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Thursday, December 31, 2009

GetToKnowThe Book: Wrapped in a Rainbow by Delyse Rodrigues-Trink

Do you remember the first time when life threw you a major curve ball? I certainly do!

I was devastated not to get accepted into the program I wanted at the University I desired. I had to scramble to make an alternate choice which led me to go down a different career path. I eventually realized that life can not be completely planned out and that change is not a dreadful thing.
For Kristy, the main character of my book, she’s got the college degree she wants, she’s even got her first job after graduating, but it’s not what she expected and complications arise. Should she stick to her well-mapped out schedule for life or go against her cautious nature and chuck it all in for a temporary job in the Bahamas?
For some of us adventure and spur of the moment decisions are an integral part of our life. For others, we crave stability and order. There is no way that is necessarily better. The premise of my novel is what if you take that leap into the unknown, it might prove to be the best thing you’ve ever done or be something you’ll forever regret. Read Kristy’s story as she embarks on a journey that ultimately transforms her life.


Kristy fled hurriedly back to her desk, feeling sickened, humiliated and angry all at the same time. She grabbed her coat and purse and announced to the other girls that she was taking an early lunch.
Kristy left her office building in a daze; her mind was preoccupied trying to make sense of what just happened. She spent her lunchtime walking around aimlessly. She knew that there was no way she had been dressed provocatively for work the other day and that is what made her furious. She felt sick at the thought of going in to work each day to face the man who had just propositioned her, and also threatened her chance for advancement in the company. Kristy felt her well-planned life crumbling around her. This wasn’t the way she pictured her life going! Hard work was supposed to help you get promoted; she would never dream of climbing the ladder any other way. She felt stymied, if she quit now it would look bad on her résumé to a future employer.

Although feeling reluctant to return to work, Kristy somehow finished off the rest of the day, glad for once of the monotony of it that didn’t require her to think. Leaving that day she decided to not share what had happened to her. This was her problem to work out and she would think it through herself before letting anyone else know.

After work she and Chris had planned to go to dinner and then see a movie. They had arranged to meet at a quaint restaurant in Old Montreal which specialized in serving stuffed crepes as appetizers, entrees, and delectable desserts. As Kristy strolled through the cobblestone streets in this section which were meant only for pedestrians, she once again marvelled at what a remarkable city it was. Weekdays or weekends, days, evenings, and nights the city was always alive with people rushing to work or classes or just walking around enjoying the atmosphere. Kristy remembered how many times she and Barbara or some of her other friends had whiled away hours walking down St. Catherine’s Street peering into the shop windows or just people-watching. She would definitely miss this diverse city even if she was away from it only temporarily.

Over dinner, however, Chris began talking about their future together and this, together with what had happened earlier at work, made Kristy’s decision clear.

Publisher's website:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Author's Tip: The BUZZ for your book by Suzannah Safi/Romance Alley

How can you get readers know about your books and you as an author? To advertise and have a publicist is a great idea but expensive. I believe the best marketing tool money can't buy is word of mouth and the internet. If you spread the word about your book and represented yourself in an intriguing way, readers will be eager to buy your book. When they do, they tell others about it. If you get enough readers to like what you write, then your efforts will pay off.

- Talk to people about your book

The purpose is to build friendly relationships. Talk to anyone about your books and you as an author. Visit bookstores, small, large, whatever, if the store holds book signings, go and attend if you can, ask how you can conduct one and introduce yourself to the manager, the sales people and anyone in the bookstore. If you're like me, you read many books each year make sure to buy them from the bookstore you visit, and be a known face at that bookstore to the workers. Make sure also to bring a professional Marketing Plan as well as reviews, press releases, and a copy of the book.

-Reviews and Interviews

Spread your name and books over the internet. Book review sites are many to choose from. Here are some of the sites that are most visited by readers and authors: Long and Short Reviews , Night Owl Romance, Once upon a romance, Coffee Time Romance, Romance Junkies, Romance Reviews Today, Manic Reviews, Bitten By Books, You Gotta Read Reviews, Novel Spot, and not to forget of course Romance Alley  and many more…
Reviews and interviews help keep your book and you as an author known and noticed. Make a file for all the sites you sent a request to, and make a spreadsheet of all the places that mentions you and your book. Some do author interviews or profiles; add your book and information about you as an author. Have a presence on the internet.


Register in few forum writing groups and discuss books and tips. Try to be active but careful, being active on too many groups is exhausting and may take you away from your writing. So, register in few that you can handle and wouldn’t overwhelm you. Contact writers groups or libraries in your area and offer to attend the discussion meeting to talk about writing, or answer questions.

-Promo Materials

Bookmarks, postcards, flyers can help keep your book title in front of readers. There are many websites that offer affordable rates and you can make the design yourself, however, be original in some way and creative to stand out. Ask bookstores if you can put some of your bookmarks near the cash register where customers can pick them up. Anywhere you go, keep some promo materials in your purse, you never know who you will meet.

-Your Own Website

If you don't already have an author website, what are you waiting for! A website is a crucial part of your marketing. There are websites that offer easy step-by-step to start a website and you can design it the way you like. Be careful, your design must be intriguing enough to attract readers. Don’t clutter it with info and pictures and make it like a circus, be creative, visit author’s websites and see what you like about some of them and ask yourself what did I like about this website? Be creative to stand out.

Your readers would want to know more about you. Post reviews, offer visitors an enticing "free reads" scene or first chapter of your novel or anything that’s connected to the setting, theme or characters. Add some fun subjects, like recipes, or information about relationships—make sure it’s related to your writing.

-Book Trailer

Creating a creative book trailer is one way to promote a book to readers. This type of promotion can make a sale, or hurt it.
When making the trailer, it’s very important to keep in mind a book trailer is like any marketing strategy, it should be carefully planned. The artistic skill and marketing talent are the foundation of creating a successful video that will present your book in a fascinating style.

Few points you should consider as you create your trailer:• While I create book trailers, it is important to make the trailer short, not more than two minutes, so the trailer won’t bore the viewers.

• Words used are so crucial to the success of your video; it shouldn’t be more than one short sentence per frame, to be able to read it comfortably. I work with authors to come up with tweaked sentences or words to convey the right amount of information, enough to capture the reader’s interest.
• How you construct your video is essential when you are marketing your book. If your video isn’t fascinating enough, it can hurt you more than help you sell your story.
• The use of suitable video effects/pictures is essential part in making your trailer more professional, it’s not how many effects/pictures you use, but what and how you use these effects/pictures.
• The trailer should give a different peek into the story, and compliment the blurb, not repeat it. One of the mistakes I see, in my opinion of course, is that some authors use the trailer as a blurb, and the mistake in using a blurb in the trailer is that you are giving the readers one chance in liking what they are watching, and if they didn’t find it intriguing, you lost them. From your trailer readers need to get to the blurb to learn more, then to your story to know the answers.

Using the trailer as stage one, and the blurb as stage two that’s two chances the reader may comeback and buy your book, which is the final stage you want the readers to reach. Just like a book cover, some readers if they are not attracted to it, they leave the book, some go to the blurb, and from there they will buy the book, or not.
Same works for the book trailer, you must attract readers enough to get them to your story, and if the book trailer failed to attract readers, and wasn’t up to their standards, then you lost the sell. Cluttering the book trailer with many words will put readers off.

Book trailers and book covers fascinate me, and graphic design always drew my attention. Many readers are visual they like seeing a moving picture and if that interest them enough, they will read the book blurb.

There are many marketing ideas you can find on the internet and forums, or by asking your fellow authors. Use anything and everything to promote your books and spread your name, but make it professional. It’s hard work but to see your books out there recognized, read, and enjoyed is worth it.

Technically, writing is demanding and hard work, but the joy we get from writing is like breathing fresh air every time we start a new story, like a new hope, or new life just started. No matter what I say, it’s not enough, but let me tell you this: Writing completes me and I write to bring joy to my reader’s lives and mine as well.

Whether you are new or a multi-published author, I wish you the best and all success. If you have a new idea on how to market a book, please by all means share it here with all of us.

Keep writing!

Suzannah Safi
Romance Author, Promoter, Graphic Designer

Author of: Worth Every Breath...Available from

This Time You Are Mine...Available from

Behind a Closed Heart...Free Read.

Owner of Romance Alley

Owner of Book Trailer Design

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GetToKnowTheBook: Author Victoria Roder 'The Dream House Visions And Nightmares'

Victoria Roder lives in central Wisconsin with her husband Ron and a house full of pets. She enjoys camping, shooting bow at targets, snowshoeing, and motorcycle riding. Let’s get to know Victoria Roder’s book, The Dream House Visions And Nightmares.

My Mom is famous for biblical and inspirational quotes such as, ‘Do unto others’, and ‘What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger’. She is also the person that told me repeatedly that I have a good imagination and should write books. I had a rocky start to family life until my parent’s adopted me at the age of seven. It didn’t kill me, so in fact, mom was right it made me stronger and in my shyness I turned to creativity.

I began having recurring dreams about a house that my birth family lived in for a brief period of time when I was a child. Even with the passage of time, in the dreams I remained a young girl. I could see myself standing on a desolate street void of sound, lights, or cars. Next, instead of watching myself I starred through my own eyes at the ominous house. The dream never progressed, and I never entered the house. Each time I woke up I knew that I had experienced the dream before. The dream began to trouble me, so I discussed it with my sister Tammy. She suggested I write it down, in the hope that it wouldn’t bother me anymore. I began recording the details of the dream and then instead of it not bothering me, it consumed me.
Those dreams became the premise for my paranormal romance novel The Dream House Visions And Nightmares. It is a murder mystery wrapped in a paranormal ghost story. Apparitions and vivid dreams reveal clues of mystery, murder, and age-old revenge.

Recurring dreams of a house Hope Graham's family rented when she was a child, taunt her nights with images of a woman in a bloody nightgown pleading for help. Dream sequences of children metamorphosing into rats, blood spewing out of windows, and walking across decaying bones, foretell of sins of the past and forewarn of danger in the present. In an attempt to end the agony of her sleep deprivation, Hope travels to her hometown...only to discover that the truth can be more frightening than a nightmare.

A romance develops when Hope meets Brock, the business owner next door to her former home. He offers Hope all the things her ex-husband couldn’t: romance, friendship, support, encouragement, tenderness, understanding, and love. He’s her sounding board, her confidant, and her romance when she needs a break from the intense mystery surrounding the former home that is haunting her. Can the budding romance survive Hope’s scarred past?

Excerpt: The Dream House Visions And Nightmares, Asylett Press 2009.

I looked up and down the dimly lit street. There was no evidence of life. Nor were there any sounds. No dogs barking. No horns honking. No children playing. Nothing. I focused on the house-on its paneless windows, weathered boards and dilapidated porch sinking into a sea of overgrown grass and weeds-and nausea overcame me as an overwhelming moldy odor permeated the air. The look of the house didn’t make my skin crawl; it was the essence of it.

I watched the dilapidated house-it moved closer. Perhaps it lured me to it. I began to shiver. I looked down at the white cotton nightgown that I wore. Silk embossed flowers decorated the bodice. I was still straining to hear a sound when I realized, blood had saturated my gown until it had become a second skin.
I felt a tug on my gown. I looked down-Rae’s hair cascaded over her face as she clasped my hem through the fence. She pleaded, “Please, help me, please. Can’t you hear my children screaming?”
I struggled to get away…

The Dream House Visions And Nightmares is available on the publisher’s website,, and To find out more about me and read an excerpt, please view my website

Friday, December 18, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: Author Angelica Hart and Zi 'KILLER DOLLS'

KILLER DOLLS By Angelica Hart and Zi
Release September 2009
Champagne Books

Like a soft hand-crocheted coverlet, the Christmas season wraps about most of us with all those tangibles scents, sights, and emotions. It is a day when family and friends merge, and celebrations bubble into cherished memories. It is also a day of gift giving, but the most intangible yet most precious gift is that of love. As romance authors, we attempt to give that gift away every day within the pages of our books. Come and listen as we preview a tale of love between Letti and Taut.

After bio-terrorists use ricin to kill a man, they plan to attack innocent children by using ricin filled handcrafted dolls created by Letti Noel.

Letti, a doll maker by profession and a full-blown, staunch romantic by choice, she had not found that skipped heart beat, catch breath, face flushing moment with a man in far too long. Then, he entered her world, and teasingly called himself the Elephant King. Her normally timid demeanor dissolved as she found a brazen, more sensual being residing under her business savvy self. Dare she pursue this man who alternately pushed her away and drew her close? Dare she risk her heart even after discovering deceit skulk beneath his intimate seduction? The answers were as elusive even as his magnetic allure is unavoidable.

Unbeknownst to Letti the Elephant King is an FBI agent working undercover to find the terrorist. Haunted by a past that cannot be changed, Taut maintains an impregnable focus when it comes to his job while avoiding any personal relationships. When he goes undercover and plays the pursuer, he finds himself falling into the role a little too easily. When peril stalks Letti, he realizes his feelings for her are real, the guilt at lying to her disturbing, and the need to keep her safe all-encompassing.

Meanwhile, children are in increasing danger.

Meanwhile, there is another death.

Meanwhile, Taut’s deceit threatens their growing love even as the stalking terrorists threaten their lives.


Letti gasped at the unexpected behavior but she wasn't adverse to it. After all, he did something similar when he had kissed her so suddenly in her apartment. It felt like one of those fantasy moments, something right out of an old-fashioned bodice ripper. Yet, the moment wasn't quite right. There were those guys. Shouldn't they be a bit prudent, or did the possibility of danger turn Taut…well…taut.

She struggled but he refused to release her. He couldn't let her do anything that might spread the ricin. Gallagher had provided photos of ricin victims. He would not allow this to harm Letti. No one was to be hurt. Not again. Not on his watch. That imperative directed his next decisions.
His hold was an aphrodisiac, animalistic, driven, homogeneous with her want, placated only by submission to it, and her body began to respond. Shallow short breaths followed the intense heat smoldering in her groin, incinerating any resistance, and guaranteeing conflagration of raging flames of lust. The tight, pucker of her nipples signaled her growing arousal, and heaviness attached itself to her breasts, having that need to be touched. She surrendered to his authority, submitted, and urged him with her acquiesces to take more.

Once she stopped thrashing about, in the dark veil of silence still at her back, he grabbed her blouse, hand over one breast; she reacted to his touch as he balled the cloth in a huge hand, recalled the words, cut over-the-head garments away, and with one violent motion foreshadowing tremendous strength, tore it from her. In silence, he held it at arm’s length and disposed of it in an adjacent plastic-lined trash basket.


Their combined accomplishments include book publications in print and/or electronic versions of twenty-four titles, fifteen romance specific, ten manuscripts pending, EPPIE finalist for three books, Cecil Whig award, Hob-Nob Reader's Choice Award, written over 500 shorts with numerous published in both nationwide and small press magazines, articles published in various local, city and statewide newspapers, including four as a Guest Columnist in addition to trade articles. Both are members of various writing groups.

KILLER DOLLS IS AVAILABLE: Unaware that bio-terrorists are using her handcrafted dolls to attack the innocent, Letti Noel finds herself falling for Taut Johnson, an undercover FBI agent. Even as deceit is a growing barrier to their love, it's the stalking terrorists that are a threat to their lives.

We'd love to hear from anyone interested in what we do. Anyone who writes us at 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 ~ September 2009
SNAKE DANCE ~ February 2010

Sunday, December 6, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: Author Aasiyah Qamar/ Nolwynn Ardennes:Light My World-Storms in a Shot Glass

At the time of writing Light My World, the story that showcased the life, trials and tribulations of Diya Hemant, I didn’t know I would soon be writing the story of Jane Smithers in Storms in a Shot Glass. Different women, different outlooks on life, different goals, different aspirations where love was concerned…
Did these two have anything in common, other than they both sprang from my imagination and wrote their stories through my pen?

It’s a question I often wondered about, and one I always wanted to have answered. Through a strange twist of Fate, both books were to come out at a few months’ interval, thus pitching me with both characters at around the same time. Lo and behold, there was some common ground between Diya and Jane! Read on through the encounter that took place at a secluded café in London when I had my two heroines meet.

“Damn it, I’m so sorry I’m late,” Diya chimed as she breezed through the light-filled, airy interior of the café in a posh end of Knightsbridge.
All eyes turn to her, and Jane watched as the men cannot take their eyes off the tiny woman who resembles a life-size doll. She sure was pretty, yet what caught everyone’s attention when Diya was around was the aura of bubbly confidence that shone through and which was obvious in her sprightly step.

“How long have I kept you waiting? Not too long, I hope,” Diya continued as she reached the table where Jane sat and plunged into a seated position in the vacant chair. Her gaze quickly scanned her companion – Jane Smithers wasn’t what at all like she’d expected her to be. From the posh, cultured accent, she’d have ventured Jane had to be a boring old spinster in starched knickers. Yet, the woman across the table appeared to be in her late twenties and there was a startling, arresting quality about her, mostly apparent in her poised, regal bearing and in the artfully structured planes of her face.

A waiter appeared as if by magic, and Diya placed her order. Latte with full cream milk and extra whipped cream.
She watched as Jane eyed her with a raised eyebrow. Her gaze fell to the dainty teacup on the table. Clear, gold-coloured tea with wafts of steam slowly rising in swirling whirls – she’d bet there was no ounce of sugar in the cup.
Oh, well, to each her own, she mused as she allowed her gaze to roam over the surroundings and glance through the clear windows, catching on a glimpse of Harrod’s which was just around the corner. Diya sighed. “You’re one lucky gal, you know, to be living here everyday.”

Jane gave a soft chuckle. “I thought you lived in a tropical paradise. At least, that’s what I gathered Mauritius was supposed to be.”
Diya leaned forward and as usual not giving a tiff about etiquette and all the oh-so-proper manners, placed her right elbow on the table and her chin in the cupped palm of her hand.
“It actually is all that,” she paused, “as well as a hotbed of gossip with a gaggle of aunts who want nothing more than to turn your life into their next rabidly-avidly-cliché-ed Indian soap opera.”
At this Jane had to laugh. “Take out the Indian bit and you get what the people here want to make of your life too.”
“So life is all about battling this barrage of conventions and never-ending talk, innit? Wherever you are, it’s the same.”
“You could say that,” Jane concurred.

The waiter came by at that moment with Diya’s latte, and she raised her eyes to acknowledge his presence as she offered her thanks. Watching as he smiled and then turned and left, she looked at Jane. “He’s pretty, isn’t he?”
Jane was tempted to grimace, and she caught herself just in time. By God, that girl was definitely young if she called a lad pretty. And though she didn’t want to burst the bubble, there was just this much an older gal could take when she saw someone younger than her run head first into a terrible situation. “Diya, if I’m not mistaken, that’s eye makeup he’s wearing.”

“Good grief! You think? Urghh.” Diya had no qualms about grimacing outwardly though, and she scrunched her face into a really strange-looking rictus. “Which just goes to prove – men are a worthless loss of our precious time.”
Jane nearly choked on the sip of ginger tea she’d taken. Oh no, she hadn’t missed the spite in the younger girl’s words, and this made her curious. Usually, it took a very specific something – or someone – to bring such antagonism towards the other gender. “Say that again?”

“No, not all men. British men are!”
To say that Jane was intrigued would be an understatement, and though she didn’t know Diya that much, she sensed there was a certain affinity between them, kind of like kindred spirits meeting. So she jumped in with her very specific question. “What has that British man done to you?”
“Other than make my life hell, nothing!”

There was something brewing here. Though Jane tried her best to smooth all rough edges, she loved a good girl-chat like any other chick. “And who would that devil be?”
“Trent Garrison. My very obnoxious, very rude, and very caveman-and-oaf-like neighbour.”

Trouble in paradise. When a woman was that vehement about a man, it usually meant she was either totally right, or so totally gobsmacked by the man-in-question’s good points she just had to remind herself how much of a bad match he potentially was. You love him, she was about to say, but bit her tongue before the words escaped her. Unless Diya saw this truth for herself, nothing and no one would convince her there could be much, much more where she and this oaf was concerned.
“Come on,” Diya said, startling Jane out of her thought. “Surely you agree with me British men are total morons.”

You don’t know the half of it. This time, she could do nothing to stop the grimace from perturbing her features.
“Aha! I knew it. You have an oaf in your life too,” Diya exclaimed. At least something juicy to crack the shell of perfection around the classy and totally professional-looking Jane. “Come on, out with it. Who’s he?”
Jane sighed. What was the point in trying to deflect the question? “Michael Rinaldi.”
“He’s Italian? No wonder then. I bet he’s a real bossy Alpha.”
“He’s a real bossy Alpha all right but he’s British. It’s his grandfather who was the original Italian.”

“So you’re close. That a love-hate relationship you have or what?”
Talk of a prying little git. But however much she resented the invasion of privacy, there was something about Diya Hemant that simply made you not able to dislike or hate her. “No, we’re not close. In fact, I don’t know him really.”
“Then how come you can trace his family tree back to Italy?” Diya asked before she took a sip of her quickly-going-cold latte.

“It’s,” Jane paused and sighed, “complicated. I work for his father.”
“You got that bit right,” the girl answered her in her forthright manner. “Talk of a situation. What is it about him that’s gotten your knickers in a twist though?”
Jane sighed again, and this time she swore the air came up right from her toes and all through her body. “I’m pregnant.”
At this Diya placed her cup so forcefully down that thick white foam sloshed over the rim and danced down the heavy porcelain. “Goodness, girl. Talk of a predicament. He knows? I mean, you told him?”

“Yes.” How much did she tell this girl who fast seemed to be becoming the kind of bosom girlfriend to whom you spoke of just about anything? “He’s not the father.”
Diya frowned, and relegating the cup of coffee to the sidelines, leaned with both her forearms on the table towards Jane. “He isn’t?”

Jane shook her head. “And it’s not what you think. I’m not playing him. He knows who got me up the duff and how it happened, and he doesn’t care. He just asked, what if it were mine?” She paused and took a deep breath. “I’m two months along, Diya, and you know when I met Michael for the first time ever in my existence?”
Diya shook her head, hanging on to her new friend’s every word. “When?”
“Two days ago.”

The thoughts and explanations ran through Diya’s head, and try as she might, she couldn’t imagine herself in Jane’s shoes. “You, girl, are in a mighty pickle.”
Jane gave a small snort. “You think I’m the only one? What about you and your oaf?”
Both women remained silent for long seconds, with one question they were sure, flashing like bright neon lights at the forefront of their minds.
How would they ever get out of their respective pickle?

To find out, come grab a copy of Light My World, which released on October 2, 2009, and see the bumpy and eventful ride Fate has planned for Diya, and how Trent Garrison the ‘oaf’ will be thrown in at every turn and corner. And to know how Jane will work herself out of her predicament with her bossy Alpha Italo-Briton aka Michael Rinaldi,, mark your calendars for January 8, 2010, when Storms in a Shot Glass will be released!

Light My World by Aasiyah Qamar:
Life's good until it throws you the one curve you never wanted or expected.
At twenty-four, Diya Hemant faces the prospect dreaded by every modern Indo-Mauritian girl – an arranged marriage to not end up an old maid. But for vivacious and live-life-in-the-fast-track Diya, giving in to her mother’s antiquated morals was never an option. Hearth, home and children weren’t part of her plan for the short-term, even if she’d love to find her Mr. Right.
Widower Trent Garrison has already been there and done that, and has no plan to go down that road again. He has to ride the straight and steady for the sake of his sons, and nothing will divert him. Marriage, attachment, and love are not in the cards for him, not ever.
Neither can afford a U-turn. But they can't dodge it either.

Genre - Multicultural Romance/AngloIndian
Length - Novel
Heat Level - Sweet

Buy Link: (Kindle edition)

Storms in a Shot Glass by Nolwynn Ardennes:
A little bump is about to cause a lot of ripples.
Personal Assistant Jane Smithers needs a baby as much as she needs the immature boss, bitchy mother and lunatic Russian models cohabiting peacelessly around her. What she also doesn’t need is a man who pops out of nowhere, intent on taking over her accidental pregnancy.
Cold logic and hard facts rule the world of millionaire corporate lawyer Michael Rinaldi. Until he meets Jane, and the insignificant-looking woman plunges him head first into the churning waters of tempestuous emotion and hot-blooded impulse.
Unlikely feelings crop up at the same time relentless gossip escalates. Both realize their respective world has irredeemably changed. The question is - will they be able to live with this reality?

Genre - Contemporary Romance
Length - Novel
Heat Level - Sweet

Buy Link:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: Author Stacey Joy Netzel 'Mistletoe Rules'

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. All the beautiful decorations, inside and out, the snow, and the season of giving. My favorite part is getting together with family and spending time laughing and eating, and feeling the love in the room. This year we're not even going to exchange presents--we're just all donating to a charity of our choice and it's going to be great!

Mistletoe Rules is all about family and love, and once I decided to write about all three Riley siblings, it was a no brainer for me to give the book a Christmas theme. My dad used to play Santa for the neighbors when us kids were a little older, so it was also fun to cast him and my mom as Santa Butch and Judy.

Hope you all have a healthy and happy holiday season!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Other excerpts for all three stories available at


Christmas recipe for love—combine a matchmaking Santa, lots of mistletoe, one iron-clad rule, fated hearts; mix and stir. The Riley siblings don’t stand a chance.

Christmas in July at the zoo is the last place single parents Eric Riley and Marissa Wilder expect to find love. Thanks to a little Mistletoe Mischief in the form of their two young daughters and Santa, they discover that Mistletoe Rules are not made to be broken.

Major Mark Riley plays Court Jester to Janelle Walsh's Snow Queen at the Christmas Parade and is instantly captivated by the cute redhead whose grandpa just happens to be Santa. When Mark discovers she's the tenant he evicted from his newly purchased property, it's going to take a little bit of Santa's Mistletoe Magic to save their romance.

When Lisa Riley comes home for Mark's Christmas Eve wedding, her high school rivalry with Janelle’s cousin, Derek Walsh, picks up right where it left off, only this time Derek's got the upper hand. Santa bides his time as these two battle it out because he's waited all year for this Mistletoe Match-up.

EXCERPT from Mistletoe Match-up:

“That’s everything.” He swung her suitcase through the door to rest inside the foyer.

“Thanks for all your help,” Lisa said. “You went way above and beyond.”

“No problem.” He turned to leave, giving an involuntary shiver when a gust of frigid air slipped

under his tux jacket. He hunched his shoulders to keep the chill from going down his neck. “I’ll see you around.”

“Derek, um, I could make a pot of coffee, or hot chocolate, if you’d like to come in and warm up.”

A glance over his shoulder produced a simultaneous realization. She looked unsure of herself for the first time all night, and in the doorway above her head hung a sprig of what could only be mistletoe.

He’d had hot chocolate to warm up last Christmas Eve—but sharing a cup with Lisa sounded so much better than sitting in the woods with his grandpa. He made his way back onto the porch of the ranch-style house. When she stepped aside so he could enter, he caught sight of the grandfather clock behind her, only minutes from striking two a.m.

What was he thinking? That they’d sit down and talk over the good times like old friends? Good times didn’t exist between them because they’d never been friends. A smart man would leave now, before something she said or did reawakened his inferiority complex.

Surprising regret blew in with the snow when he halted. “On second thought, I should probably get going.”

Lisa followed his gaze and noted the time. “Wow, I’m sorry.” She moved back into the doorway. “I didn’t realize it was so late.”

Something about her tone of voice kept his feet rooted to the porch. Regret? Disappointment? Recalling her uncertainty when she’d invited him inside, he capitulated to his self-destructive curiosity and took another step so only two feet separated them. “I do have one question.”

Wariness flitted across her face. She grasped the edges of her unzipped coat and pulled them together before crossing her arms in a gesture of defense. But she met his gaze and held her ground. “Just one—and nothing personal.”

Spoken like someone with secrets. Derek filed that information for later, then pointed skyward

without breaking eye contact. He tried, but couldn’t hold back a smile. “What’s the deal with the

mistletoe rules?”

Her head tilted up, then her eyes closed. “Stupid mistletoe.”

After a deep, resigned breath, she met his gaze again, her cheeks stained bright red. “The official

rule in the Riley house is that you’re not allowed to refuse a kiss if you’re caught under the mistletoe.”

He grasped the doorframe with one hand, and lifted the other to brush her hair back from her cheek. She came across like she didn’t want this, but her breath hitched when he leaned close. Good so far. Better yet, she didn’t retreat.

He threaded his fingers through her soft hair and skimmed along the smooth nape of her neck. Her gaze dropped to his mouth, then her lashes drifted closed, fanned against her flushed cheeks. The vision drew him like a magnet. He played with fire but couldn’t locate any common sense to fight the flames.

“What happens if you break the rule?” He whispered the question only inches from her mouth.

“Bad luck. Like you said at the wedding.”

The husky rasp of her voice and her warm breath burned Derek faster than a scalding gulp of hot chocolate. “Considering your Christmas Eve, I don’t imagine you want to jinx Christmas Day…do you?”

One heartbeat of hesitation. “Not really.” He closed the distance until their mouths became one. Eyes closed, he savored the silky sensation of her lips against his. But with someone like Lisa, it wasn’t enough. He wanted—needed—to taste her.

At the first swipe of his tongue, she angled her head and opened to him with a soft sound of surrender. Her moist, sweet essence tantalized his taste buds, drawing him deeper. Typical Lisa fashion, she didn’t allow him full control. Hands swept under his open jacket, nails raked the muscles of his back through his dress shirt. She eliminated all space between them, her breasts pressed against his chest as her tongue sought equal access to the recesses of his eager mouth.

The material of their clothes did nothing to contain the heat of their bodies. A low groan rumbled from his throat, and he brought his other hand up to cup her face. Derek walked her backward, intent on continuing the kiss inside, out of the harsh winter wind chilling his backside.

The chime of the grandfather clock shattered their moment of passion. Lisa jerked back, putting

distance between them without completely pulling free of his touch. While they both caught their

breath, Derek gazed down into her wide gray eyes, as confused as she looked.

What the hell did this mean? Them not fighting—her kissing him back like she couldn’t get enough. Hell, he wanted more. Right now.

MISTLETOE RULES, a Christmas anthology

Available in ebook and print at The Wild Rose Press:

Reviewer top Pick from Night Owl Reviews:
ISBN: 1-60154-655-6
Rating: Spicy
Length: 300 pages

Also available at many other online booksellers.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: Author Kari Thomas 'Her Heart His Soul'

I love writing in the Paranormal Romance genre. There are so many possibilities and plot ideas you can come up with, and you have the chance to turn a story into something so out-of-this-world readers won't soon forget it. Most of my books have Shapeshifter Heroes, yet when Drake Domitaine popped into my head I somehow knew he just wouldn't work as a Shifter. He was different. He had the Alpha bad boy side, but there was something that called out to me that said there's more than devil in this hero. That's when it hit me. He's an Angel. But he wasn't full angel; not anymore. Something horrific had happened to cause his DNA to be part Angel...and part Demon. Now, while facing the daunting task of saving humankind from Demon annihilation, he has to constantly fight an inner battle between his good side and his bad side. If his Angel side wins, he loses the human woman he's fallen in love with. If his Demon side wins...he will kill her.
Readers have told me that Drake is one hero so unique, so heroic, so sexy, they won't ever forget him. Hearing that, I know Drake was written just the way he needed to be. What woman could resist a man half-Angel and half-Demon?



He called to her in her dreams. She didn’t doubt she was dreaming because never in all her waking hours had she ever felt this way. It couldn’t be real. No matter how desperately she wanted it to be. The hard angles of his outline were visible even though he stood back in the concealing shadows of her night-filled bedroom. Slowly he lifted his hand, beckoning her.

“Come closer.” His quiet tone was darkly sensual, hinting at a promise that sent shivers through her entire body.

“Who are you?” She cringed at the sound of her breathless voice. He was the one causing her to feel that way—breathless, shivery—and she hadn’t even seen his face.

“Maybe I’m the one you’re searching for.” His hypnotic voice beckoned her closer and she couldn’t resist. She moved toward him before she even realized it. She forced herself to stop a foot away from his shadowy form. Too close, yet not close enough. Her mind warred with her body, leaving her confused at the sensual power he so easily wielded, and fighting a desire threatening to envelop her completely. Forcing air into her lungs, she breathed out, “Why are you the one I’m searching for?”

Only a few words, but they had the compelling power to send her senses into overdrive.

“Because you need me.”

Author's website

ISBN: 1-60601-327-0
March 2009
Print and Ebook
Paranormal Romance with Angels and Demons,
Approx. 83,000 words.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Author's Tips: Using Research in Building a Paranormal Romance World

Hi, I'm Susan Hanniford Crowley, a new paranormal romance author but a long-time science fiction and fantasy author and editor. I am also the founder of the Nights of Passion Blog. Drop by and visit anytime.

In writing my new vampire romance THE STORMY LOVE LIFE OF LAURA CORDELAIS, researching mythology and places was a fun and at times an intense experience. Starting with places, I spent every summer in New York with my aunt and grandmother, some summers in Florida with my other grandparents, and I spent a gloriously intense week in New Orleans especially in the French Quarter where I focused most of the plot. While I was visiting, my husband and I rode in a carriage pulled by a mule named Napolean, which the driver yelled at and called 'stupeed.' In doing my research, I found that one scholar identified over 40 separate dialects. I chose to use two sparingly to add the flavor of the city. I also used some French and had a friend who speaks French fluently check it over. Two of my vampires spoke French and there is an inscription in French on the Cordelais crypt in St. Louis #1 Cemetery. Studying the cities of the dead in New Orleans is a real scream, not to mention voodoo and rituals. Some of my research was online, some in person.

Tip #1: Use the places you've been to and when you can't go someplace, research the place to death.

I used ancient Greek mythology, the more obscure legends, to bring the Keres, the ancestors of the vampires, and also the Telkhines, Laura's ancestors, to life. It took a lot of work going further and further back until I came across creatures not commonly taught in schools. It meant a ton of reading. Regarding vampires, I had twenty-five years of research behind me as a panelist at science fiction and fantasy conventions. I also came into it knowing a lot about Greek mythology, being part Greek. Still, I wanted the supernaturals in my book to be a significant challenge to David, my principle vampire. He's a sophisticated New Yorker, so I took him out of his element by having part of the story in New Orleans and Florida.

Tip #2 Use your own heritage and dig deeper into its mythology. Research legends that are obscure and use your imagination to fill in the holes.

Laura struggled through the dark and burst through a great light. She gasped for breath and it filled her. Warmth spread through her every part, then a surge of energy she didn’t understand. Her heart beat. Differently. Odd. Different from any feeling she’d ever had. Her eyelashes fluttered and then in the dim light of a strange windowless room, she saw a man’s face.

His dark, curly hair framed his chiseled features. What struck her most were his dark, fathomless eyes. I can get lost in those eyes and never want to leave.

He smiled.

She flushed. I hope he can’t hear what I’m thinking.

I can.

She sat up, smiling with embarrassment. “You pulled me out of the river?”


“Thank you.” Laura trembled. “I don’t understand. I was dying.”

“You were very badly injured in the fall. I was going to take you to the hospital, but you said, ‘No hospital.’ That you’d keep trying to kill yourself.” His jaw tightened. “I couldn’t bear the idea of your death. Please, forgive me, but I couldn’t let you die.” He gazed deeply into her eyes.

Laura moved her tongue inside her mouth and came across the fangs.
“Oh, my God!” She tried to sit up, but he pushed her gently down.

“Don’t get up just yet. You’re still healing.”

“You made me a vampire?” Every tale she’d heard as a child in New Orleans rushed back to her. Vampires were monsters. “Now I’m a monster!” Anger flushed through her. How dare he make her this! He had no right. She seethed.

“No. You are not a monster. Neither am I. I gave you a life. It’s your choice how you live it.”

Then another emotion unexpectedly filled her, when she gazed up into his eyes. I couldn’t bear the idea of your death. His tender words echoed in her entire being and soothed her broken heart, as if he’d kissed her lips without touching her. She looked at him with wonder, reached up and caressed the young beard on his chin. He smiled and she could see his fangs now. Strangely, she wasn’t frightened.

My website is

My blog is Nights of Passion blog

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: Author Tamelia Tumlin 'Seducing the Night'

They are dark, dangerous and devastatingly sexy, yet women are powerless to stop their attraction to these valiant creatures of the night. And I'm no exception. Vampires have always had a special place in my heart for as long as I can remember and I can actually pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with the dark side. I couldn't have been more than twelve when Count Dracula stole my heart as I watched Love at First Bite starring George Hamelton. From that moment on I was hooked. I watched every vampire movie possible and began reading many vampire books by Amanda Ashley. That's when I knew. I had to write about vampires.

My novella, Seducing the Night, delivers a spicy read which proves love doesn't end with death. Writing Alexandru and Rana's story was so much fun I'm planning a new vampire story soon. Like George Hamelton's charater in Love at First Bite, my hero, Alexandru, has just the right blend of strength, honor and power to make him interesting.. I hope you enjoy the story.

Seducing the Night blurb:

Rana Cartwright wanders into The Voodoo Den for one reason and one reason only. To seduce and kill the man she once loved. The only way she can save her son's life is to destroy the vampire who sired him. There's only one problem. She soon realizes that she never stopped loving the man she must destroy.
Alexandru Milkos has lived six long years of torment since turned by an elder vampire. He lost the only thing that ever mattered to him. His fiancée, Rana.

Now she's back. Though his love for her has never wavered, he senses she has a motive much deadlier than a simple reunion. However, what concerns him the most is the shameful secret he's harbored for the past six years. A secret that could turn Rana away from him forever, that is if he lives long enough for her to realize the truth.

Author's website:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free Read

Author Eva Gordon offers the first twenty one pages free from her novel Werewolf Sanctuary.

Since ancient times, the Lupercal Council has kept their people’s werewolf identity a well-guarded secret from man. They refer to their kind as lycans. The lycan shifts into a bear-sized wolf, bearing unique markings reminiscent of Maori or Celtic tattoos. The pack shifts during the full moon and are under the control of their alpha male leader. The alpha male and alpha female are not bound by the full moon and can shift at will. Lycans can only breed with their kind. Read more on

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

GetToKnowTheBook: KISMET Forever Yours Series by K. Starling

K. Starling writes vintage romance. She believes in the proverbial knights on white horses. Most of her time is spent with family playing cheesy board games such as Monopoly and Clue. Card games are a family favorite as are nights out at the Starlight Drive-In in Atlanta, Georgia. Spending time outdoors is another favorite activity. K. lives in Georgia with her family and numerous pets- dogs, cats, hermit crabs, and rabbits. K= klean and there is a niche for klean romance.

K. is of course Kissa who writes stories on the steamier side of romance. She just shortened her name to K. so that readers could identify her sweeter romances. Today is a special day for Kissa and her hunk of a husband... today is their wedding anniversary! Kismet is a story about long lost lovers that are reunited and spend eternity together. The relationship between Kissa and her husband is one that will last through eternity as well. Her own true-life romance inspires a lot of the sentimentality in her writing. According to Kissa "Everyone should find their soul-mate" and she has.

Here is a short blurb about Kismet, K. Starling's first sweet romance novella:

Love blossomed in 1940 but life intervened. Can Harold and Bea regain that lost passion after seventy years? Harold and Bea met and fell in love in 1940. Both enlisted to fight in WWII and then came home to marry other people. Now, seventy years later, they agree to attend a high school reunion. Neither of them know if the other will show or what happened so many years ago. These two find that a broken proposal is hard to forgive but when you're almost ninety you don't have time for regrets.

Available now at Red Rose Publishing:

Author'sTips: Reading has helped me improve my writing--Mona Risk.

Reading has helped me improve my writing as much as the many workshops and seminars I attended. Armed with a pencil, I used to check the paragraphs or scenes I particularly liked, or mark with an X those that annoyed me. An X meant, "Bad. Bad. To avoid." In a way, a lousy book helped me polish my craft as thoroughly as a good one. I saw firsthand examples of the pitfalls that could turn off a reader or an editor from a story. Of course, I am talking about published books, so even if I didn't like a scene, there was obviously an editor who didn't mind it. The more I wrote manuscripts, the more I read and analyzed books. I became a compulsive critique and reviewer. .

Honing the craft to write my own books have transformed me into a difficult-to- please reader. Now, more than ever, I like a well-written book with a strong voice, fast pace, grabbing emotion, and unforgettable characters I can identify with or root for. But then, isn't that what editors look for in a wannabe author? So my tastes are not unusually difficult to satisfy, right?

Yet I see many successful writers do things that can pull a reader out of a story: Wrong use of a foreign language; sagging middles where the scenes stagnate; slow pace; introduction of new characters in the last chapters to help the resolution. I will comment on two of them.

1- Use of foreign words adds pizzazz when used correctly. I enjoy reading a foreign word here and there because it enhances a character's voice or conveys the right mood. I often use foreign words in my own books as my heroes are always foreigners while my heroines are American.

I peppered FRENCH PERIL with French words, but then I am fluent in French, and know what I am doing. For TO LOVE A HERO, a story set in Belarus, I asked my son's Russian in- laws to write for me the Russian translation of the few words I wanted to use. In BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, my hero is Puerto Rican, I can mumble a few words of Spanish but I am certainly not able to write correctly. When I asked for help from a neighbor, she said that her Argentinean Spanish wouldn't be correct for a Puerto Rican. In Florida, I have enough Latino friends who were able to give me the correct word and spelling.
While I was reading an emotional scene from a bestselling author, I came across a sentence that sounded like Haitian Creole rather than Parisian French, and burst out laughing. Of course my hilarity took me out of the wonderful moment. Why didn't that author check her words? The same thing happened as I was reading a romantic suspense and later a historical. The French words destroyed the mood. If you are going to use foreign words, please check with someone who can give you the correct meaning and right spelling.

2- Slow pace: I recently attended a whole day workshop with Mary Buckham, a wonderful instructor, if not the best. She explained why a slow pace can kill a book. Fifty years ago, with no television or computer to distract them, women had plenty of time to read narrative with beautiful descriptions and enjoyed emotional introspections. They read Hemingway and delighted in his wonderful but lengthy descriptions.

By contrast, today's women are continuously on the go, juggling the duties of their jobs with the responsibilities of motherhood. They read whenever they can afford a minute to sit and relax, in the doctor's waiting room, on the plane and at the airport, on the treadmill,…Career women and busy mothers can't afford to waste time. They want to get to the plot and emotional development as soon as possible before rushing back to their business or children. They want to be entertained quickly in the few minutes they can spare to read your book. Don't waste their time with useless descriptions. Give them a few details that ground them in the setting and move on.

Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press, TO LOVE A HERO and FRENCH PERIL, and medical romance for The Wild Rose Press, BABIES IN THE BARGAIN and Rx FOR TRUST.

Rx FOR TRUST will be released on December 4, 2009. All her books are available at

Author'sTips: Emotions enhance the quality of your writing.


Strong emotions often make for compelling writing. However, some of us writers have trouble making strong emotions ring true. We want people to be very angry, very passionate, very regretful and so on, but we don't always describe the feelings. We need to build it up to make the reader believe it.
When I write about characters emotions, I try to ask myself:

-What emotions can I imagine this character feeling? List them.
-List the things that provoke each of these emotions in this character.
-List the ways in which the character displays these emotions. Remember every one reacts defiantly -to situations. What is my character reaction to a cretin situation?
-Have the character try to explain how he feels to someone in a monologue or dialogue.
-If there are any events that trigger particularly strong emotional reactions in him, think about why. If any of them are linked to past events, then write up those events--as journal entries, scenes, -dialogues, or anything else that seems appropriate.
-Pick an emotion I can't easily imagine this character feeling. What circumstances could provoke that feeling in him/her?

For more tips on writing visit my website at and you can read the excerpt of Worth Every Breath, and find what emotions I triggered, and how I showed it.

Author-Suzannah Safi

Author'sTips: Keep 'em Turning the Page with Three-dimensional Characters.

Keep 'em Turning the Page with Three-dimensional Characters

Lawmen and Outlaws Anthology and is available at on-line bookstores or at

Loretta loves to hear from her readers. Contact her at loretta(at)lorettacrogersbooks(dot)com or visit her at

One of the best rejection letters I ever received said, "We love the story premise, however, your characters are all one-dimensional."

In those early days of writing, I didn't have a clue that characters had dimensions. When we write romances, we're always advised to focus on the hero and heroine and their relationship. That intense connection has to be there, or the story isn't going to work as a romance. However, if there's nothing on the page except the aspects of the hero's and heroine's characters that relate to love, sex and romance, then the characters become cardboard, or one-dimensional.

The three-dimensional character is, first of all, believable. They appear as credible people. Think about the people you know-friends or relatives who stand out in their looks, style of speech, mannerisms, dress or quirky personalities. Like all humans, they have flaws and failings. In their own individual way, they seek to relate to others. Now translate this to the characters in your stories.

The trick to creating a 3D character is to add details that aren't strictly necessary to the plot, yet helps readers visualize the characters in our stories, to hear their voices, to see their flaws and vulnerabilities. The critical trick in this is to do it without losing the reader, who will quickly become disinterested if you go overboard with character development.

In my novella, McKenna's Woman, featured in the recently released anthology, Lawmen and Outlaws by The Wild Rose Press, the hero, McKenna Smith is a tough outlaw who kidnaps the young, innocent heroine, Audra Tadlock. At this point, you can see that McKenna and Audra are one-dimensional characters. I wanted McKenna to be more than an unfeeling, dangerous, kick-ass bad guy, and likewise, Audra would have fallen flat if she'd remained naïve and unchanged throughout the story. The following are excerpts from various scenes in McKenna's Woman to show how dimensions were added to turn McKenna and Audra into real people.

Excerpt #1: In the waning light, she spotted the saddlebags. With deft fingers, she unbuckled the straps and searched inside until her fingers touched the cold hard barrel. It knew it. I knew he'd have a gun hidden away. Wrapping her hand around the weapon, she withdrew a derringer. A quick check showed the small pistol held two shots. . .

What do we know? In this short excerpt we know that Audra isn't content being a captive. She's taken advantage of McKenna's absence from camp to find some sort of protection that will aid in her escape. This girl has spunk.

Excerpt #2: She sat nursing a cup of coffee when McKenna returned holding a prairie hen like it was a prized trophy. Rehearsing every detail of her escape inside her head, she silently plucked the bird.
"You're mighty quiet tonight, Audra. Got something on your mind?"

Damn. For days I've rattled on non-stop about this and that and everything. Naturally he'd think I'm up to something. She hoped he couldn't read her mind.

Excerpt #3: Think, you ninny. Think of something to say. He'll get suspicious. . .ooh!

"How did you learn to take pictures, McKenna?"

He was silent for a moment. "My father taught me. He had his own shop."

She didn't know why she was surprised at this declaration. Somehow she'd never thought of McKenna as having a family.

"You're not from Texas are you?"

"Now, why would you think that, little girl?"

"Because sometimes there is a refinement to the way you speak-as if you are more educated than the average. . .what are you, a photographer, a cowboy, or an outlaw?"

McKenna slanted a side-ways glance. "Well, I'm not a cowboy, that's for damn sure."

What do we know? McKenna has a sense of humor-dry that it may be.

Continue excerpt: She picked up a pebble and tossed it at him. "Stop making fun of me. I don't like being treated as if I'm stupid."

"All right. My mother was a teacher. We lived in York, Pennsylvania. The Rebs came, burned most of the town, along with our home. My mother had a bad heart. Thankfully she died before seeing my father gunned down because he refused to take photographs for the Confederacy. And before you ask, I was sixteen. And did I join the Union-yeah."

"It must have hurt you deeply to witness your parent's tragedy." Memories of her own parents' cruel deaths assailed her.

Audra's heart lurched when he strode to the cart, then settled again when he flung back the canvas and opened the burlap sack that held several bottles of whiskey. Instinctively her hand felt for the derringer hidden deep inside her pant's pocket.

They supped in silence. McKenna drank more than he ate. Bleary-eyed, he waved the bottle toward her. "You got any soul-bearing secrets, little girl?" Before she answered, he said, "Nah, you've led a sheltered life."

She gave a mock sigh. "I don't have any skeletons in my closets, McKenna. Not like you."

He tipped the bottle to his lips and swigged deep, drew the sleeve of his shirt across his mouth. His words were slurred, his eyes bleary. "Wadda you mean-skeletons?"

"You're no ordinary photographer, McKenna. I may be young and naïve, but I don't think wearing a tied-down six-gun is a prerequisite for taking pictures."

What do we know? Without describing McKenna's age, physical features, scars, height, weight, etc. I've added dimensions to his character through dialogue. What do we now know about him? Yes, he is an outlaw, but more than that, he's educated, he comes from Pennsylvania, he joined the military at a young age to seek revenge against those who killed his family, and while he still suffers from the tragic death of his parents, it's this tragedy that has shaped his character. We've also gained a small peek into Audra's character. Let's venture further into the story and look a little deeper to see what we know beyond the fact that she is only nineteen years old.

Excerpt #4: McKenna's hips straddled her and Audra felt the hardness of him against her abdomen. When he released his kiss, his mouth descended to capture the rosy peak of one breast. Audra drew in a quick breath of air. What was McKenna doing to her? What was he doing to make her want more than she could imagine in her wildest dreams? Unconsciously, her body surged upward. Panic and wondrous anticipation seized her from within and shook her to reality. She placed her hands against his chest. "No. . .stop. I beg you to stop."

Excerpt #5: Audra's body stiffened. "This is wrong. . .don't you understand. I can't. . .please, McKenna, it's indecent.

Excerpt #6: Audra shuddered, every nerve raw and tense. Her thoughts drifted back to the nightmare, and in the darkness she once more saw her mother's face, how she'd begged the soldiers to stop. Would she ever be able to forget or would she forever be haunted because she'd been too young to protect her mother?

What do we know? Although, he is her captor, one part of Audra wants to give herself to McKenna, but because of something she'd witnessed as a child, Audra associates sex with being wrong, perhaps even dirty. I've managed to build a commonality into McKenna's and Audra's characters by giving them tragedies that adds dimensions that shapes and molds them.

Excerpt #7: When the sobs stilled, she sat on the edge of the bed. McKenna wrapped a strong arm around her shoulder. She sat beside him, her hands tenderly enfolded within his own, her eyes downcast. She listened first to the deep sigh he expelled, then to his softly spoken words.

"Making love is a natural act between a man and a woman, Audra. It isn't wrong or indecent unless you make it that way."

What do we know? Yeah, he's robbed banks, held up stagecoaches, served time in prison for murder, but if we look back to where he relates about his parents, we see that McKenna still has a spark of decency and compassion. He could have, after all, satisfied his sexual appetite without second thought-but, he didn't.

Excerpt #8: She wanted to enjoy his nearness, to hear the soft laughter in his voice. She wished the tender moments could go on forever. On the other hand, she wondered how long it would be before he said something to completely destroy the mood.

"How can I be happy with you, McKenna, when you've vowed to kill the man you claim is my twin brother?"

What do we know? Audra is at a crossroads in her life. Although, she is still McKenna's captive, her feelings for him have changed. Her emotions are raw as she agonizes over the choice she must face. Who will she choose-McKenna or the brother she thought had died years earlier?

To keep readers turning the pages, you, the writer, must add dimensions to your characters, whether it is the hero, heroine, antagonist or secondary characters. Your goal is to make the reader laugh, cry, fall in love with hero and heroine, and yes, hate the villain.

McKenna's Woman is featured on page 175.

GetToKnowTheBook: Author Tony-Paul de Vissage 'Dark God Descending'

Author's website
Trailer URL :

I've blogged about my novel before, so I thought I'd let the three men of Dark God Descending speak about their parts in the story. May I introduce Tucker Upchurch III, Semris II, and Dr. David Leary. Bienvenue, bonhommes. Who would like to go first?

(They are very physically different from each other; Tuck is tall, blond and curly-haired, Semris had waist-length black hair and a pair of retractable wings protruding from his shoulder blades, and David is red-headed and freckle-faced. Tuck wears a University of Georgia sweatshirt and jeans, Semris is in the embroidered and bejeweled loincloth of a Mayan emperor with onyx, jade, and turquoise eardisks, armlets, and necklet to match. David wears a suit and lab coat. They all look at each other, nodding and frowning and hesitating, each waiting for the other to go first. Finally David speaks.)

David: Since I'm more or less a minor character until the latter part of the story, and because these two are being uncharacteristically shy, I guess I'm elected. My name's David Leary. I'm a doctor at a hospital in Athens, Georgia. Until I met up with Semris here, I thought I didn't have a humorous bone in my body--or any imagination, either!

Tuck (shakes his head): Don't let him fool you, Tony-Paul. David's always had an imagination. He's just kept it tightly reined in. I suppose he had to, suddenly having to raise a little sister after his parents died. I'm Tucker Upchurch III by the way--ex-graduate student, archaeologist, almost David's brother-in-law, and Semris' reluctant blood-brother.

Semris (brushes a long strand of black hair out of his face and executes a graceful but regal bow): And I am the one of whom these two speak. Semris II, son of Yum Cimil, the god of Death, sixth Cama-Zotz, Emperor of All Creation, Dark Lord of Nikte Uaxac...

Tuck: Enough already! We've only got so much space here.

Semris: Mi apologias, senor Tony-Paul. I never know how much to say when introducing myself. (looks at Tuck) I remember the first time you saw me, you thought I was some kind of evolution-mutant. A giant bat. But you-(to David) You thought I was a gypsy. That's a little more flattering!

David (laughs): You were the palest gypsy I'd ever seen! Except for all that black hair, I'd have said you were an albino! I also figured you were up to no good. Boy, was I ever wrong--or was I right? (grins at Tuck) and then you showed up with that fantastic story about Semris being a demon--and a god. All I could think was: What's he been smoking?

Tuck: Thanks, pal! Convincing you I was telling the truth was the most difficult thing I've ever done. You thought I was crazy and Semris was feeding my delusion.

David: I thought he was the best con man I'd ever come across, that's for sure! Truthfully, I kept walking around thinking I was in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode. I was just waiting for the commercial. And then, I walked in on Semris in the shower-

Semris: I think you'd better elaborate on that, David, before everyone gets the wrong idea.

TPV: Oui, David. Remember, this is a family-oriented blog.

David: It was pretty embarrassing. Semris was taking a shower, and the hot water made his wings unfurl, and he got stuck in the shower stall. I had just got home and I heard this God-awful commotion coming from the bathroom. Shannon was screaming, Chanua was in the stall with Semris-fully-clothed, I might add--reaching around behind him, and Semris was standing there-water splashing everywhere-with these wide, black…sails…hanging over the shower rod and dripping water onto the floor.

Semris (sardonically): I'm most grateful you accepted the truth so quickly.

David: Couldn't do much of anything else, after I saw those wings of yours. I mean--a man with a twelve-foot wingspan is definitely not an everyday occurrence, especially in Athens, Ga,, unless he's going to a DragonCon or something. From that moment on, my imagination was freed to run wild.

Tuck: I think all our imaginations got a little hysterical, after a while. I know from the minute I saw Semris in that Yucatan jungle, I felt as if I'd stepped into some kind of sci-fi movie.

TPV: That's right. You were given the chore of guarding Semris when he was...should I use the word "stolen" or "kidnapped?"

Tuck: Either one's correct. Semris was forcibly removed from his home and I'm sorry to say I was one of those responsible.

Semris: That changed once he realized I wasn't a giant bat as he'd been told but an intelligent being.

Tuck (grins): A being anyway--sometimes I wonder about the intelligent part.

TPV: So far, no one's mentioned the lady in the story. Cherchez la femme. What is her name?

David: Shannon Leary. My little sister. She was Tuck's fiancée, although I wasn't too wild about the idea. Tuck was my buddy when we were in high school and I thought he was too old for her.

Tuck: I'm six years older than Shannon. So how did you reconcile a 5000-year-old demon falling for her?

David: With great difficulty!

Semris: I fell in love with Shannon the moment I saw her, though I didn't recognize the emotion. (He looks apologetically at Tuck) Sorry, amigo, but it's true. Demons aren't supposed to experience human emotions so it took a while for me to understand what I was feeling, and by the time I did-it was too late. I knew she was the only woman I could ever love and that I'd fight any one to keep her. Shannon is mi Corazon, mi amorita, la mujer de mi suenos, la…

Tuck: Please! I refused to fight you when I discovered you and Shannon in flagrante delicto-

Semris: Translation, please. What is this flagrante?

Tuck:--but if you don't lay off all that flowery Spanish I'm going to give your royal demonic face a black eye. (looks at TPV) Can you believe this guy? He's supposed to be a bloodsucking demon but every time he talks about Shannon, he gets so mushy, it's sickening.

David: It's worse when they're together.

TPV: So your sister was engaged to Tuck and jilted him for a demon? (David nods. TPV Looks at Tuck) And you're still friends--in spite of all that's happened?

Tuck: I guess you could say we're still friends because of what happened. All three of us went through some pretty hairy adventures...and a lot of people got hurt, thanks to Professor Lane Westcott… (looks away a moment) Sorry, but what happened when we got back to Nikte-Uaxac still gets to me sometimes. (sniffs loudly and blinks)

Semris: As it does to all of us, mi amigo. But I think it made our friendship that much stronger. I don't blame you for any of it, Tuck. (forcefully) As for Westcott? He got exactamente what was coming to him! That perro! I should have-(breaks into a sputter of untranslatable Spanish curses)

Tuck: Calm down, Your Excellency.

David: Well, I for one, am grateful for all that happened, both the good and the bad. I came out of it a different man from the uptight, workaholic doctor I would've been if I'd stayed in Athens, and you, Tuck--

Tuck: Yeah, I got more than I bargained for, that's for sure. Heck, I got immortality out of the deal! Can't beat that. We all were changed by what happened--in both good and bad ways.

TPV: Would you care to elaborate on that, Semris?

Semris: No, I don't think I would. After all, we're here to tease your readers and if we tell too much, we'll defeat our purpose, won't we? Why do we not let this little extracto speak for us?

TPV: A wise answer. Then let me say merci, mon bonhommes, and thank you for coming to speak to us today about Dark God Descending and your part in it. Now, here's the excerpt:

Dark God Descending Excerpt:

Semris awoke to the muffled sound of pounding hooves.
Opening his eyes, he twisted on the branch and parted the pine boughs, looking out across the meadow in time to see Nohoch galloping toward the far-off trees, tail streaming like a brilliant banner behind him.
Abruptly, he saw something else that startled him. A girl clinging to the big animal's back, her own hair mingling with the wind-blown red mane.
He's beautiful, Semris thought. The brown eyes were wide, nostrils flaring, and then the girl leaned forward, her mouth opening in a shout of happiness as she swept her own hair out of her face.
They were both beautiful.
As Nohoch neared the fence, he slowed to a trot, then a walk, dancing sideways, as if impatient to run again. He tossed his head and snorted, and the crows chose that moment to break from the shelter of the trees.
They burst out with a wild and noisy flapping of wings, swooped over the fence, then rose into the air with harsh, loud cries. One came too close. It collided with Nohoch, striking the animal on the chest and the big creature reared on its hind legs, forelegs curled protectively.
Stepping backward, it staggered slightly as if thrown off-balance by the extra weight it carried. The girl loosened her hold on the red mane and slid from the creature's back, falling into the grass.
Nohoch regained his balance and galloped away as the girl sat up. She started to get up but Semris was already out of the tree and climbing through the fence.
She stared at him, as if shocked by the sight of a half-naked man running toward her, then, abruptly, rolled over and began to crawl away through the flowers.
Semris skidded to a stop in front of her. Shannon curled into a little ball.
"You have nothing to fear from me, Nina," he assured her, quickly. "You are certain you are all right?"
He held out his hand again and this time, after the slightest hesitation, she placed her own in it. Semris pulled her to her feet.
"Yes," she answered. "I'm just a little shaken, that's all"
There was a sound behind them. Seeing his new friend and his rider together, the animal had returned to nuzzle at Semris' shoulder.
He turned and placed one hand on the horse's crest. "Nohoch."
"What did you call him?" the girl asked, smiling.
"In my language, it means Big One," he explained.
"His name's Wildfire," she said.
"I like Nohoch better," he told her. "What kind of animal is he?"
"What kind?" That earned him an astonished stare. "Why, he's a horse. Haven't you ever seen a horse before?"
"Where are you from? The moon?" The blue eyes were laughing.
He chose to answer her question literally, informing her solemnly, "I am from Nikte-Uaxac."
"Where's that?"
"Very far from here."
"I don't remember seeing you before." The frown deepened. "Do you work on one of the farms? I heard Emmett Westphall had hired some new hands."
He shook his head and she went on, "Say, where's your shirt?" and looked at his bare feet, "And your shoes?"
There was a sudden mischievous sparkling in the blue eyes.
"You weren't about to go skinnydipping in the lake, were you?"
"There is a lake?"
"Uh-huh, on the other side of those trees." She gestured toward the far end of the meadow. "But if you didn't know, I guess you weren't going swimming were you?" Her voice dropped slightly, became soft, almost gentle. "So you don't work for Emmett. A-are you a transient?"
"I do not know that word."
"A-uh--a traveller, a wanderer."
"I am trying to get back to my home."
"Do you have any money?" Briefly, she avoided his gaze, concentrating on stroking Nohoch's shining shoulder, gentle fingers worrying the little scabs.
"Then that may be a little difficult to do."
"My brother will come for me," he told her.
"Well, you've got to eat and have a place to sleep until he gets here," she said, practically.
"There are plenty of trees." He gestured toward the pine grove.
"You can't mean you've been sleeping there?" She sounded as if she couldn't believe such a thing. "That won't do! Say, have you ever done any handiwork?"
"I am sorry, Nina. I do not know what that is."
In Nikte-Uaxac, he was noted for the knowledge he had amassed, that Ah Balam and his brother demons and his tutors had taught him and Ne'all. One of his many titles was the Enlightened One, and now, he was standing here admitting with almost each breath that he knew nothing.
"Oh, you know--odd jobs, cutting grass, moving rocks."
He glanced down at his hands, hands that had never held anything heavier than the Royal sceptre. Move rocks? The Emperor doing manual labor?
"I was thinking--" She turned from Nohoch to look up at him.
The sun reflected in her eyes, making them look as blue as the sky, and she raised one hand to tuck a stray lock of the brilliant hair behind one ear. Briefly, he was dazzled by the brightness of that wonderful mass of curls. He wondered if it would feel warm to the touch.
"My brother's been looking for someone to help me get the backyard into shape. We've neglected it terribly, and if you're willing, maybe you could earn enough to buy yourself a bus ticket to Tampa or Miami or somewhere."
Semris smiled. "Thank you, Nina. It is kind of you to wish to help me."
"Why do you call me that?" she asked. "My name's Shannon."
"No, you are Nina del Sol, beautiful daughter of the Sun, and its rays are captured in your hair."
She smiled, and he was startled to see a faint pink touch her cheeks. "And you look like a child of the Moon, pale and mysterious. What's your name by the way?"
His chin went up slightly. "I am Emperador."
"That's an odd name. Her voice died away and she blushed again, and, as if to cover her embarrassment, said, almost sharply, "Well?"
"Well, what?"
"Are you interested? In the job, I mean?"
If it would keep him in her company a little longer, he would pretend interest, though he had no desire to do any type of work.
He found himself nodding.

GetToKnowTheBook: Starquest by Hywela Lyn.

Starquest by Hywela Lyn
Email author at

I didn’t mean to fall in love with my characters. ‘Starquest’ started out as a short futuristic story, complete with cast. First came Kerry Marchant. Dark, brooding, interested only in the beautiful starship, Destiny, of which he was Second In Command. The one person Kerry seemed to relate to was Jon, the Commander of the ship and Kerry’s closest (and probably only) friend. Cold and withdrawn, for me, Kerry had a charisma which I found completely irresistible. A man like him needed a woman: Someone who was his equal in courage and ability, someone who would teach him to love.

Of course there was a snag. Kerry did not trust women, especially beautiful women. Jess would have her work cut out. Yes, Jess, or Jestine Darnell, to give her full name. Jess who was sweet and vulnerable, with a strong Faith and a mission to fulfill. She arrived, complete with her name and favourite colour - green - tossed back her long wavy red hair and proceeded to tell me her story. I learnt how their mutual distrust gradually turned to love and how she persuaded him to bend a little and believe that love was real and that not everything could be explained by science. The end came as something of a shock. Surely short romantic stories should have a happy ending? Jess then proceeded to tell me that this wasn't a short story - it was a novel! So, I went back to the computer and wrote 'Starquest, Part II'

This is where the method of story telling changed. My narration took the form of a journal, and a new character came on the scene. Dahll Tarron, as different from Kerry as chalk is from cheese, but just as compelling in his own way. He would become my heroine's guide and friend, and provide her with the means of searching the universe for the man she loved. They would face many dangers together and in the process learn much about each other. At the end of Part II there is a parting of the ways and Part three is again told in the third person.

I knew now exactly how the story would finish. I wrote 'The End' with a flourish. Jess, however, had other ideas. "You know," she told me gently, "that's really not the way it happened!" What? How could she say that. Of course that's how it happened. I'd plotted and outlined and this was exactly the way it was meant to be. If I hadn't grown to like her so much I would have been very annoyed, but by this time I was very fond of all my characters - I even had a grudging admiration for the villain, I shrugged and put the manuscript away in a drawer, to 'settle' for a while until I could begin the task of revision. Over the next few weeks my characters nagged me. “Just try it our way, see if it works.” Eventually I had to give in and rewrote some chapters, just to prove them wrong – but of course they were actually right. I showed the manuscript to a friend who’d read the original version and she agreed – this was what really happened!

Unfortunately the way things worked out in the new version, while the 'happy ever after' ending was now in place, I still had two characters without a love interest. So I wrote a sequel. 'Children Of The Mist', set on the planet, Niflheim, where some of the action in 'Starquest' takes place. That sorted things out for one of the characters – the second is still awaiting a Happy Ever After, and nagging at me, so I am in the throes of writing the third and final episode!

And that’s what happens when you become too fond of your characters – but boy it’s so satisfying when they come to life


“It seems,” she said, her voice unsteady, “we’ve both been guilty of trying to hide our true feelings—”

“Then...perhaps we’d better make a fresh start.” He wrapped his arms around her and she clung to him, finally surrendering to the strange, sweet emotion she had tried to deny. He kissed her, a lingering kiss that sent shock waves through her body, awakening the feelings she had tried to conceal for so long. Her lips responded to his with a fierceness that surprised them both.

Several minutes later, with obvious reluctance, he released her, his eyes still not leaving hers.

“I only came to make sure you were all right. I should leave now. I have heard of the strictness of the Sisterhood, I would not wish to risk compromising any sacred vows or beliefs—”

She smiled, touched by his consideration in giving her the chance to back away, while she still could. “I’m a missionary, Kerry, not a nun! The Sisterhood only condemns casual liaisons, not genuine relationships.” She lowered her eyes. “I...I’ve never been in love before, not...not like this, but I know nothing that feels this way could be wrong.”

She slipped into his arms once more. He pressed her body close to his, and kissed her again, with a tenderness she would not have imagined him capable of a short while before, and she wondered how she could ever have thought him cold.

GetToKnowTheBook: Eureka Point, written by romance author Betty Ann Harris.

Eureka Point, written by romance author Betty Ann Harris, the first book in The Special Agent Series, available in paperback, ebook and Kindle, is available at Red Rose Publishing and, where it was given a five star review. The main character in the book is here to give you a tour of scenic Eureka Point, a place she has come to call her home:

Hello, I'm Katie O'Hara, but you will come to know me as Lizzie, a name I've had to become familiar with myself. You see, it's an alias. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to change my name and identity and relocate clear across the country from Long Island, New York to the old victorian seaport town of Eureka, California.

I'm in the witness protection program, something I was totally set against doing, until I realized that becoming someone else was better than being dead. Tom, the FBI Special Agent assigned to protect me, basically saved me in so many ways. I owe him so much and I also think I've fallen in love with him. He is my hero.

I'd like to give you a tour of spellbinding Eureka Point:

If you drive about one hundred miles up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco, you'll come to the dramatically beautiful historic seaside town of Eureka, California. If you take Cliffside Drive Northwest from the town of Eureka, you'll see the Pacific Ocean on one side, and steep hills and cliffs on the other, which makes for a dramatic and breathtaking scene. Eventually you'll come to Eureka Point and the lighthouse. It is rumored that the ghosts of old sea captains whose ships were wrecked on the rocky shores, still roam the cliff sides. If you walk around the lighthouse grounds, the sound of the surf crashing onto the rocky shore can be almost deafening. Sometimes the sea spray will splash you, leaving the sticky residue of salt water on your skin. Venture out to the Point in the early evening so you can watch the sun plummet into the sea, and you'll swear that you hear a sizzle as the orange sun sinks into the water. Lovers often come to Eureka Point and share a passionate kiss in the moonlight as it shimmers on the water below. The scenery and surroundings are breathtaking. This is where the story in my book, Eureka Point, takes place. Go ahead, get swept away and visit Eureka Point today!

If you'd like to see more of Eureka Point, please don't miss the video trailer available at this link:

GetToKnowTheBook: Heartsong by Allison Knight

By Allison Knight

Heartsong, probably one of my favorite novels, had the strangest beginnings of all my books. Usually when an idea pops into my head, it's the beginning, the hook, so I have a place to start. Then I try and figure out what's going to happen to my poor characters and what has gone before to make them the way they are. I often see the scenes in my head as I try to go to sleep or early in the morning. In fact a couple of those scenes have been so vivid I had to get out of bed and rush to the computer. I seldom have the end of the book in mind when I begin. But, I begin with the hook, and the story develops from there.

Not so with Heartsong!

I was on my way to teach an evening class on writing at a community college. It was fall, the weather was crisp, the leaves starting to turn and I had a forty-five minutes drive ahead of me. I tuned the car radio to my favorite classical station and let my thoughts drift to the plans for the evening's class. Something, I'll probably never know what, made me register the chorus coming through my speakers. It was the end of the opera Faust, and the melody was a haunting thing.

Suddenly, I got a mental image of a woman in medieval grab standing before a knight. She was crying and wanted her baby back. I was so stunned, I pulled into a service plaza and sat there for several minutes waiting for the picture to fade.

I don't remember what my plans were for that night, but I knew I had to pursue that scene and figure out what was wrong with that woman. I stood in front of the chalk board and talked about plot. I spent the entire class explaining plot, giving examples of methods of plotting and how I usually plotted a book. As I lectured, ideas came almost as if I was outlining the book and to illustrate my points, I put some of those ideas on the board. During our coffee break I transcribed my notes and knew I had a novel.

For the first time in writing a book, I had to start at the end because what I saw while listening to the radio was the black moment of the story, the point toward which the whole book was leading. As I put plot points on the board, the story fell into place. By the time I got home, I had my book. Of course there were still many details that needed to be flushed out but when I crawled into bed that night, I even had the name of the book. 'Heartsong' had been born. The name has never changed.

Of course, I had an awful lot of research to do because although I'd read medieval stories before, most of my books were set in the United States, in the 17th and 18th centuries. The name of the baron's estate came in the same way the last scene arrived, early the next morning.

I had a good friend who had been born in Wales and she helped me with the names of my Welsh heroine and her brothers. The more I worked on the story, the better I liked it. When I finally wrote the scene I'd seen so vividly on the way to class, I knew why she was crying and why the hero just stood there. When I gave the book to my husband who is my first editor, he read the book. He looked at me and exclaimed, "The story is fantastic," and pronounced it his favorite of all the books I'd written. It's still his favorite even though there have been quite a few since I finished it. In fact I liked the characters of Heartsong so well, I've written a sequel and have another story planned with the same characters from the original story.

My husband must have been on to something for that book won Best Novel of the Year from my publisher. If you saw the books in competition with mine, you would understand why I'm so pleased with the award. Needless to say, so is my husband.

What's amazing is other authors since then have told me similar stories. A book's idea may not start at the beginning of the story, but someplace in the middle or even at the end. A nationally recognized author of best selling mysteries told me he always starts at the end. If he doesn't know who did it, he can't put the right clues into the beginning of the book. So when an idea occurs, be it the end of a book, or someplace in the middle, you may have the next best seller. Don't discount a possible story because you envision the final chapter instead of the start. I learned that lesson with my award winner!

Copyrighted 2009 - Allison Knight

Print copies of Heartsong by Allison Knight can be purchased directly from Champagne Books, Inc., or they can be ordered from your local book stores.