Saturday, March 27, 2010

How To Write That First Novel

[NOTE: I’ve been fortunate over the past five years to be intimately involved with a writer’s group that has allowed me to become acquainted with numerous authors, publishers, screen writers, and literary agents. They have talked openly about the publishing industry in general and their specific genres, and have offered considerable advice. Over time, I’ve grown to realize how valuable that guidance was. So over the next few weeks, I hope to share some of that wisdom with you.]

“What do I have to do to be a writer?”

Write.

Believe it or not, it’s as simple as that. Writers write. It’s what we do. But you’d be surprised how many potential authors forget that.

I’ve met several potential authors who have bragged about all the work they’ve done on their project. One had a detailed outline of their proposed novel. Another had 3x5 cards filled with biographical notes for each character. A third had a notebook in which he kept hours worth of research. When I asked them how far they had gotten in their book, they admitted they had not written anything yet. These people completely miss the point.  Research, plot, and character are necessary, but not anywhere near as important as actually writing the book.

So get out there and start writing.

“That’s easy for you to say. You’re a published author and have plenty of time to write. I don’t.”

No one has time to write. You have to make time.

The sad truth about publishing today is that, unless you are a well-established name like Stephen King, K.J. Rawlings, or Dan Brown, most writers maintain a day job (or have a very understanding significant other with a well-paying job and a lot of patience).  I get up at 5 AM, rush around to feed the rabbits and get dressed, and am off to work by 6 AM.  If I’m lucky, I get home around 5 PM. Then I have to feed, clean, and spend time with the rabbits; do chores and errands; and try to have some meager semblance of a social life.  I’m lucky if I get five hours of sleep a night.

I fit writing into that hectic schedule because I love to write.  I need to write.  It’s my passion.  To do that, though, I have to make sacrifices.  When I’m in full-fledged writing mode, my Xbox sits idle and my stack of books to read grows taller and taller.  And I don’t want to admit to the number of times I’ve spent several hours cranking out a chapter, only to be greeted afterwards by sets of mopey brown eyes and furry dejected faces giving me that why-didn’t-you-play-with-me look.

Anyone who truly and passionately wants to write can find time during the day to do so.  Get up an hour early or stay up an hour late (as long as you devote that entire time solely to writing).  If you commute by public transportation, use that time to write.  Devote some of your “down time” to writing.  Sure, you might have to forego watching American Idol or curtail your time surfing cute pet sights on the Internet, but are these really more important than getting your book written?

“Oh, come on.  How much writing do you really expect me to get done in an hour a day?”

Let me put it this way.  In that hour, anyone can write a single page.  If you type in double space, the way manuscripts should be drafted, that’s approximately 300 words a day.  If you do that every day for a year, when you’re done you will have 365 pages totaling over 100,000 words.  That, my friends is a novel.

So what are you waiting for?  Close down the Internet, call up your word processor, and start writing.

NEXT BLOG: How to write well.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

WRITER'S WRITE...WRITING PARTNERS FEUD



IF I HAVE A CABOODLE THEN WHERE'S MY KIT
By: Angelica Hart and Zi

Angelica likes how words fill her mouth, the roll of them on her tongue, and sometimes, she just thinks cause it sounds right, it fits and it would take a hypnotist to convince her differently, even at that she might not concede. This leads me to the point, we wordsmith often within our stories, working under the philosophy that if the new word aptly and efficiently communicates the point we intended then it is the perfect word to use. The process makes for moments that are enjoyable. We are word lovers and as amateur lexicographers we play with meaning and nuance of words constantly. To roll out an example, we have used words like lamestorming, typonesse, well embrowed, and don't stopportunities. Here is a sample of how this point plays:

(While Zi was writing this piece Angelica entered the office, craned her neck to see the screen... He toggled to Minesweeper knowing this would torment her)
A: Are you writing about me? (She bounces a soccer ball off the back of his orange rocking chair and catches it)
Z: Yes. (Notices the soccer ball) You been balling? (One corner of his mouth and one eyebrow rises in unison considering innuendo)
A: Practicing headers with Mo. (She points to the yellow Lab who is asleep and snoring) Watch. (She bounces the ball off of the head of the un-phased cur and catches it) See, he's good. Taught him. (Her pride evident)
Z: Finnne... but I taught him to play dead.
A: Watcha writing about me? (She toggles back to Word and tries to position herself to see the screen)
Z: Nudgy are we?
A: Was inoculated at age four for nudgy-streptococcus. (She spins the ball on her finger as if disinterested even as she looks past the ball and speed-reads)
Z: Stripped a what?
A: Don't change the subject. Whatja write?
Z: Insecure? Huh?
A: Does a bear use a toilet in the woods?
Z: Ahhh, classic avoidance... Yes... I see the carnivorous sensibility eating virus of apprehension. (He sniggers at his clever word usage) Why, yes, I'm writing about you.
A: If it's good continue, if not continue... I know how to edit. So what is it?
Z: It's about the caboodle.
A: Ah, you read my latest iteration of Pawn Poke'er. It was the perfect word for the sentence. (Her voice had a tad of smugness to it as she rolled the ball into the corner)
Z: Angelica… it didn’t make sense. There is no such thing as a caboodle. You need to delete it.
A: Yes there is. Googled it. It means everything. Example… (Writes in the air with her finger.) Let’s take the whole caboodle with us. It is U.S. slang. (She does the James Cagney soft shoe ta-da step from Yankee Doodle Dandy)
Z: (Gives that lifted eyebrow that questions sanity) I know that... but...
A: Then I’ve made my point, perfect for the sentence. (She interrupts with the ease of a fork through milk toast)
Z: No… No… No…
A: Yes… Yes… Yes…. (She loves the fencing and would have retorted, "Take that picket... and that stockade!" but Zi's parry silences her)
Z: You used it wrongly, didn’t you?
A: (Grins) Nope... Nope... Nope!
Z: (Pulls up the word document, points indicating the sentence and shakes his head) There’s no kit.
A: Sooo...
Z: I understand kit. There's a first aid kit. You need kit in it. You need kit to have it. There's a kit car. You need kit to make it work otherwise it makes no sense. Remember our press kit? Kit... Kat? A beaver's baby is a kit. Your caboodle needs a kit. Hook the kit up with the caboodle. (His chin juts out in a decisive manner as if the Mighty Oz was saying... I have spoken) You simply can’t use the caboodle without the kit.
A: Who died and made you the kit police?
Z: Ha ha. Have you heard about the man with five penises?
A: What!!?
Z: His underwear fits him like a glove. (Using his best Ace Ventura voice)
A: Ah, glove... You're throwing down the gauntlet. I shall pick it up, slap you on each cheek with these two words... No kit!
Z: (Pulls his official Star Wars lightsaber off the shelf, makes a vvvvvvvv sound as if it's lit, couldn't be, he hadn't replaced the batteries... He takes a combative stance) You need the kit. Kit... Kit... Kit... 'carson it is required to express the point.
A: (Looks at him and shakes her head) You are a strange man.
Z: I'm rubber and you're glue... whatever you say... bounces off me... and sticks to you. (He had the naa-naa look which he had perfected)
A: I'll prove my point. Google it.
Z: (After a few minutes doing the research he turns and reiterates) Just as I said. Nice word usage. Kudos.

Just goes to show you being passionate about a word is like a spider’s web, it makes for a sticky situation. What do you think, can caboodle be used without the word kit? Should caboodle be used at all in a serious sentence? Should Zi just let Angelica always have her way? Angelica thinks so, don’t you?

Z: Excuse me… you need to delete those last two questions.
A: Here we go again. (She grabs the soccer ball and tosses it at him... he catches it... she runs... he chases... the dogs follow... barking... lunging... flapping tongue... and so the whole kit and caboodle of them raced from room to room screaming and barking)

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who emails us at angelicahartandzi@yahoo.com and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a gift and add you to any future mailings.


Angelica Hart and Zi
KILLER DOLLS
SNAKE DANCE
CHASING GRAVITAS ~ July 2010

Champagne Books
angelicahartandzi.com




Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Proposal Day with Author Marianne Stephens


It’s Proposal Day

Ah, love and romance. They meet. Fall in love. He proposes. Spring is coming and thoughts of single women now turn from “we’re just a couple” relationships to “I want it all”…that “Happily-Ever-After” ending of marriage.

Visions of a man getting down on one knee, lovingly looking up into the eyes of the woman he loves and asking her to marry him, fill the heads of little girls from childhood when we first play “Let’s Pretend” with a neighborhood boy. We want that fantasy wedding, white gown and veil, new life, our own family.

But first, you may have to kiss a lot of toads along the way. No one warns you that finding “Mr. Right” may take forever. And, the older you get, the younger a man wants his date/wife to be. Plus, the more set in your ways you become, just as a man does.

Where do you find that man who’ll propose? Night spots? Concerts? The Internet? Blind dates?

Some are lucky. They find the right man and seem to know it immediately. I remember meeting my husband and thinking “this is the kind of man I could take home to meet my mother”. A month after we met, we argued. Then, we “made up”.  We each said we loved the other. Then my husband said, “I guess we better go get a ring.” That was it. My proposal. Simple and to the point. No knee bending. We married six months later and are still married after almost 40 years.

Some aren’t so lucky. Their dates lead nowhere and they wallow through the muddy waters of the dating pool longer than desired. Are they being picky? Are the guys they date confirmed bachelors? Do women have a list of characteristics they want in a man that makes it impossible for anyone to live up to?  Do they keep dating the same type of “marriage phobic” men?

Do men actually go through the act of formally proposing? When one of my daughters got engaged, her husband proposed in front of the entire family…and got down on one knee. Very romantic. Sweet. Charming. They divorced two years later.

Proposals come in all types of encounters, acts, and conversations…and some are “surprise” proposals (like at a football game, live and on TV).  The knee bit is nice, but may not be what happens to everyone. Declaring love for each other and the realization that you want to spend the rest of your life with that loved one inspires a marriage proposal.

I think about my books, and I’ve never had my hero drop to a knee and propose. Declare his love and propose, yes. But I’ve never used the formal ritual. Does it take away something from the hero’s appeal? I don’t think so…not in my books or “real” life! In “Anything You Can Do”, my hero proposes in a special romantic way…you’ll have to read the book to find out how!

Has someone proposed to you? Have you proposed to someone? In these times, it’s not taboo for a woman to propose…just maybe out of the ordinary. What’s your story?

Visit http://www.mariannestephens.net (mainstream contemporary/paranormal romance books).
New ebook release, “Anything You Can Do”, is available at: http://www.breathlesspress.com.
Photo: Flickr: acjetter’s photostream



Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Joy of Books

I love books.  I'm not referring merely to the paperback that you pick up at your local bookstore so you can read it on the subway or at the beach or in bed late at night.  I'm talking about the existential concept of books.  Of owning a personal library.  Of having a study whose walls are lined with shelves, each one jammed with books.  Paperbacks.  Trades.  Hardcovers.  Special editions. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not adverse to digital books.  I just had my first novel published as an e-book and am very pleased with the results.  The editing process and the production quality are just as good as anything in print.  And the popularity of digital books is increasing.  The competition between Kindle, Nook, and the other e-book readers will eventually play itself out (like the competition between laserdisks, Beta, and VHS) so that all the formats will be compatible.  I can foresee a time decades from now when books become collector's items (just like the over-sized videotape boxes from the 1980s), and most books purchased will be in electronic format.  And I hope to be part of that publishing trend.

But my dirty little secret will always be the love affair I have with the walls of print books lining my study. 

I'm not alone.  While back in Boston last week I spent an afternoon with two good friends, Curtis and Ron, horror aficionados like me.  The conversation covered a wide range of subjects, from movies to video games to graphic novels.  And books.  Ron loves collector's editions and picks up a copy whenever he has the chance.  (To his credit, he bought a digital copy of my book.  Thanks.)  I appreciate his passion for collector's editions since I feel pretty much the same way about books.

A lot of you know what I'm talking about.  Digital books are less expensive, and you can download scores of them into an electronic reader.  But for us, nothing beats the feel of a book in our hands.  Or the way they look so awesome on our bookshelf.  Or the fun of thumbing through one while relaxing in the backyard.  I know one literary agent who has a Kindle and is constantly downloading books for business purposes, but who confided in me that when he wants to read for pleasure he prefers a print copy.

As a fitting postscript to this blog, when I got back from Boston this afternoon I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me -- a package from a used book store in England.  Inside was the hardcover edition of James Herbert's The Fog from the 1970s.  Slightly-brittle yellow-pages.  A frayed book cover.  And that familar intoxicating smell of musty pages.

The cheapest fix a book junkie can get.

Meet "New to Me" Author Kiki Howell


Excerpt From A Questionable Hero Available Now at http://www.shadowfirepress.com
A divine proclivity to perceive imminent danger made Shaebiel turn in time to glimpse the glinting silver of a demon’s sword inches from slashing into her flesh. As her body tensed for the pain, a sharp metallic clash rang in her ears followed by the shrill grate of metal against metal. Two long daggers crossed beside her, and moments later a human form was reduced to smoky ash on the blacktop. To her utter confusion and dismay, when she followed the length of the sword that had saved her, it was held by a demon—a devilish being with magnetic silver eyes.
These eyes, lighter than the inky black of most of his kind, bore into hers, searched hers. As an angel warrior gifted with empathic abilities she could feel lust burning over the rush of his more erratic feelings of fear, confusion and shame. It could have been a minute or an hour they stood there, because time seemed to stand still wrapped in the embrace of this man’s stare. Her angel’s sword of light remained down at her side instead of being jabbed into the cavity of his chest to kill him. At the same time, he slowly returned his weapon to his side rather than coming for her. They were opposing sides of the war in a shocked stalemate, entranced by each other, out of sync with the natural order of events.
Before she could figure out a plan of action, a sword of light wielded by another Angel warrior seared through the demon’s hip. His cry cut through the background noise of the fighting, causing her rapid breathing to pause. He grabbed at the burning flesh and his sooty hair fell over his face. Another angel, seeing the demon who had saved her as an obvious threat given his proximity, had come to her rescue as well.  She stood there frozen as if she had never been trained for such a battle.
The attacking angel warrior to her right was still in a duel with his own demon. His one light sword had stopped a metal dagger in mid-air. Metal forged with evil intent could not cut through the light produced by heavenly beings. At the same time, his other sword stabbed a second time at the demon before her. It seared his thigh. His cry was cut off to a mere rush of air as if he had been punched in the stomach. Then, her questionable hero fell between two trash cans adorning the asphalt land. She had to hand it to the other angel for trying to fight two demons at once. The angel warrior’s aim may have been off, but his mission had been successful. He had unknowingly saved her from her savior. The warring emotions of this evil incarnation now at her feet struck her with the impact of a bludgeon.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

WRITER'S WRITE...WRITING PARTNERS FEUD



LARES AND PENATES
By: Angelica Hart and Zi

Zi was sitting in front of the computer typing, wearing a visor that read, Bird Crap Happens... Run! This his homage to Hitchcock.

Today we are outlining the plot of a novella we are planning. The working title is PLATINUM ARROW. I want it to have a sports subtext but I am having difficulty convincing her. No, she is not obstinate for stubborn's sake, but she does conspire to stand strong on her opinions. I admire that quality, have a little of that myself. Thus, being at loggerheads is a huge part of every day.

So the question is what makes Angelica unique and special. What comprises her rare genius. I believe it comes from a lariat she has pulled tightly about perception of self, believing in her own mind. She embodies an earnest trust in her gifts. Knowing her you notice she walks to the beat of a different accordion player and does not see it. This oblivious quality is her blessing and the readers' gift.

This makes her sound freaky-deeky. Yep. She is. She is a lark in a flock of ravens.

Seeking her lares and penates as well as the next day's lunch Angelica was at the AC-a-ME. No, not the place the coyote gets his special catch-the-road-runner paraphernalia but our local grocery store. She asked the deli clerk as she pointed directly at it for a pound of pastrami. The sweet young lady responded, "That is spiced ham, ma'am." Angelica shot back, "Who asked you?"

I know Angelica and whereas that appeared mean, there is not a malicious or cruel molecule in her. I believe she honestly thought it was pastrami and was not about to be dissuaded from that knowledge.

I share this story for one reason and that is to help explain the mentality of us as writers. We must be committed to a point, and so committed against contradictory opinion or even truth. We must create non-existent worlds and they must be real and believable. That takes courage and conviction. It is easy to slip into word picturing stuff we know but far more difficult growing the acid hemp to clutch cargo weave the wreaking rugs placed on the taupe floors of Renads Eloquence of the alien world Revlar.

A: What are you writing? (Angelica enters the room and leans over Zi's shoulder and reads)
Z: A Blog.
A: That diatribe makes me sound mean. (Angelica flipper-smacked his forearm a minimum of eleven times) I wasn't that harsh to that counter girl.
Z: You should have seen her face. She looked whoopee-cushion assaulted. Mouth agape. Eyes bulging. (He trying to imitate the face)
A: She insulted me.
Z: Correcting you?
A: No!
Z: Then how?
A: She called me old. (She tried tugging upon Zi's guilt place with pouty lip and a pall of sad eyes)
Z: Spiced ham is code for you old codger?
A: No. She called me ma'am. Everyone calls my mother and aunts ma'am. I am not a ma'am.
Z: Sorry to tell you this, but when you weren't watching, sometime after plucking your first gray hair and diapering your grandchild, you became a ma'am.
A: I refuse to accept that. (She turned her face, presented a nose-floater position and acted offended)
Z: Forever young is a myth of the mind.
A: Then I have a mythy mind. And if you ever call me ma'am...
Z: What?
A: I'll install parental controls on all your sports blogs and websites.
Z: Like you can find them. (His words rolled out between laughter)
A: What are lares and penates?
Z: The ancient gods of the household. In this reference sundries and household stuff. Thought I'd use them as characters in PLATINUM ARROW. (Showed his research)
A: Give me a minute. (Angelica using one of the programs on the computer, fashioned a card, printed it and spent time personalizing it)
Z: What's that?
A: An apology to that deli clerk.
Z: You don't have to do that.
A: Actually I do. I think she spit on my spiced ham.
Z: I ate that.
A: I know.
Z: You opted for soup.
A: I know.
Z: You dog.
A: I know.

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who emails us at angelicahartandzi@yahoo.com and leaves an s-mail address, we will send you a gift and add you to any future mailings.

Angelica Hart and Zi
KILLER DOLLS
SNAKE DANCE
CHASING YESTERDAY ~ July 2010
angelicahartandzi.com

KILLER DOLLS and SNAKE DANCE IS AVAILABLE
Champagne Books
www.champagnebooks.com



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Getting to know Author Kayelle Allen & a CONTEST





CONTEST: All who comment will be entered to win one free download of two short stories from Kayelle. One is Human Perfect, about spies in the android industry, and the other is Whiskey and Wine, the inspiration for Surrender Love.

****
Tell us about the Tarthian Empire. What inspired you to create this place and all the inhabitants there? How many books do you see for it?

The idea for the Tarthian Empire was to create a vast group of worlds with a rich history, and then write books within that setting. I could see no logical reason to create a new world with different life forms and rules every time I wanted to write a story. This was the logical way to go, in my mind. I have various empires and federations all over the galaxy for future works.

If I had to write books only set in the Tarthian Empire for the rest of my life, I would never run out of stories. The empire was founded in their year 4273 Tradestandard when Empress Destine Pietan united thirteen worlds. She also set up a standard of measurement for everything from dates to coins to property, and required all planets in the empire to use it. Known as Tradestandard, it is still in use. Everything is based on what is used on the planet Tarth. The empire has grown to twenty-two worlds by the time the first Tarthian Empire book takes place, in 4659. Until 4645, non-humans had not been discovered. The feline Kin were first, and three of their leaders bartered for a treaty with the empire in return for helping them find another race. The satyr-like Tyrans were next. They had advanced space travel, and often hunted the Kin for sport. They were conquered by Empress Rheyn Destoiya, having been pointed out by the Kin. Shortly after, the planet Ezraki was discovered. Peopled by the Chiasmii, who were all dual-gendered, it was the final non-human world known by the beginning of the first book. I plan to add one more group of non-humans in the not too distant future.

What is the reading order of the Tarthian Empire series? If I was a first time reader of your work, what do you recommend starting with?

First time readers could literally start anywhere and work their way around the overlapping books. However, if you’re a purist who likes to start with book one and work your way forward, then At the Mercy of Her Pleasure is first.

Here is the chronological order of the books based on the empire’s Tradestandard dates, by year.

4659 - Wulf
4662 - At the Mercy of Her Pleasure
4664 - Alitus
4664 - Jawk
4664 - Surrender Love
4664 - Surrender Trust
4664 - Surrender Will
4665 - When I Breathe

Reading order for the Antonello Brothers series (Loose Id)
At the Mercy of Her Pleasure - 3/23/10
For Women Only - 6/1/10
When I Breathe - coming 2011

Reading order for the Tales of the Chosen trilogy: (Liquid Silver Books)
Wulf  - available now
Alitus  - available now
Jawk  - available now

Reading order for the Surrender trilogy: (Loose Id)
Surrender Love  - available now
Surrender Trust  - coming 2010
Surrender Will  - coming 2011

You have an upcoming release in March called At The Mercy Of Her Pleasure from Loose Id. Please tell us a little about it and if this is part of the Tarthian Series.

Yes, At the Mercy is part of the series. In fact, it was the first book I wrote, and was released six years ago with a different publisher. The sequel, For Women Only cried out for another story to feature the brother-heroes. Because I wanted to do that without splitting the books across different publishers, I pitched the idea of re-releasing Mercy and Women and following them  up with a third book. Here are the tag and blurb.

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure
She steals one kiss and her pheromones addict him. How can he return to his master now that she has him at the mercy of her pleasure?

Senth holds a lofty position in the elite Thieves' Guild. Drugged since puberty to suppress his feral half-feline side, nothing suppresses his daredevil, risk-loving human half. His master offers him a deal. Work with a Better, an enhanced woman with addictive, pleasure-laced pheromones, and he'll buy and free Senth's cruelly enslaved older brother. The job? Grab-and-go. The condition? Remain a virgin. The drug he takes ensures it, no matter how tempting the woman or her pheromones. The problem? Nothing goes right. The job outlasts the drug's effect. All Senth wants is one touch, one kiss, one oh-so-tempting lick of her perfect, lush skin. The downside? With his brother's freedom at stake, how can he risk putting himself at the mercy of her pleasure?


Your work is very popular with readers. Did you ever expect this when you first started out writing? Are you ever nervous when you have a new release out to how they may react?

Thank you, Dawn! I started out believing that people would like the characters if I could reveal them the way I saw them myself. It’s been wonderful to see how well-loved they are. What amazes me is that Pietas is gaining a following. He is the uber villain, but I admit, he does have his soft side. I write three-dimensional characters, so I suppose I shouldn’t be a surprise that there are levels to him that make readers want to know more.

Nervous? Yes and no. I know I’ve written my best, and I have faith in the editors, proofers, and the cover art. When the book is released, it will be as perfect as the publisher and I can make it. I was more nervous at first. Now, I have people waiting for the release date and a lot of excitement surrounds the actual event.

On March 23rd, when At the Mercy releases, I’ll be throwing a party on my yahoo group, Romance Lives Forever. I’ve invited dozens of authors to join me in a two-day free-for-all of excerpts and posting. All genres and heat ratings will be represented, so it really will be a fun bash. How can I be nervous surrounded by friends?

The party is 3/23-24, because on March 24th, The Last Vhalgenn releases as an audiobook from the publisher AudioLark. http://audiolark.com Imagine 48 hours of posting and excerpts… it will be wild. Authors wanting more info should join Romance Lives Forever. I’ll be posting about it there. http://tinyurl.com/rlf4ever

If you could meet any character from your books, who would it be and what would you do together?

It would be Luc and what we would do is none of your business. LOL Actually, I’d try to talk him into taking me back to the Tarthian Empire with him. I’d be happy as his pet, for goodness sake. Anything for Luc. ^_^


Surrender Love has to be my favorite Tarthian book ever though I love the others as well. There is just something about Luc that calls to me and makes me yearn to cuddle with him. What/who inspires this character and do you plan to have more stories that center on Luc and Izzy?

Thank you, Dawn. Absolutely, you will see more of Luc and Rah. The next two books in the Surrender trilogy focus on them, and they will be guest characters in other books that take place in the empire.

Luc was originally a background character in At the Mercy of Her Pleasure. My critique group asked when I was going to do his story, and my first reaction was that he didn’t have one, beyond the basic sketch I do with all characters. After the fourth email from readers asking me the same thing, I realized I had to do some work on his backstory! Once I let him out of the mold I’d fashioned for him, Luc took center stage. He’s been in every book set in the Tarthian Empire.

The actor who is the physical model for Luc is Dennis Haysbert 24, The Unit, Waiting to Exhale). I have an Allstate poster right above and behind my monitor. With all apologies to Allstate, I cut off everything but Dennis (who is their spokesperson) and the background. When I glance up, it’s like Luc is looking at me with a Mona Lisa-esque smile. His eyes seem to stare right at me. I consider him my muse. An autographed photo of Luke Goss (odd coincidence on names, huh?) as Prince Nuada from Hellboy II: The Golden Army is just to the left. Nuada resembles Pietas, another character who is Luc’s nemesis.


Congratulations on your recent award nominations from EPIC and other places. What was it like to see your work nominated? What did you do to celebrate the nominations/wins?

Thank you so much! I wasn’t able to attend EPICon this year *sniff* so I didn’t get to accept the award in person. When I found out that I’d won, after I picked myself up off the floor, I immediately kissed my husband, emailed my editor and publisher, my beta readers, and my family.

LRC’s Best of 2009 Awards honored me with a Runner Up in the SciFi/Futuristic category and a Winner in the Best Cover department. The cover was also in the Top Ten on P&E’s Reader’s Poll for 2009. Anne Cain did an amazing job. She made Luc look tres hot!

How did I celebrate? With food, lol! I changed my eating lifestyle about three and a half years ago, and although I allow myself dark chocolate frequently (it’s good for you), I wanted a little extra. We had chocolate mousse in dark chocolate cups with fresh fruit. It was *almost* too beautiful to eat, but I managed. ^_^


Where can readers go to find more information on your books on the web?

The best place is my own website. I have reviews and excerpts there. http://kayelleallen.com/Books.html  You can also tour the empire and find links to book-mentioned sites on Imperinet, a website within a website. http://kayelleallen.com

What can we see coming in 2010 from you?

Lots of things! At the Mercy of Her Pleasure releases on 3/23, and The Last Vhalgenn on 3/24. For Women Only is out 6/1, and Surrender Trust likely in August. I hope to finish Surrender Will in time for an end of year release.

You are world ruler and able to enact three laws, what would they be?

I have no clue. Can I phone a friend on this one? ^_^

If you came back as a spirit, what would you want to say to the world?

Believe.

What was the most recent movie you saw that blew you away and recommend to others to see?

Avatar! Real3D isn’t about things popping out at you. It’s about the movie pulling you inside itself. You are *there* as things happen, able to focus your eyes on every detail as if you were right inside the room or on the world. 

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure
 
She steals one kiss and her pheromones addict him. How can he return to his master now that she has him at the mercy of her pleasure?

Senth holds a lofty position in the elite Thieves' Guild. Drugged since puberty to suppress his feral half-feline side, nothing suppresses his daredevil, risk-loving human half. His master offers him a deal. Work with a Better, an enhanced woman with addictive, pleasure-laced pheromones, and he'll buy and free Senth's cruelly enslaved older brother. The job? Grab-and-go. The condition? Remain a virgin. The drug he takes ensures it, no matter how tempting the woman or her pheromones. The problem? Nothing goes right. The job outlasts the drug's effect. All Senth wants is one touch, one kiss, one oh-so-tempting lick of her perfect, lush skin. The downside? With his brother's freedom at stake, how can he risk putting himself at the mercy of her pleasure?

Available: 03/23/10
Genre:  Erotic Science Fiction Romance, Action Adventure
Heat Level:  R=graphic sex
Warnings:  Explicit sex, kidnapping, violence, references to abuse

EXCERPT

Setting up the scene: NarrAy Jorlan has hired professional thief Senth Antonello to steal back an heirloom confiscated by the despotic empress. In itself, the item has only sentimental value, but in it, NarrAy's parents hid a code to finishing the secret technology they were developing before they were murdered. After meeting Senth in person, NarrAy returns to her ship. But she can't get the thief's image out of her mind…

All People's Liberation Army Ship Jalane
Officers' Quarters

NarrAy brought Senth's image to mind, picturing him as he'd looked at the Ghost, minus the overbearing Saint-Cyr and the audience of her aides.

"Mmm, hell-O, Senth." Standing naked before him, she slid one hand up the front of his shirt. "Can I interest you in a sugar-cookie snack?"

He leaned forward, bending down to kiss her, his dark, curly hair a cloak around them. The hesitant brush of his lips against hers made her press up against him, capturing his kiss.

She pulled back enough to speak. "Hold me. Please, Senth, hold me. No one ever touches me. I'm so alone."

Senth drew her fully into his arms and embraced her, fitting the entire length of his body against hers. "I'll touch you anywhere you want, NarrAy. Everywhere you want." He slid his fingers through her hair, his smile revealing fangs. "Let me kiss you again."

NarrAy gripped his jacket with both hands and drew him down.

The wet heat of his mouth against hers brought a crest of pheromones.

Senth slid one hand down her body, cupped one of her breasts, and then bent to suckle her. His rough, catlike tongue against her sensitive skin triggered a line of heat straight to her core. Moisture seeped onto her thighs.

Senth inhaled. "Mmm. You smell so good." He slid his hand down the front of her body and pressed his palm against her outer lips. He slipped one finger between them. "You're wet." He lifted his hand to inhale her fragrance, then licked his finger. "Sweet." He went to his knees before her, his pale blue gaze lifting to hers. "May I taste you?"

She shook her head no, but her mouth said "yes." She leaned back against the wall of her cabin and widened her legs.

He paused, looking up at her as if for permission.

NarrAy touched his face. "Please."

****
The Last Vhalgenn
For centuries, the Vhalgenn have loved the kings or queens they were born to serve. Bedmates, soulmates, companions and friends, the Vhalgenn know no other master, they obey no other lord. Until the final plea of a dying queen commands betrayal by the Last Vhalgenn.
If she takes the newborn prince to the queen's homeland for a ritual blessing in the Old Ways, who--or what--will she bring back?

The Last Vhalgenn is in the 2008 Fantasy EPPIE finalist anthology A Time To...





Monday, March 15, 2010

DO YOU BELIEVE IN LUCK?

DO YOU BELIEVE IN LUCK?
An Editorial By Cynthia Vespia

St. Patricks Day is upon us. The little green leprechauns and four leaf clovers associated with the holiday are supposed to bring luck. No disrespect but I’ll drink down the Guinness and make my own luck. There’s a motto, you may have heard it, goes a little something like this: preparedness meets opportunity. In other words when the opportunity comes along for you to realize your dreams and goals you are prepared to meet them. It has nothing to do with luck. There’s no magic formula. It takes time, energy, and mountains of persistence to get to where you want to be in life.
On the recent telecast of the Academy Awards Oprah Winfrey told the story of how Gabourey Sidibe had been struggling to pay for college when she happened to hear about a casting call for a little movie called Precious. She proceeded to skip school that Monday to try out for the part. Tuesday they called her back in. Wednesday she got the part. And the rest is movie history. But was it luck? To me I see it as opportunity taken advantage of. Gabby took a risk and it paid off…BIG TIME!
When something good happens in your life why not own it? You worked hard to get there why give luck all the credit?
Sometimes risks don’t pay off but they are worth trying. You learn something from the experience regardless, but at least you gave it a try and if it doesn’t work for whatever reason then you try something else. But you have to be willing to take a chance. Living small or living in fear isn’t really living at all. And life is there for living. No one ever regrets doing something; it’s always what you don’t do that brings regret.
There is a show on MTV called The Buried Life. It follows four young men on their journey across country to basically live their lives to the fullest. They’ve fashioned a list of 100 things to do before they die and they are adamant about crossing each one of those items off no matter how outlandish it might seem. When they told people they wanted to play basketball with Barrack Obama they were laughed at. But they took the chance and they came within inches of realizing that goal, even as far as speaking directly to Obama’s right hand man Reggie Love.
I’m using references from pop culture because right now I see two trends developing with people. The ones who are embracing the negative effects of the economy, global warming, and the natural disasters that have recently struck the world at large and those who, despite all that, are still making a go of their lives.
The only security in life comes from knowing that every single day you are doing something to improve yourself in the direction towards your goals. Playing it safe doesn’t stop bad things from happening, so you might as well go for it! Pressures on, times a ticking. Make your own luck and make your own life exactly the way you want it to be so that one day you find that pot of gold.


 Cynthia Vespia is the author of thrillers and fantasy novels. Nominated for Best Series in 2009 for Demon Hunter. Find out more at the official site: www.CynthiaVespia.com

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Talking Island Delights with Eve Summers & A CONTEST



Brief Island Delight
(Please scroll down to see the contest.)
The backdrop on my computer's desktop is a photo: coral-white sand, ocean waves of intense blue, coconut palms shading the beach. A perfect picture of paradise. That's Fiji.
When I wrote "Fiji on Fire, Fiji on Ice", I kept looking at that photo. I wanted to transform the reader to that beach, together with a darker version of Josh Holloway (from LOST) and an endless supply of exotic cocktails, like the one below:

The Brief Island Delight Cocktail Recipe

1 oz coconut liqueur




Blend vodka, rums and ice cream with half a glassful of crushed ice. Top with whipped cream, sprinkle grenadine on top, and serve.

            I’d rather taste you, thought Tanya. But the spicy liquid glowed with a divine fire in her throat, sweet and toasty and chocolaty, and when she heard a moan of pleasure, it took a second to realize it was her own.

            Andy watched her, his eyes burning into hers. “That good, huh?”

            She felt the heat spread from her throat down. “Mmmm.” Yeah, really well done. Ten out of ten for nonchalant.

“How inappropriate do you think it would be if I kissed you right now?”

Her throat was thick. With the whisky? With longing? He was younger than her. “Totally inappropriate,” she managed.

“Cool.” He flashed her a predatory smile. “Because I have my Bad Boy reputation to maintain, you know.”

            With two long strides, he covered the space that separated them. He was so close now; she could sense the heat of his skin. If she moved a millimeter, she would feel the corrugated muscles of his stomach against her.

She curled her toes. “‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’”

            “Behind you?” Andy feigned surprise. “You fancy doing it doggy-style, then? Just arch your back and you have a deal.”

            She burst out laughing, and when he moved in for the kill, she had no strength left to resist. His mouth covered hers and she felt every nerve ending in her skin. She knew he would be fire, but she didn’t expect a kiss that would make everything else vanish.

            Time stopped. Sound had no meaning. The world consisted of Andy’s lips and tongue, whisky-flavored. Of his fingers in her hair. And of his cock, granite-hard, pressing into her belly.

            When she became aware of her kiss-swollen lips, the night cicadas outside were putting away their violins. Andy hadn’t done anything else except kiss her. He hadn’t slipped his mouth below her throat. His hands hadn’t gone near her bra-less boobs. His thigh hadn’t attempted to part her legs.

            A tiny part of her brain was beginning to wonder why not.
“So tell me.” Andy’s lips brushed her ear, sending urgent messages to her nipples. “What’s with the Internet chats?” 
CONTEST: buy "Fiji on Fire, Fiji on Icebefore the end of April 2010, and then email yve@xtra.co. nz  with the title "Fiji on Fire - Dawn3 lucky purchasers will receive another Eve Summers book of  their choice absolutely free.

Book Spotlight~ NJ Walters' Eternal Brothers

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