Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest Author Day with Elle Laudan/Contest Announcement

Welcome Author Elle Laudan today at Dawn's Reading Nook Blog. Today one lucky commenter will win a e-copy of She Rides from Elle. :) Leave your email address in with your comment in order to contact you if you win.

Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?

I grew up in a very strict household where television, music and books were strictly monitored. Around 10 yrs old I began writing short stories. It became my escape, where I could be anyone, go anywhere and do all those things I only dreamed of.
I went back to school in my twenties to earn my highschool diploma. (I was having way too much fun the 1st time around)
My English teacher Jim, is the first person to tell me I had a gift for the written word. Looking back, I see that he is the one to plant the first seed. The rest…is history in the making J

What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?

One of the key elements to a great story would be creating characters the reader can identify with at some level. Also, to give cause for my readers to experience some kind of emotion, through laughter, anger, or tears.

Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?

For me, it all starts with the setting. Once I have a place in mind, my characters evolve. Their ethnic background usually determines their names and appearance. My characters take shape throughout the book. Rarely do I know everything about them before my story begins.

My favorite character?
Shane from my Iron Horse Rider Trilogy. It was fun, and challenging writing a book from a man’s POV.

The most challenging?
Missy from my first Elle Laudan title, She Rides. It is my first erotic tale, so to have a character so explicit sexually was challenging.

Have you ever found that you didn’t like your Hero or your Heroine? If so, what did you do to change that?

I hate the villain, Ben from In Your Eyes. He gets my blood boiling like no other, but it works for the story. So he was left alone and has since angered more than one reader lol Isn’t that what bad guys should do?

Can you tell me a bit about your most recent/upcoming release?

My 2nd Elle Laudan title, Mystified is slated for release on June 11th at Passion In Print. It is an erotic suspense, with a twist… time travel. In this story I feature the band, Colt Harley as my hero, Tokoda’s band. Also, $1 from each book sold will be donated to Mark’s Run for A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

What do you do to unwind and relax?  

I read. After all I was an avid reader long before I published my first book. Since my journey as an author began, my reading time is less and less. I now reward myself, at the end of each book, the down time to read one or two books.

Is there a genre you haven’t done that you would like to explore in the future?

Horror. I’ve always wanted to write a good psychological thriller. Once my nest is empty I will give it a try. I think, in order to write a great horror, one must set the tone and approach from a dark place. I’d rather do so with no witnesses.  *wink 

Tell us about your favorite restaurant. 

The Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It slowly rotates while you’re seated next to a window at one of the Great Wonders of the World.

Do you listen to music when writing? Do you feel like some stories write themselves a soundtrack with specific music? If so, what book and what kind of music influenced it?

I write my best in a quiet house. I might play some of my favorites while editing, but as a rule, silence is what it takes.

Does your significant other read your stuff?

At the moment, my significant other is an 8 lb diva dog named, Chachi. She doesn’t read much.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

I started out as a total Pantser. Now I am a bit of both. I will write a brief outline, only because I must finish within a certain length of time. More often than not, my story will conclude very differently than first intended.

What is your favorite meal?

All of them LOL
I’ve always loved a good roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes and corn. Those little dinner rolls with butter on the side. Yummy….now I’m hungry.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
As I said earlier I have just begun my journey on the erotic side of things. Yes, I find it very difficult. It’s hard to let your inhibitions go. Especially, after keeping such tight reign of them for so many years.

What do you have coming up next for you? Care to share any details with us?

At this moment I’ve been invited to write a short erotic story. I must adhere to specific guidelines in relation to the setting, and it must happen over a 24 hour period of time. I had a hell of a time getting it started, but just the past couple of days I’ve started writing in earnest.

I have yet to begin edits on an Adelle Laudan title, Heart of Steele, and a Middle Grade Mystery. Both titles are contracted with MuseItUp.

Who are some of your favorite authors, and if we were to visit your home, what books would we find on your bookshelf, end table, floor or e-reader?

On my bookshelf, in my bedroom, you will find an interesting mixture. Danielle Steel, Mauve Binchy,  Jean M Aule, John Saul, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks…
I have yet to make the transition to an e-reader. I’ve been watching them evolve quite a bit over a short period of time. I guess I’m waiting for all the kinks to be worked out.

If you could be any character of any book or movie, who would you be?

Cher, from the movie, Mask. I’d so love to be on the back of a younger Sammy Elliot’s motorcycle.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Elle Laudan Blog: Rated R:

Mystified by Elle Laudan
Coming June 11th to Passion In Print
Legends come to life on Spirit Island, tossing a pair of rekindled lovers back in time. Tokoda comes face to face with the barbaric Sioux tribe, while Tara suffers a case of mistaken identity in the village of her Ojibwa ancestors. Tokoda vows to find Nara and bring her home safely. That is, if there is even a way for them to get back home at all.

Balanced upright in the canoe, Nara gave the shoreline a cursory glance before pulling her deerskin shift over her head.  She closed her eyes, celebrating the freedom this secluded spot on Spirit Island gave her.
In the beginning, the Creator made Spirit Island, in order to have a place to call home. He took the cleanest air, and the freshest water, along with, all the plants, medicine and food he’d ever need. Even today, many came to the sacred Island to speak to the Great Spirit.
The hopes and dreams of her ancestors carried in the breeze that prickled her bare skin. A sense of well-being filled her heart and there was no doubt, the Great Spirit still made Mnido-Maniss his home.
Nara dove into the cool water, reveling in the sensation against her body as she came up for air. She stretched out on her back, and stared up at the twinkling stars. What story did they tell as they danced to the rhythm of their own music?
The rattle of shaking branches caused her breath to hitch and she slipped under the blanket of water to hide her nakedness. Someone crouched in the bushes, the whites of his or hers eyes illuminated by the moonlight. Nara swam to the side of the canoe and struggled to slow her breathing as quietly as possible. Cautiously, she peeked over the canoe’s rim and searched the shoreline.
I saw someone, I know I did. Where did they go? Has someone been watching me all along?
The mere thought of a stranger seeing her naked repulsed her. Movement caught her attention and she froze.
Between her and the shore, the water swirled. Nara’s jaw dropped as a ghostly apparition rose up from the mist. Without knowing how, she knew it to be the Underwater Princess of stories told so many times around the campfire.
The beautiful native princess turned her head to face the bushes, her blue black hair settled in layers around her shoulders. With a flick of her wrist, a gust of wind came out of nowhere, whipping the prickly rose bushes into a frenzy.
Suddenly, a man’s pain-filled cry resounded across the river and a figure shot up from behind the bushes and tore off into the darkness of the forest. As quickly as the wind rose up, it calmed. The princess smiled satisfactorily in her direction before fading into the night, leaving behind fireflies of which flew upwards until one couldn’t tell them from the stars.
Nara reached in the canoe for her deerskin shift and pulled it down over her damp hair. Without a sound, she slipped back on board and gazed out on the calm, glass-like water. Since the day her father taught her to guide a canoe, this had been her special place. Never before did the Underwater Princess appear.
Many times it felt as if someone else shared this space with her, but she always thought it to be the Great Spirit. Perhaps it was, or perhaps more than one spirit shared this special place with her. Nara shivered and dipped her paddle in the water. The birch bark canoe her father built sliced through the water effortlessly.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Personal Review for The Lion's Den by DN Simons

D. N. Simmons is one of my favorite authors and a wonderful person as well. She has a thrilling series that I think, if you enjoy vampires, shifters of all kinds, mystery and hot steamy sex, you will enjoy. Her latest is book five in the Knights of the Darkness Chronicles series and involves Lion shifters, murder, mystery and more. Hang on to your hats, guys.....Chicago is about to get wild.

Darian, Elise and Xander have weathered tough times as they dealt with supernatural serial killers, territory challenges and more. This time what they are facing will take them far beyond what they anticipate. For this time, Chicago is at the center of a battle they may not survive. The cat and mouse game has begun. Only time will tell who is the hunter and who is the prey.

The Lion's Den continues two years after Hostile Territory ended and is an edge of your seat ride. First I want to say you really should read this series from the beginning. All the books capitalize on one another and mention things that have happened in past books. That said, D. N. Simmons packs quite a punch in her latest story set in the supernatural world of Chicago. With returning beloved characters, a cat and mouse mystery that will leave you gasping and a storyline that is full of twists, it's a wonder I wasn't passed out cold from it all. 

Ms. Simmons delivers in her eagerly awaited fifth book in the Knights of the Darkness Chronicles with bated breath. The minute I started reading The Lion's Den, I found myself transported to a world I missed. It was full of vampires, shifters and other supernatural beings that thrilled me in the last books. This was like I was coming home after a long vacation away. I enjoyed seeing what happened in the last two years with all my favorite characters and meeting some new ones had me hoping they may be in future books. The cat and mouse mystery in this book was quite an adventure. The sex scenes were primarily M/M so they may not appeal to some but it doesn't take away from the story at all.But I have to caution, the ending alone will leave you scrambling to the author's website seeing when book six comes out as it will leave you breathless.

The Lion's Den delivers a story so complex, wild and action packed, I suggest you install speed bumps to slow you down. I can attest that you may be up late reading this just to see what happens next. Ms. Simmons is a talented author who is going places. I anticipate seeing her work right along side Sherrilyn Kenyon and L. A. Banks one of these days. If you enjoy a high octane paranormal/urban fantasy adventure, then I highly recommend Ms. Simmons Knights of the Darkness Chronicles.

My Rating for The Lion's Den is: 5 Stars

Books in the Knights of the Darkness Chronicles Series are:

1) Desires Unleahed
2) The Guilty Innocent
3) Royal Flush
4) Hostile Territory

You can find more about this author at

Saturday, May 28, 2011

All Romance Ebooks is having a SALE!!!

All Romance Ebook Store is having a HUGE Memorial Day sale.

Happy Memorial Day from ARe!

It's Memorial Day weekend in the United States, the unofficial start of summer, and ARe is celebrating in a big way with a 50% rebate sitewide!

With vacation season coming, a three day weekend upon us, and your summer reading list to buy, what a perfect time to fill up your ARe Library and your eReader all at 50% off. But hurry, like all good things, this sale too must end.

*Rebate to be given at check-out in eBucks equal to 50% of purchase for use on a future purchase. The Memorial Day 50% Site-Wide Rebate applies to paypal and credit card purchases from 12:01 am 05/28/11 to 11:59 pm 05/30/11 US central time only.

Guest Author Day with Ryssa Edwards

First, tell us a little about you and what you do.
What I do? Ummm. . a girl’s got to have some secrets. Actually, by day I work for a really big company. By night, I meet interesting people, and all but bribe them to tell me their life story and let me follow them around. I call these people “characters”, and I write down their stories. They get into some pretty scary situations, and sometimes (*insert guilty blush*), I push their backs up against the wall and . . . see what happens. It’s fun. It keeps me off the streets and (mostly) out of trouble.

What do you like to read?
Books. Kidding. I like reading stories. If you can tell a good story, I’ll read it. Right now, I’m on a short story kick, so I’ve been hanging around with folks like Ambrose Bierce, Stephen King, Ian Fleming and H. P. Lovecraft. My yardstick for reading is whether or not a writer can pull me in right from the first sentence. I’m a tough reader. If your story can’t completely grab me in the first paragraph, you lose a few points on my ‘story scale’. I’m just as tough on myself. My goal is to write a story that my reader can’t walk away from; not even for a page, or a paragraph. . . or a sentence. ‘

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Oh my gosh. Tough question. I know it sounds cliché, but the best advice I can give is . . .write! 
Write all the time. Even if you don’t’ have a pen in your hand. If you something makes you stop and go, “Wow. That’s interesting.” Ask yourself why? What caught your attention? How would get someone else to see it the way you did? Over time, these little observations will make it into your characters and your worlds.
When you get a rejection letter, (and you’ll get lots)look at it this way, you’re one step closer to getting published. 

Did I say write? Buy a notebook. Take it everywhere. Ladies, get a purse-size notebook. Guys. . . I don’t know what to tell you. Got ten extra minutes in your day? Then you’ve got time to write daily. Pick a good exercise book. One of my favorites is A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves. I just started Writing Down the Bones. The exercises are tough, but you get a lot out of them. I’m working my way through The 4 A. M. Breakthrough by Brian Kiteley. I love this one!  I can’t finish each exercise in ten minutes, but if I stay with one exercise all week, then that’s fifty minutes of exercises in a week.
And my last bit of advice . . . don’t stop. You know those times when your internal editor is all over you? Keep writing. That voice never goes away, but if you keep going, one day you’ll get to prove them wrong.

What’s your latest release?
I’m so glad you asked! I have four releases coming up.

Dark Angel, All the Stars is part II two of my Immortal Pleasures series. It’s the story of the Archangel Lucifer and his centuries long love for Aeryn, a mortal. It’s out today!

The Moon House is a short story that will be part of the First Time for Everything Dreamspinner Press Daily Dose anthology. The first story will be out on June 1st. The Moon House is the story of Samson, a carnival strong man who falls for Jace, a virgin.

Dreaming of a Kissing is a novel about Rafe, a college freshman who sets out to find a cure for his mother, and ends up falling in love with Kayne, a Wulf in training to be Alpha Wulf. This book is coming soon from Decadent Publishing.

Immortal Pleasures, Volume I (working title) is a print edition of the first two stories in my Immortal Pleasures series, Warrior Angel, Heart’s Desire and Dark Angel, All the Stars. This is coming soon from Silver Publishing.

I’m writing a secret project for the Male / Male Romance Discussion Group on Good Reads. It’s part of the Hot Days of July “Dear Author” letters. Stop by Good  Reads and check out Hot Days of July!

Where can we find you on the web?

Good Reads (my Discussion Group):

Good Reads (Hot Days of July Thread) – check out my story guy’s pic. . . yikes!

Good Reads (my promo threads. Keep up with new releases here)

Available TODAY-Dark Angel, All the Stars
Silver Publishing
M/M Fantasy
Sequel to Warrior Angel, Heart's Desire

The Archangel Lucifer falls in love with Aeryn, a mortal, in the Middle Ages. Aeryn is caught painting erotic art. The Inquisition catches Aeryn and condemns him to burn at the stake. The Inquisitor is being used by a Nephilim who has been seeking vengeance against Lucifer for thousands of years. Six hundred years later, Lucifer finds Aeryn reincarnated in the present They unite, however, the Nephilim is still after Lucifer. Can Lucifer save the love he's waited over six centuries to find again?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Guest Author Day with Sandy Semerad

Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?

I started making up stories in my head when I was seven, after my father died. However, I learned the craft of writing as a journalist--newspaper reporter, columnist, broadcaster, editor--after I earned a B.A. in journalism from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Since moving to Florida, the stories in my head became increasingly complex and I had to write them down to keep the characters straight.

I never thought about writing as something I always wanted to do. Making up stories is something I need to do and writing them down became a natural progression.

What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?

A successful story must have good writing, solid structure (plotting) and strong, believable characters.

Usually, the story starts when the protagonist is confronted with a serious problem that requires her to become extraordinary.

Conflict is always increasing, driving the plot forward and making the reader worry about the protagonist.
There’s a sense of urgency in all exciting stories and the tension continues to build.

When I write, I ask this question: How can I make this worse for my protagonist?

Great stories are peppered with complex characters and conflicts that attack their weaknesses.

In the end, the reader must feel satisfied. In mysteries, this usually means the killer is caught and justice is served.  

Could you tell us a little about how you develop your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?

As I mentioned before, my characters begin to live in my head and become real to me before I start writing.

I develop a back story for them, starting with where they were born and includes every aspect of their lives.

I want to know my characters as well as I know myself before I begin the writing process. However, once I start writing and get in that zone, my characters frequently surprise me.

I suppose my favorite character is Lilah Sanderford in Mardi Gravestone. I loved living through her.

Maeva Larson in Hurricane House brought enormous challenges, because she a catastrophe investigator (CAT) and though I have a friend who is a CAT and shared experiences with me, I still had to learn about her and it took me a while to understand what makes her tick.

Have you ever found that you didn’t like your Hero or your Heroine? If so, what did you do to change that?
When I first wrote Maeva in Hurricane House, she could be rude, and I’m a southern woman who prefers kindness. So, after I read the first and second drafts of Hurricane House, I decided to alter her actions and dialogue to make her a nicer, though keep her strength. After all, nice does not make a steel magnolia weak.

If you were to start again, with the knowledge you have now, what would be the first thing you’d do?

I’d started writing down the stories in my head sooner.

Can you tell me a bit about your most recent/upcoming release?

Yes, Hurricane House is about a hurricane that hits a Florida fishing village with a murderer at large. Catastrophe investigator Maeva Larson, though suffering from the death of her fiancé, must find the murderer before he kills again. In her search for the killer, she follows strange clues from a crystal necklace and a special dog.

Is there a genre you haven’t done that you would like to explore in the future?

Both my books have a dose of the paranormal, but I think I would explore more of that genre.

Also, I like stories that enlighten without preaching. Stories that make a difference and promote positive change. I’m now working on a story based on a murder trial I covered as a reporter in Atlanta. It will contain both fact and fiction.

If you could throw a party with any five people (living or dead) who would you pick and why?

Wow, what a tough question. Trying to narrow it down to five is the hard part.  

My father—who died when I was seven—would be my first choice. Then I would include my mother who is dead now, but her spirit lives on, of course. Unfortunately, I never got to tell her how much I loved her before she died.

Oprah, because I selfishly want to give her my books, and meet her.

William Shakespeare—for obvious reasons—he’s a genius and I could learn from him.

Jesus Christ—I have so many questions to ask him.

I could go on and on but you asked for only five.

Do you listen to music when writing? Do you feel like some stories write themselves a soundtrack with specific music? If so, what book and what kind of music influenced it?

I have listened to music while writing--classical and popular, blues and jazz when I wrote Mardi Gravestone, set in
New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

In Mardi Gravestone, Lilah’s love interest is a musician and music influenced that book enormously.

In Hurricane House, I listened to Fleetwood Mac while thinking about the book, not while writing, and in some of the scenes, a few of those were songs playing as characters interacted. And there’s a local pianist, Nancy Veldman, whose music is in one of the scenes. Nancy’s music is said to have healing powers.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?

I find them exciting to write and I include romance in my mysteries. Yet, I’ve been told I can be quite graphic in my descriptions, which may be true, and I think it is indeed a challenge to write about love scenes that are titillating, but not offensive. 

What are some of your favorite things or hobbies to do?

I could easily become a hermit. I love to write and read. I love to walk P-Nut my dog. I love to cook.

Exercising is something I do most every day. My daughter Andrea gave me Jane Fonda’s DVD “Prime Time, Fit and Strong” for Christmas and I love it.
I love to travel and fortunately, travel is part of my day job with Village Profile. As I write this, I’m in Wimberley, TX working on a project for the Wimberley Chamber.

What do you have coming up next for you? Care to share any details with us?

I’ve gotten a new web site designed and a local film maker recently did a book trailer for Hurricane House, which I’ll use to promote the book. Book signings are in my future this summer.

My latest writing project, that I alluded to before, concerns a murder trial I covered in Atlanta and the racial conflicts that murder and trial unearthed. It’s also a love story, fiction, yet based on truth.

Who are some of your favorite authors, and if we were to visit your home, what books would we find on your bookshelf, end table, floor or e-reader?

I’m always reading. I love Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Janet Fitch’s “White Oleander” is also a masterpiece. Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” another masterpiece. And I’ve probably read all of Mary Higgins Clark’s books. She’s a great storyteller, as is Sue Grafton. I’ve enjoyed Dean Koontz’s books. Other authors on my bookshelves are: Harlen Coben, Jennifer Gardner, Nora Roberts, Lee Childs, William Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies. I could go on and on, but this should give you an idea.

If you could be any character of any book or movie, who would you be?

Lilah Sanderford in Mardi Gravestone

Where can readers find you on the web?

And on facebook and Twitter.

Sneak Peek into Hurricane House by Sandy Semerad

“Hurricane House is wonderfully macabre, a crackling mystery,” says award-winning mystery writer Jeremiah Healy.

Still grieving the death of her fiancé, Maeva Larson vacations on Paradise Isle, Florida,“the luckiest little fishing village in the world” where she finds the dead body of Miss Florida, Tara Baxter, floating in the Gulf. The cause of death is uncertain, and when a hurricane blows ashore, another woman is found dead and two other women are reported missing. As a catastrophe insurance investigator, Maeva knows the storm has destroyed precious clues, but she thinks her CAT credentials will allow her to find out what happened to these women.

Sean Redmond, acclaimed mystery writer and Paradise Isle resident, pursues Maeva from the first moment they meet. She tries to resist him, but then succumbs to his charm, until she reads a section of his latest manuscript, which is too close to the truth to be fiction. Uncertain of Sean, yet hoping he is not a murderer, she follows the clues from a crystal necklace, a hitchhiker, who may have seen the killer, and a black dog named Onyx. No doubt this dog possesses special powers and Maeva decides to trust Onyx’s instincts while risking her own life.


I gulped a mouthful of salt water as the undertow pulled me down, sucking like a vacuum.

At first, I battled the coursing water, making wide circles with my arms and kicking my legs fiercely. Then I remembered what I'd learned in a lifeguard class. Don't fight the undertow. Let it take you to the bottom. So I commanded my body to relax.

When my toes touched the floor of the gulf, I began to swim parallel to where I thought the shoreline might be, and search for a weak spot in the undertow. My lungs burned and expanded like a balloon about to pop. My fingers touched something black and slimy. I froze, thinking shark.

In my panic, I collided with a sand bar and crawled crablike on top of it. I took several deep breaths and looked around for someone to help me. By then, my muscles trembled from exhaustion, and I didn't think I had the strength to swim back to the jetties. The undertow had carried me to the gulf's side. The boats and the crowd watching the fireworks were at least a football field away on the harbor side. The jetties separated the two and they were at least three hundred feet away.

I waved my hands above my head and yelled, "Help." I could feel the shifting of the sand bar, soon to wash away.

When no one answered my cry for help, I jumped from the sand bar and swam back toward the jetties. Halfway there, my fatigued muscles demanded rest. So I floated on my back for a while until I bumped into an object in the water.

When I flipped over to see what I'd collided with, I screamed. It was the unthinkable: a woman's nude body. I gagged and swam doggie-style, backwards and forwards, studying the corpse. I noticed she'd lost one of her feet. Oh, my God. Did a shark do this?
A boat, fifty feet away with a boom box blasting I'm Proud to be an American, cruised nearby. I yelled, "Help, help," as I pulled the body toward the jetties. I watched the boat, hoping for a response, but it sped past, ignoring me, but sending a wave, tossing me backwards. I lost my grip on the body and imagined the remains of this poor woman getting caught up in the undertow, never to resurface again.

Though exhausted, I swam after the body. When I reached out to grab it, a cruel wave pushed it away. Eventually, the tide changed and I was able to recapture the corpse. This time, I positioned my body on top of the dead woman as if she were a float. Thankfully and finally, the waves seemed to be working in our favor, pushing us toward the jetties. The corpse and I soon collided with the rocks and I felt like kissing the boulders, though I didn't think I had the energy to pull myself up and get out of the water. I gripped a gigantic rock, put my feet in between two of them and was finally able to jump up. Then I got on my stomach and tried to reach the corpse, but my arms weren't long enough to gain leverage. Thankfully, the waves were pushing the body against the boulders, not taking her away.

I unzipped my waist pouch to withdraw my cell phone. The pouch was waterproof, but after my near drowning, I didn't expect the cell to work.

I punched in 911. A woman answered, "What's your emergency?"

"I've found a…dead body…in the …near the jetties," I stuttered and shut my eyes, fighting my panic. You'd think from the way I acted I'd never seen a dead body, but I've seen several as a catastrophe insurance investigator, or CAT, as we are called. I've dealt with victims of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes. "Calm down," the 911 lady said.

"What's your name and location?"

My voice quivered, "My name is Maeva Larson. I'm in Dolphin on Paradise Isle at the end of the jetties, near where they're exploding the fireworks. I'm wearing white shorts and a white top. I'm five-one, have short red hair, and I'm the only one out here on the jetties."

"You said you found a body?"

"Yes, a woman."

"And she's dead?" the operator asked.

"Yes, dead," I snapped, trying to keep my voice steady.

"I'll stay on the phone with you," the operator said, her voice low and soothing.

"No, no, don't, I'm okay," I said, though I felt anything but. "I just need someone out here
now. Hurry, please."

After I closed my cell phone, I studied the dead woman. Her gold necklace glinted in the moonlight. The necklace had a gold pendant in the shape of a crown and looked  familiar. Too familiar, like the one Tara Baxter had worn the afternoon Geneva VanSant invited me over for wine and finger sandwiches.
Tara had won the Miss Florida contest, and Geneva had received an award for an article about a female hitchhiker. The party was to celebrate both events.

After the get-acquainted hellos, I noticed the crown necklace, "Lovely. Appropriate for your title as Miss Florida." I remember lifting my glass of red wine to Tara in a toast. "Here's hoping you become the next Miss America."

"From your lips to God's ear," Tara had said and sipped her drink.

"Is that necklace something the winner gets?"

Tara chuckled and said. "No, Maeva, my mother had it designed for me."

I didn't want to believe this dead body was Tara, but I saw no other alternative. On her right hand was a heart-shaped pinky ring. I was certain Tara had worn a similar ring.

What was taking the responders so long? I wondered. The fireworks had ended. The crowd on the beach was moving on. The waves kept crashing the jetties, smacking Tara's body into the rocks. As I watched her, I began to sob like a frightened child. Never had I felt so alone and powerless.

Available from Treble Heart Books,
Also available from Amazon and everywhere books are sold

Thursday, May 26, 2011



With a new HOT release STEEL EMBRACE coming out from Carnal Passions (a companion house to Champagne Books) this coming August, we'd like to take a look back at our literary journey over the next couple of weeks with this publisher, last week we took a glimpse at SANAKE DANCE. This week it's CHASING YESTERDAY.



In the mist, haze, and shadows of the seashore, Elizabeth seeks out the man who has haunted her dreams forever. Around her love vibrates within others, couples from the youngest to the oldest, each providing a nugget of love’s truth that aids her in her chase of Nathan Sterling.

Yet, each time she catches Nathan, he seems to slip away, making her wonder if her timing is off, if she was perhaps rushing what destiny had promised. What she doesn’t realize is that her pursuit threatens to reveal a dire truth… one that will change her forever after


Now and then a wave caught up to her feet, swirling over it then retreating. The day
had a gray cast to it, fog seeping over the jetties, as vendors set up, a ritual performed with tenacious repetitiveness for decades. The air was filled with the snap and flap of the cloth of many flags being placed outside of now opening businesses. A thud
sounded nearby. Her body swiveled toward the sound, and discovered a vendor planting a beach umbrella in the sand, an advertisement for his chairs, rafts and colorful umbrellas. Running behind him, she saw a familiar crop of thick, slightly wavy hair, a profile that created spasms of delight as well as a shiver that contradicted the heat rising up from the sand.

It was him!

Was it?

It was!

She knew the cut of him, the width of shoulders, narrowness of his hips, the sculpture physique and the perfection of his profile. For a moment, she just stood there, blinked, a surge of disbelief, for in all her certainty somehow she didn’t expect this sudden sighting. She had waited for so long, and now… now… he was there.

Wasn’t he?

Could it be true?

Was she mistaken?


Strolling on the sidewalk, away from the beach, moving through summer people-clusters, Elizabeth nibbled on salt water taffy. She had watched them making it through a window and she couldn’t resist. Just as she swallowed the last bite, a form caught her attention. A small gasp, a quick soft smile, a look that linked the distance spanning them occurred as Elizabeth whispered, “It’s him.”

As if he heard her words, his expression spoke of someone searching, seeking, sliding over this one woman and that one, he was looking. For her, she fancied. And then they made eye contact, the connection radiated an understanding that he wanted
to meet her. She could see it in him, felt it flow over that distance of several feet that seemed like only inches. He actually made the gesture, took a step toward her. The flutter of nerves flitted across every extremity with most of the anxiousness residing in
her belly. Another step toward her.



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Angelica Hart and Zi

STEEL EMBRACE by Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
August 2011


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Welcome to Mike Arsuaga today

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
My name is Mike Arsuaga. I’ve written on and off for fifty years. Because of my scientific training (BS Physics) and career in submarines, it was, until recently, science fiction thrillers. After retirement in 2007 I resumed writing after a twenty year hiatus. On We Book a writer and reader support site, someone started a project for erotic short stories. Remembering the racy novels of my misspent Navy youth I cut loose and wrote one called “The Girl in the Library”. It was so well received I turned it into a novel “SUBSPECIES”. The Girl in the Library became chapters one and two of the book. Now I’m five books into the series, pausing only to co-write “My Life as a Dog” with Cynthia, my wife. So far I’ve written strictly erotic paranormal romances, but I’m looking hard at Steampunk and continuing The Subspecies series with more tame episodes.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
“SUBSPECIES” is the first installment of a series. That follows the evolution of lycans and vampires (The Subspecies) from being the most reviled expression of Creation toward a far higher and better use. Before the series concludes they form a community, found a corporation, have families with a unique set of challenges, explore space, colonize Mars, travel time, and lead humanity to the purpose of life.

Did your book require a lot of research?
In a backward sort of way, yes. I needed to learn the mythology of lycans and vampires to know what to screen out. From the beginning I tried to create a set of creatures that could plausibly exist, especially in the face of challenges imposed by today’s technologically advanced society. My Subspecies develop techniques allowing them to kill once a year, avoiding high profile victims like children or suburban housewives. They quietly prey on inhabitants of society’s fringe. They do not propagate through bites or scratching. Otherwise we’d be up to our ears in them. Mine are a rare mutation within the human genome. They grow up resembling mentally challenged children. At nineteen they emerge. They have world class strength and speed but aren’t superhuman. They live 250 to 300 years. They enjoy enhanced senses and recuperative powers, but can be killed like humans. Those who survive the hormonal trauma of emergence live quiet, mostly solitary lives, changing identities every decade or two to avoid questions why they don’t age.

If you could have any vice without repercussions, what would it be?
To be able to eat without adverse consequence.

If you could have been the servant to any famous person in history, who would that be and why?
HG Wells would be my choice. He had one of the most fertile imaginations in history. His ending to “The War of the Worlds” still hasn’t been topped. I remember, as a kid in 1954, watching with Gene Barry as, with humanity on the brink of collapse, the machines began to peel off and crash into building facades. Being done in by “the humblest things of God’s creation” caught me completely by surprise. Wells also coined the term “Atomic Bomb” in “The World Set Free”, written before WWI. I could learn so much from King Steampunk.

What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
As paper becomes more expensive, and electronic devices cheaper and better, there’s only one way it can end. A Kindle in every hand. A library in ever Kindle.

Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
My characters are like children to me. I love them all. Creating them is the closest one can get to being God in this life. I have favorites. Cynthia Meadows from “SUBSPECIES” begins as a dull anorexic sassy teen. Four novels later, she’s an Audrey Hepburn like humanitarian, ageless and on everyone’s’ list of the most beautiful women who ever lived. In “My Life as a Dog” the leader of the New Orleans shifter pack is called the Sufi. His sad wisdom and deceptively keen mind compliments the main character, Drake.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her/him/it when she/he/it refuses to inspire you?
My muse and I have a good working relationship. When it gets uncooperative, I stop and do something else. With a six year old granddaughter in the house, “The Official Apple of My Eye” Larrna, that’s not hard.

Do you have another book in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
Yes “Subspecies, Inc” releases in September. “Children of Subspecies” comes out in December. “The Tenth Legion” arrives in February 2012. The fifth and last, for now, is “Lagrange Point” under review by the publisher.

Have you ever experience weird cravings while you write? If so, what kind?
No, just coffee.

What is the most ridiculous thing that you have thought about doing to any of your characters but never did?
At one point I considered making Sam and Jim, the main characters from “SUBSPECIES” bi-sexual. I’m glad I took a more spiritual tack with them.

If you had to write yourself as a heroine/hero, what kind of heroine/hero would you be? What would you be named?
I did just that. As a college student I wrote “The First Servant”, based on the life of Octavius Caesar. It was Steampunky before the term was coined. I identified with the character Albert Venning as he reunited a balkanized America after a nuclear war.

If your muse were to talk behind your back, what secrets would he/she tell?
It’s not the muse I’d worry about. My wife of thirty-three years knows all the secrets and I pay well for her silence.

If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why?
“SUBSPECIES” because it lays out the principles of the world I created and sets the tone for all that follows.

If there was a soundtrack to your latest novel, what genre/songs would be included?
You’re talking to a tone deaf gear headed scientific geek here. I wouldn’t know where to start on that project.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do to just kick back and have fun?
Gardening and keeping after “The Official Apple of my Eye’ Larrna. Trust me, you don’t need much more than that.

If we peeked at your bookcase(s)/e-reader, what kind of books/authors would we find there?
A lot of Homer, Wells Orwell. Some thrillers. Books about base ball history and military campaigns.

Where can we find you on the web?

 Subspecies Book Blurb
Available at Muse It Hot

Samantha 'Sam' Johnson gave hundred and thirty year old Vampire, Dr. Jim White the best sex of his life, but she had one more surprise for him.  As a Werewolf she hunted him as he was hunting her.  Through their chance meeting, the two groups within The Subspecies – Werewolves [Lycans] and Vampires - discover each other.  Sam and Jim are the first known Vampire/Lycan pair bond.  As a mathematics professor and man of science, Dr. White rejects the ways and lore of old in favor of modern solutions that, if not acceptable to humans, allow The Subspecies to live invisibly among them, because discovery is their worst fear.  He and Sam use technology to reach out to others and form a support group, 'Critters of the Night'.  The Subspecies are a rare mutation within the human genome. No more than seven hundred have been alive at one time.  They cannot breed with humans or within their own group, but when the Lycan/Vampire pair gets in a family way, a universe of possibilities opens.  The main plot centers on the development of the relationship between Sam and Jim. They learn from past experience and each other, and evolve from two beautiful predators having hot sex to soul mates, still having hot sex.  The subplot explores the challenges that children and family pose and how the community deals with the knowledge that a subspecies’ life is now more than living in shadows, hunting, and fruitless mating.


My employer, Cynthia Meadows, recently emerged lycan who exploded into the world of high fashion modeling with the force of an Atom bomb, wishes to announce the birth of “Subspecies”. The healthy novel of 73,049 words came into the world on May 6, 2011 at 12:01 AM. It is a sexy paranormal romance about the deep and enduring love between two special beings. Ms. Meadows, whose professional name is “The Fashion Model Known as Cynthia”, will sponsor a series of promotions to be held throughout the web in honor of her dear friends Samantha “Sam” Johnson, lycan mate of Doctor Jim White, himself a vampire and professor of mathematics. The promotions begin on and . Click “Blog” at top of home page and scroll down
   The purpose is to celebrate the book’s release and promote its virtues throughout the community. Due to Ms. Meadow's recent fortunate change in circumstances, the event has been relocated from Doctor White's apartment to the Grand Ballroom of the Charles Weston, the crown jewel of hotels in this university town.

The event is monumental for all subspecies. As the first lycan/vampire couple, Sam and Jim have much to teach our kind.
All subspecies as well as their human familiars are invited.


Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mike completed careers in the United States Navy Submarine Force and the Transportation Security Administration.  He lives in Orlando Florida with wife and Editor in Chief Cynthia, daughter Jennifer, six year old granddaughter Larrna and partner in crime Thumper, a Yorkshire terrier. 
Mike’s extensive travels in the Navy took him to throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, providing accurate and vivid settings for his stories.

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