens sunglasses come off. They make eye contact and he swaggers closer. The sexy stranger licks her lips. No better time to cool off in Cassady’s Pond. Won’t take long to saddle up and head her down there. Business can wait. He runs his thumb under the waistband of his jeans. The fire inside of him can’t.

What about you, readers? What do you think is on this hunk’s mind?

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

A Picture--Worth A Thousand Words? Or more???

When I was writing my ghost western time travel, I was looking for western pictures to inspire me. Great picture, don't you think?

What does it make you think of? I wonder what he's thinking about? Is he just off a cattle drive? Does he need a back scrub? :)

And this guy?
A Selkie? Caught changing into his human form? Does he need help getting cleaned up??? See where my mind is this morning!

Well, visual stimulation does help me write some of my scenes, from pictures of scenery to get the vegetation right, to photos of people to give me an idea how to describe new characters in the story.

What about you? Do you find pictures stir your imagination?

Terry Spear
Heart of the Wolf

Foto Friday - a visit to my garden

This week, different flowers are blooming. Here are some species tulips. I've forgotten the exact name but I'm sure it's Dutch and hard to spell or pronounce. :-) These tulips are much smaller than regular ones but the bonus is they come back year after year and spread by making more bulbs. (Whereas normal size tulips disappear eventually.) And I really love the way they look. Cute.

Below are primroses which have been in my family for a long time. These hybridize themselves and spread by seeds. I never know what a new seedling's blooms will look like. I love those surprises!

Below are two kinds of double daffodils or Narcissus. Also trouble free and lovely.

Sexy Professions

Have you ever considered your attorney sexy (when you're not grumbling about how much you pay him)? I suppose thanks to TV shows like L.A. Law, lawyers do have a somewhat sexy image. The hero and heroine in my upcoming story for eRed Sage, Sex and the Single Pearl, are both attorneys. I don't particularly find attorneys sexy (especially since I've been dealing with a few for the past five years or so - ugh!), but the profession worked well for the story since the H/H begin as adversaries. Law is a good, adversarial profession and can get your H/H all worked up!

Another decidedly un-sexy profession is that of a librarian (although sitting in the library surrounded by books sounds pretty sexy to me). However, my heroine in my novella, Virgin of the Amazon (Secrets Vol. 21), is just that - a university librarian. I chose that profession for her because it's NOT sexy. She is, of course, the typically repressed librarian (I think that all started with Marian, Madame Librarian in The Music Man). What could be more sensuous than an uptight woman slowly unfurling for the right man?

I went for the opposite extreme in my novella, Hot on Her Heels (coming soon in Secrets Vol. 24). The heroine owns a male strip club in Vegas and the hero is a private investigator working undercover as...a male stripper. Again, their professions function as a plot device to bring them together on the one hand and put them at odds on the other.

For the same reasons, my H/H in Aphrodite's Fire (coming in the fall from eRed Sage) are both bounty hunters. Now, I don't find Duane "Dawg" Chapman sexy, but there's just something about a bounty hunter. Even the label, bounty hunter, is kind of sexy in an outlaw kind of way.

For me there are "sexy" professions and professions that can definitely lend themselves to sexiness and professions that I use just to make the story work better. I recently had to make sure I portrayed my cosmetic surgeon hero in an upcoming Intrigue as a selfless, heroic kind of doc who also worked in a children's burn unit because my editor didn't find cosmetic surgeons very sexy! Is she kidding? They're gods here in So Cal!

Are there any professions you find sexy? Any that you avoid? Any that make you go "ick"?

Deidre's Secret

Deidre's Secret
Coming Wild Rose Press, Climbing Roses Line

When Deidre Roux has premonitions of danger, watch out! Faced with thwarting bank robbers and protecting others from the high school bully, she must reveal her secret to her new friend, Mark Cummings. Can she convince him that she truly sees a world of imminent danger headed their way before it’s too late?
Not only must Mark deal with his girlfriend’s premonitions, which he has a hard time believing, but his convicted uncle has returned home. Humor, suspense and conflict rule the day as Deidre’s crazy aunt tries to write a true crime story on Mark's uncle. Deidre attempts to keep her out of it before she gets mixed up in a much darker business of robberies and murder—her own, if she’s not careful.
I've always loved stories of mystery and intrigue...and adding a paranormal element adds even more fun. When I first wrote about Deidre, she was an adult, serving as an officer in the military, not wanting anyone to know she sees snapshots of future events. Afraid she'd get kicked out of the Army and she gets mixed up in a life and death mess then.
I really enjoyed creating her character and wondered how she would have handled her special gift, that sometimes felt like a curse, when she was a teen. And so I went back and wrote her earlier story: Deidre's Secret.

LaDonna Paulette gives us Butterfly Wishes

Hi everyone, Today, I'm excited that we have LaDonna Paulette visiting with us to tell us about her new book. Welcome, LaDonna!! Please tell us about yourself first.

LaDonna Paulette: I’ve always been a dreamer. Growing up, I was the gal with her head in a book, spinning stories long after the lights went out at night. Like many writers, my road to publication was long. Raising two daughters was a delight I didn’t want to miss out on. And I won’t discuss the dreaded day jobs here. Too boring. Thankfully, my stories kept whispering to me until I faced them. And I’m so glad I did.

I share my life with my husband, Randy, and our two daughters and their families. My five grandchildren bring me constant joy. We live in a small town in Tennessee, and the characters I write about share this setting. We live close to Barkley and KY lakes, and enjoy boating with our family. I was born in Arkansas, and come from a family rich in Southern traditions. It runs deep in my bones, and I’m grateful for those memories. My hope is to create stories that live long after the last page is turned.

Vonda Sinclair: Please tell us about you're new book, BUTTERFLY WISHES, out now from Tiger Publications.

LaDonna: I’d love to. Having experienced great personal loss, two children form a deep bond under an old willow tree; a place they believe is a magical doorway to Heaven. Colin O’Brien’s parents died, and he lives with his granny. Fey Wright lost a mama and, having relocated to this sleepy town of O’Dessa TN with her daddy, isn’t expecting much. What Fey and Colin discover together is a magical journey that brings miracles to light, and the power of belief in this world and the one beyond.

When Fey returns to her hometown, years later as a grown woman, she discovers the true magic of her childhood tree, and that love is a precious gift. Butterfly wishes are waiting for those that truly see.

Vonda: Sounds wonderful! From reading the excerpt, I can tell this is a beautiful, charming and special story. What inspired you to write it?

LaDonna: My story ideas come in scene flashes. My first glimpse of Fey and Collin was quite special, and touched me deeply. They were huddled beneath a willow tree together, looking at me. I wanted to know their story. The vision of them wouldn’t let me go. A few days later, I sat down to write their story, confident they would tell me… if I believed.

Vonda: How inspiring! Please tell us about your favorite character in the book, and why they are so close to your heart.

LaDonna: That’s a tough one, since I’m so character-driven. I love all my characters but, for Butterfly Wishes, I’d have to say Fey. She had this determination when I met her, and her voice was always very strong. Having lost a mama, and moving to a new place had to be scary. Her stubbornness and ability to meet life head-on really touched me. As a woman, she’s grown into the promise of herself and I love that. I loved her sense of discovery too, and loyalty to those she loves. Hmmm, Colin is magical too… Okay, I’ll stick with one.

Vonda: I wish you would tell us more about Colin too! (Perhaps in a comment?) What element of story creation is your favorite?

LaDonna: No doubt about it, characters. They are the soul of my stories. When they walk into my imagination, it’s like seeing an old friend but one I’ve never met before; only way I can describe it. The connection is usually instant and, while there’s much to learn about them, I can feel them in a special way. I give them all the freedom they want, and they know I’ll follow. Only once can I remember trying to tone down a character. Once I realized she wasn’t going to budge, I let her have free rein. Best thing I ever did too. She’s one my favorite characters to this day.

Vonda: I agree with you about characters. What’s next for you?

LaDonna: My second contracted novel, DREAMING OF NICK, will be a Tiger Publications fall release this year. I wanted to explore near-death experiences. In my story, two strangers are intrinsically linked after a car accident. Lisa Hope believes an angel saved her life that wintery night. A year later, her imagined angel walks into her little shop in Mills Pond, TN, and proves to be a flesh and blood man. Souls taken hostage become something else entirely. I really loved writing Liza and Nick’s story, and the magic they capture.

RUBY’S DAUGHTER, my third contracted novel, will be released by Tiger Publications in the spring of 2009. A mother desperately tries to make amends to the daughter she left behind. Being dead is the least of Ruby’s worries as she navigates the past, where it all went wrong, and discovers the truth. I’ll be writing a sequel later this year, and just love this character. Ruby wants more books, big surprise there since she’s the character I spoke about above; the one that didn’t want to be toned down!

Vonda: Both books sound wonderful and unique. I love the paranormal aspects. Congratulations on your additional sales! Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

LaDonna: First off, I’d love to thank you all for stopping by. Sharing my journey has brought me great joy, and I really appreciate the writing community. My question to you all is, “What grabs your attention when it comes to debut books; title, book cover, interviews, or blurbs?”

Vonda: Great question. Thanks again LaDonna for being here with us today!! Everyone, please visit LaDonna Paulette's website.

Or read the charming and entertaining excerpt.
You will also find the book at Amazon.

Fate and Fiction Reading

Life is full of surprises. Some are good, some not. But I must confess the surprises I most remember are the ones coming from the heart or the ones giving me pleasure long after the initial excitement ebbs. When I think of books I enjoy reading, the latter type of surprise comes to mind. You might wonder where I’m going with this, probably thinking I’ll touch upon certain books I enjoy reading time after time. Not the case with today’s blog.

While on vacation in Salem, my husband and I happened upon a bookstore. Once inside, I marveled at the bookseller’s inventory. Every fiction genre imaginable filled those racks and shelves, and the stock included some wonderful research tomes. If a reader couldn’t find what he or she wanted, this would have surprised me. But the biggest surprise awaited me a short time later as I browsed a shelf toward the back of the bookstore. I flipped through two novels, both by Fannie Flagg. Her humorous “voice” immediately resonated with me as a reader, and I found myself reading the first two chapters of both books. My husband and I were scheduled for a tour, so I put the books back on the shelf, fully intending on coming back at some point before we left the historic town and headed for home the next day. Long story short, I never made it back to the bookstore, but I remembered those books and bought them online the next chance that presented. Not too many months later, I noticed a new book by Fannie Flagg on the Bestseller shelf at my favorite brick and mortar. Without hesitation, or reading the back cover blurb as is usually my habit, I picked up the hardcover and proceeded to the cashier. That evening I read three quarters of CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO HEAVEN and found it hard turning off the reading light when the hour grew late. My decision to browse two books from among the thousands offered by the Salem bookstore resulted in my finding an author whose books now rank among my favorites. As with A REDBIRD CHRISTMAS and DAISY FAY AND THE MIRACLE MAN, CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO HEAVEN delivered another pleasant reading surprise. Can’t wait to read Fannie’s next work and those that follow.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself steered toward a particular rack, table or shelf in a bookstore? Once there, have you come across a novel that proved a pleasant surprise and eventually earned the author a spot on your auto-buy list?

Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

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

Why Men Wear Earrings

A businessman meets with his lawyer and stares at the gold earring in his ear, surprised to see the ultra-conservative man wearing it.

"I'm kind of surprised to see you wearing an earring," the businessman said, really taken aback and unable to focus on their business lunch.

"Not a big deal."

The businessman ordered his meal, glanced at the gold hoop dangling from the lawyer's ear and shook his head. It had been a couple of months since he had seen him, but everything else was the same, charcoal gray suit, black tie, perfectly conservative haircut. "I"m just surprised, uhm, so when did you start wearing one?"

The lawyer glanced up at him, his face grim. "Since my wife discovered it in the front seat of my car."

But before that, pirates wore them, didn't they?
:) Terry

Time For Some Tartan

National Tartan Day was April 6. I know I'm a few days late :-) but I wanted to share this with you. Plus I never miss an opportunity to look at men in kilts. ;-)
According to Wikipedia "Tartan Day (part of Scotland Week) celebrates the existing and historical links between Scotland and Scottish descendants in North America. In the United States there are over 30 million people who claim Scottish descent [1]. Tartan Day is held on April 6, the anniversary of the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was created in 1320."
I don't know who created this list but it was forwarded to one of my email loops.


The seamstress that sewed the "Stars and Stripes" was a Scots-American named Betsy Ross.

The first time the "Stars and Stripes " was recognized by a foreign power was by France, when John Paul Jones, a Scot and the father of the U.S. Navy raised it on his ship the U.S.S. Ranger.

The first time the "Stars and Stripes" was raised in outer space was by a Scots-American, Neil Armstrong (who by the way also had the Armstrong Tartan with him).

Nine of the Governors of the original thirteen colonies were of Scottish descent.

A Scot, named MacGregor was the navigator on Columbus' voyage to the New World. (Does this mean that a Scot, actually discovered America?)

Over half the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Scottish or of Scottish descent.

Thirty Five of the supreme Court Justices of The United States were of Scottish Descent.

Nearly one half of the Secretaries of Treasury of the united States were of Scottish Descent.

One Third of all the Secretaries of State were of Scottish Descent.

Our Declaration of Independence was modeled after the Declaration of Arbroath which was signed on April 6, 1320.

Many leaders in our history such as Patrick Henry, Gen. Hugh Mercer, a survivor of the battle of Culloden and hero of the American Revolution, President Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Graham Bell, and William Clark were Scottish or of Scottish descent.

Nearly three fourths of our presidents are of Scottish descent.

President Woodrow Wilson Said: "Every line of strength in American History is a line colored with Scottish blood."

A Scot, James Mackay of St. Charles, drew the map that was used by Lewis and Clark on their "Voyage of Discovery".

One in ten of all Nobel Prize winners are of Scottish descent.

Scottish romance novels written by American women are the hottest. (I came up with that one on my own.)


Hearing Things What Aren't There?

I've been trying to repaint the interior of my house, and last night my daughter and I tackled the bathroom. Now, it had this awful dark checkered pattern and when the kids were younger had splashed toothpaste? or something on it that had bleached out areas. Not wanting to repaper, I opted for painting it. So how to do it? First, we have to use a shellac or oil based paint and then use a texture paint over that. The bathroom is long and narrow, and though we had the fan on and the window open, the fumes from the "odorless" shellac about affixiated us.

I felt as though when I went in to put on a third coat, I was breathing in 100 proof alcohol. But earlier while we were painting together, I kept hearing the prettiest music in the background.

"Are you playing some music in your room?" I asked my daughter.

"Nope. I don't hear anything." She narrowed her eyes at me. "That's not good, Mom."

The music would vanish, and I wouldn't hear anything for quite a while, then a different tune would play, very softly, very far away, but always pleasant and I wanted to know what the instrumental songs were.

"Maybe, someone's playing music next door...outside," I said.

But they weren't.

"Okay, this reminds me of the great composers," I said, trying to make the most of my ghostly music experience, or the hallucinations caused by the shellac, "some would hear the entire pieces of music they composed in their heads before they wrote them down. Just like authors who visualize whole scenes for their stories before they write them." I smiled at her.

She shook her head at me. "Not good, Mom."

So I hear music that isn't really playing. What's wrong with that? Music helps to make the job go more quickly. Even if it's really not there.
Terry Spear, Heart of the Wolf, The Vampire...In My Dreams

Anne Rainey serves up some Forbidden Fruit

Hi, today I'm happy to say we have Red Sage author Anne Rainey as a guest here!

Anne lives in a small town way out in the middle of no-where-ville. She is a gorgeous blonde with wonderful curves and a money tree in the backyard. She never wants for anything and she always loves everyone. Of course, she wasn't always this way.

It all started on one Rainey day, as she was sitting on her comfy couch, reading a romance novel and sipping a hot chocolate. She realized the book she was reading seemed to lack a certain 'vavavoom!'. Thus, the talented, beautiful, and rich Anne Rainey was born.

Clearly, Anne is a mere figment. A ghostly figure that pops in and out of my head like a drive-by author. Nevertheless, I do so love it when she's visiting, because her imagination really is wickedly delicious! She'll bring you fantasies and erotic delights that will have you grabbing the ice water!

Nicole North: Welcome Anne! What a sexy cover! Please tell us about Forbidden Fruit out now from eRed Sage.

Anne Rainey: Veterinarian assistant, Ava Sweet has lusted after bad boy Luke McGiffin since high school and she's tired of him treating her like a kid sister. It's time to show the hunky roofer her feminine side.

The plan: let Jen, her best friend, give her a makeover, then tempt Luke right out of his sexy jeans. But can Ava handle a man with such strong appetites or is she in over her head?

Nicole: I love reading about those bad boys. What inspired you to write this story?

Anne: I’ve always wanted to write a ‘makeover’ story and I loved the idea of writing about a heroine who was such a huge tomboy. Totally sexless. It was interesting to give her that makeover and watch Luke, the hero, get all hot and bothered. LOL

Nicole: Sounds like fun! What element of story creation is your favorite?

Anne: The love scenes. I enjoy the many emotions, involving all the senses and watching the scene come alive in front of me. It’s exciting for me to watch two people come together in such a beautiful way. Does that make me a voyeur? LOL

Nicole: If it does, I must be a voyer too. LOL When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Anne: It sort of sneaked up on me. LOL! I hadn’t really thought about it until one day I was reading a book that had zero pizzazz. I wanted to read hotter scenes and more aggressive heroes and what better way than to create them myself? So, I started a book...then reality hit as I realized there’s a lot more to it than sitting down and writing. LOL

Nicole: But you've succeeded! Do you have any advice for those yet unpublished?

Anne: Yes. Research your craft. The internet is such a great tool. There’s tons of information at your fingertips and it’s all free! Another tip: join the RWA as well as your local writing group. Become an active member and get your face out there. Show people you’re serious about getting published.

Nicole: Great advice. What's next for you?

Anne: I’m currently working on a vampire romance series (not erotic). It’s so much fun because it’s such a break from my normal erotic contemporary stuff. The first one comes out later this year with The Wild Rose Press and my editor there has expressed an interest in the whole series, so that’s exciting!

Nicole: Congratulations!!! Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

Anne: What’s your favorite part of a romance? Is it the sexual tension, the love scenes, that first attraction scene, the happy ending, or something different entirely?

Nicole: Good question! Thanks so much, Anne!! It's been a pleasure interviewing you!

Anne: Thanks for the chance to talk about my writing! It was a pleasure.

Nicole: Please click here to buy the book. Hey, it's only 2.99. What a great price!

Links to Anne's website, Myspace page or to join her newsletter...

What Brings You Happiness?--Or Happiness Can be a Great Book Cover

Okay, I’ll admit lots of things make me happy. Good health. A loving family. Wonderful friends. A vacation getaway to a favorite place or new one. News that I’ve sold another book. The list goes on. But something not already listed brought me immense happiness and a reason for celebration this past week. What’s at the root of her happiness this time, you might ask? I’ll gladly provide the answer. My cover art file for my upcoming Ellora’s Cave novel, TORMENTED, arrived in my inbox. No matter that my morning had been filled with mundane errands and household tasks. Simply seeing that email brought the same level of excitement as I’d experienced when a child on Christmas morning. But when I finished clicking and opening, there wasn’t any wrapping paper or ribbon to tidy up this time. Instead, a work of cover art that perfectly meshes with my story.


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.

For several years, Eve’s and Charles’s romantic story remained only in my mind. There were some scenes that needed more fleshing out. Some secrets and details the couple needed to divulge before I could tell their tale. When I submitted TORMENTED to my editor at Ellora’s Cave, I hoped this story of my heart would find a home. I haven’t written a historical romance in several years, but TORMENTED reminded me of how much…here comes that word again…happiness filled my heart at the story’s writing process and acceptance. Historical romances were my first reading love as a teenager, and that passion for bygone eras has translated to my passion for writing my own historicals.

As a very visual woman, I’m drawn to stories wearing appealing covers. If an author isn’t on my auto-buy list, a cover that artfully and interestingly conveys the subject matter contained within an e-file, paperback or hardcover novel, finds me more inclined to read the story blurb/back-cover blurb and the first chapter. Of course, it’s all about the story and characters when it comes to reading, but a great cover finds me considering a book I might have otherwise missed. To date, my favorite book cover is ROUGHRIDER. I’ll admit I’m quite fond of the sexy rodeo hero pictured on the front of my latest release from Ellora’s Cave.

Pretty yummy, my cover rendering of Jack Dodson. And speaking of yummy, between now and the end of May, I’m hosting a reader giveaway of a $25 Godiva gift card. One winner will be drawn from among those who have responded to the following question and who are also subscribers of my e-newsletter.

You may subscribe to my newsletter by sending a blank e-mail to –

Question for Gift Card Giveaway:

What is your favorite book cover?

Contact Shawna here with your answer to the book cover question

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

DARA's Dreaming in Dallas

Had a blast at the Dreaming in Dallas conference. If I hadn't had such a horrible cold, I would have stayed longer. But everyone at DARA was really nice and I thoroughly enjoyed the keynote speakers' addresses. I left after lunch though because I was feeling so poorly, but would have loved staying for more of the great lectures and dinner too!

New Review for Heart of the Wolf:

Bella is independent but a realist which makes an interesting alpha heroine. Rather than following the popular trend with multiple shape-shifting types, this book focuses on Wolf packs as lupus garou. I enjoyed that for lupus garou, there are "nationalities" as well as packs. There is enough humor and hot romance to balance the suspense and information in the storyline. HEART OF THE WOLF is an enjoyable romantic suspense and shape shifter story you won't want to miss.
Reviewed by Cy KorteFor

Terry Spear
Heart of the Wolf
Winning the Highlander's Heart

Welcome Spring!

These are some spring flower photos I took in my garden--tulips, daffodils and a lavender anemone.

Choose Your Hero

I know, I know, you've seen this picture before on my posts. I just can't help myself. I'm tossing Becks out here because I'm going to see him tomorrow night - OK, me and about 25,000 other people. That's right, I'm going to a Los Angeles Galaxy soccer game. I'm a big soccer fan, and it has nothing to do with Becks - really, I mean it, trust me! My brother was always a big fan of soccer and went to Mexico for the World Cup in 1986. When the World Cup came to the U.S. in 1994, I went to a few matches at the Rose Bowl. Then I had kids, and they started playing soccer. It has now become their favorite sport to play. We watch all the "soccer" movies, like Goal, Kicking and Screaming, She's the Man, Gracie. We watched the World Cup games on TV when it was held in Germany a few years ago, and we all had our favorite teams (and were thrilled when Italy won it all with penalty kicks!).

My enjoyment of the game and my fondness for this particular soccer player, inspired me to write a romantic comedy about an English soccer star who arrives on the shores of Los Angeles, expecting to find fame, fortune, and accolades. (He finds all that, but more importantly he finds love.) I loved writing this book and had so much fun with it. I think it was special because my hero was fully formed in my head when I started writing the book. Usually, my heroes grow and change as I write them, sometimes surprising me at the end.

Has anyone from real life (you know, that other world that exists outside there somewhere) clicked for you as a hero? Did you see Johnny Depp in the POC movies, snap your fingers, and say, "there's my next pirate"? Did you drool over your keyboard as you fashioned Daniel Craig into your own spy? Do you envision Matt Damon as you crank out your action scenes?

Do dish about the men who inspire your heroes.

Heart of the Wolf Review, Contests, and Ghostly Blog

New Review for Heart of the Wolf!

Long and Short Reviews
4 1/2 Books!

This action-packed, fast-paced adventure was a page turner that moves from moment to moment with an interesting subplot involving a murdering red werewolf, which is resolved in an unexpected way. As we move from the wilds of Oregon to the city of Portland to the zoo (yes, the zoo… and a funny story that is!) we are given a glimpse into a love that is amazing in it’s intensity as Bella and Devlyn fight for the right to be together. Terry Spear is a fabulous voice in the supernatural genre, and I look forward to more from this author. A fun, rather intense read that will keep your interest till the last page.
Review by Viscaria

Contests where you can enter to win a chance at a free autographed copy of Heart of the Wolf!!

And I've posted Terror in Palo Duro Canyon, a true ghostly tale in Texas at!

Terry Spear gives us Heart of the Wolf

Hi, everyone, today I'm interviewing our own Terry Spear about her new book, Heart of the Wolf, released today! Congratulations, Terry! Please tell us about Heart of the Wolf.

Terry Spear: While searching for clues of a lupus garou who is killing women in the rainy Portland suburbs, Bella Wilder becomes the hunted. She had run away from the gray pack who had taken her in when she was she young. And she will do so again before the brutish pack leader can have her.

Devlyn Greystoke has a mission—return Bella to the gray pack for safekeeping before she exposes their kind and gets herself killed. But little red wolves are in short supply and high demand and Bella’s determined to be the bait to flush out the killer. Keeping her out of danger is only half the trouble Devlyn encounters as his compulsion to make her his mate grows and she fights being his, fearful the pack leader will kill him.

Volan Smith, the gray alpha leader, claimed Bella when she was young. Now that he has located her, he wants Bella back. And he will stop at nothing to have her.

Vonda: I've read this book and it is awesome in every way! It has sizzling sexual tension and I'm still in love with Devlyn. Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.

Terry: Ack! I love them all. :) Rather than talk about the main characters, I'll mention Zooman Thompson, who's a fun secondary character because he is so adamant about "saving" the red wolf in the Cascades, when here it is Bella Wilder, red lupus garou. As if Bella and Devlyn didn't have enough troubles already with the police, the red male lupus garous, and the gray pack leader who wants her for his own, Thompson is always creating more trouble.

Here's an excerpt about him: "The way Thompson had hunted her in the woods was reminiscent of a bull dog, determined, dependable to a fault, not someone easily thwarted.... He reminded her of a mountain man she’d once met, caring the same for nature’s habitat, the same aura of wildness surrounding him. Except the mountain man wanted to be left alone with no human contact. Thompson was different."

One reviewer said: "This man keeps complicating Bella’s situation and adds some funny dilemmas for Bella and Devlyn to work around and right in the midst of all of their life threatening problems." ~Recommended Read, 5 Angels, FAR, Stephanie B.

Vonda: That's a great review! What element of this story was the hardest for you?

Terry: Deciding who the villain is (as it is in all of my stories), but after I decided that, I added a fun twist, then had to go back through and give hints about it. :)

Vonda: Very cool! When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Terry: Years ago and I started writing children's books. They're one of the hardest sells, although one of them was sent to a senior editor, but they thought it was too similar to a story that they'd just published. Then I began to write historical romance, and really found my niche with the paranormal.

Vonda: You sure have. What do you wish you’d known before becoming published?

Terry: To enter the Golden Heart before it was too late!!! I sold two YA paranormal books to Medallion, lost my chance to submit to the GH, and then two years later the YA line was cancelled and my books had never seen print--one month before the release of the first. I'm entering the Rita this time!!!

Vonda: How exciting that is. I hope you win! What’s next for you?

Terry: I just sold Betrayal of the Wolf (finished manuscript) and Allure of the Wolf (on proposal) to my editor at Sourcebooks. So for now, my next job is writing Allure of the Wolf!

Vonda: Wow that's exciting! Congratulations again! Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

Terry: So if you had your choice and could shapeshift, what would you like to be and why?

Vonda: Nice question! Everyone please visit Terry's website at

Click here if you'd like to BUY THE BOOK