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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.

GetToKnowTheBook: More Than Prophecy by Shannon Leigh

I had a story dancing around in my head for some time. Well, to say story would be an overstatement; it was more like a scene, upon which the rest of the book would grow. I didn't know where to begin, or where it would lead, only that these two characters, Cheyenne and Darian wouldn't leave me be. They invaded my sleep and constantly crept into my mind. Avoiding their story wasn't working, for they pursued me with merciless relent. With an audible sigh, I throw up my hands and concede. "All right! I give. You win."

My greatest ideas come when I daydream, when I shut out all outside destractions and allow the characters to take the lead. On this particular day, outside seems the place to be. I place the blown up float into the small pool—an old metal feeding trough now used as a swimming pool for my kids. The raft stretches near wall to wall, but no matter, the water is cool and refreshing. I climb onto the raft, careful not to tip over, and stretch out. The sun beats down upon my body, caressing my bare skin with its warmth, like the touch of a lover’s palm. I close my eyes and my mind begins to wander, replaying the scene I've come to know so well...

A young native American girl, perhaps in her early twenties, with long, sleek, black hair; delicate features; and a brown complexion is immersed in a small metal bathtub, while an older woman with jovial eyes and a plump figure meticulously scrubs her skin. The water laps at girls breasts, kissing her dusty rose nipples with greedy smacks. There’s no mistaking the fear and unease in the younger woman’s violet-blue eyes.

Loud music and joyous laughter floats through the air, the sounds muffled by the four walls. I study the interior, the aged, wooden, planked floor; the gaudy décor. It reminds me of a brothel. My concern for the girl begins to grow. Where is she? And what has her so scared?

“Calm yerself, “Cheyenne. Ye’ve nothin’ to fear. Lord Darian is an honorable man. He’ll nae lay a finger on ya,” the older woman says, her tone soft and reassuring.

The sound of a slamming door gives them both a start. My own heart begins to race, my unease matching Cheyenne’s. Who just left the room?

“I best see what that girl’s up to,” the woman says, rising to leave.

Girl? I wonder. I don't recall anyone else. I’m tempted to yell, “No! Don’t leave Cheyenne alone!” But my words have no sound in their world. As you recall, this is just a dream.

Alone, Cheyenne sinks down into the steaming water, submerging herself from head to foot. I can almost feel the relaxing heat as it encompasses her now gleaming skin. “Ahhh…” we chime in unison.

But our relief is short lived, for in the next instant, the bedroom door flies open, slamming into the wall beside it. An intimidating sight hulks in the threshold, a murderous scowl hardening his features. He storms toward the tub. There's no mistaking the purpose in his stride or the determined glint in his jade-green eyes. "Show me the markin'," he demands with a husky growl as he yanks her from the tub. "I must see it fer m'self."

As Darian says those words, my eyes fly open, greeted by the blazing sun above. Suddenly, I know. I know where to begin and where it will lead. Their story has just been born.

Here’s a short excerpt from this scene:

Cheyenne swiped the water from her eyes with her palms and turned to see who’d come in. She let out a shocked yelp when she saw Darian’s massive form hulking in the doorway. With long, purposeful strides, he advanced toward her, Brigette hot on his heels.

“Darian, please. Yer scarin’ ’er!” Brigette pleaded with him to stop, but he wasn’t listening.

Darian’s searching gaze was intent on her, his mind obviously set on one course of action. He stormed to the tub, grabbed her by one arm, and yanked her to her feet. Then he spun her away from him.

Cheyenne was so shocked she didn’t protest. She just stood there, shaking like a leaf in a raging windstorm.

Visit author's website at

GetToKnowTheBook: Worth Every Breath by Suzannah Safi

As an author, my characters visit me every day I write.
A cup of coffee is one of the must-have items before I start writing every morning. As I sat ready to write, I heard a soft voice I recognized as Annabelle, the heroine in my novel. "Don't you think he's better off with a nurse, or someone who knows about these kinds of cases? I'm not a medical professional."

I turned my head and saw Jack entering the room, shaking his head. "Listen, maybe you're right. Maybe it's not such a good idea. I'll find something else for you."

Chris appeared on a wheelchair, a scowl decorated his unshaved face. "Why is she here? I want her out of my house!"

At that moment a headache started to pound, and I reached to squeeze the pain out. That's when I heard Jack say, "I told you he is going to reject you."

I got up from my chair, and went to get something for that headache, caused by my characters fighting, which I should have brought earlier with my coffee to think of it. Yes, characters talk to us authors, sometimes they don't and we end up with a writers block, and you know what, sometimes it's a blessing LOL.

I came back after I took the pill for my headache, and sat ready to write what my characters are eating my brain for, maybe then; I could get rid of their voices.

"She's still here," complained Chris.

Refusing to talk to any of my characters, I just closed my eyes for a second. Fingers on my keyboard, I started to get the voices out and on the white screen of my computer.

"I can make his wish come true, I'll get rid of her." Damien stood near the door and smoothed his black coat, lips twisted into a cynical smile.

Every one in the room swung their heads toward him, including me. I took a deep breath, and tried so hard to restrain from strangling Damien.

"I'm afraid my leaving isn't up to any of you." Annabelle tucked a stray curl of her strawberry-red hair behind her ear, determination etched into her delicate face.

Take a deep breath, I told myself and started writing…

To watch the trailer this is the link click here

This is a scene between Chris and Annabelle:

"Let go of me," she said, fearing what might happen next.
Chris tightened his grip on her back and drew her closer to him. Her wet blouse stuck to her body, and his broad, naked chest touched hers. Annabelle could feel his heart racing against her chest and his breathing grew faster. "And what if I didn't?" His eyes didn't leave hers." I didn't put you in this position. Your clumsiness did. I saved your life." Obviously, he aimed to anger her so she'd leave. His serious tone held something else she didn't understand. She didn't know her body's reaction -whether she enjoyed the closeness of his body or churned by anger at his teasing. No, she was definitely enjoying this.

Worth Every Breath available in e-book and paperback.
Publisher : The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Novella Length: 200 pages
Heat Level: Hot

Worth Every Breath is available now from or you can order it from your local book store. Author's website

GetToKnowTheBook: Dancing in Time by Violet Rightmire.

Interview with Ballerina Hadleigh Brent

Welcome! Today we are interviewing Hadleigh Brent, the ballerina protagonist from the book Dancing in Time, by Violet Rightmire. We’re going to do a little question-and-answer session with Hadleigh and find out what it’s like being a real-life ballerina.
Q: Hello Hadleigh. Thank you for doing this interview.
A: You’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Q. First of all, I must get clarification on this: You said you are a very shy person. How is that possible for someone in your profession?
A: Well, I don’t think being shy is unusual in my field at all. I know many shy dancers. Oh, there are those that are the exact opposite, of course, but I think lots of performing artists are introverts. After all, onstage everything is spelled out with choreography or a scripted dialogue, and all of that is rehearsed over and over. Little is left to chance. You can’t say that about real life!
Q: I see. In other words, you’re saying performing artists don’t like unexpected things.
A: (Hadleigh furrows her brow) Hmmm. I don’t know about that. Maybe.
Q: Okay. Let’s switch gears here with a question I’ve heard lots of people ask: How many hours a day do you spend dancing?
A: Well, it varies depending on whether we are on tour, at home, or performing. But generally we start with a ballet class at 9:30 in the morning, followed by rehearsals until about 7:00. Unless it’s a performance day. Then we come in a bit later, say, 10:30. We’ll have a warm-up class followed by a light rehearsal on stage. Then we’ll do a matinee performance, an evening performance, or both.
Q: Wow. That’s quite a schedule. Do you ever have a chance to do anything besides dance?
A: Oh yes. I manage to fit in a few other things. (Hadleigh smiles slightly).
Q: What I’m getting to is this: I’ve heard there is someone special in your life. Would you like to share a bit about him?
A: (Hadleigh blushes). Well yes, there is certain someone. His name is Doctor Collins.
Q: How interesting! What sort of Doctor is he?
A: (Hadleigh fidgets). Hmmm. He’s an … an … unusual one.
Q: Unusual? In what way?
A: In lots of ways. (Hadleigh continues to fidget).
Q: What kind of ways, exactly?
A: Lots of different ways. (Hadleigh’s fidgeting increases).
Q: Come on now! You’re not going to share anything more about him?
A: (Hadleigh shifts uncomfortably) Well, I can tell you that he is wonderful and handsome, with riveting blue eyes and dark hair. My friend Jann thinks he looks a little like Elvis, but with a more chiseled face. He’s more rugged-looking than Elvis, I guess. (Hadleigh continues to fidget and looks at her watch).
Q: You seem uncomfortable. I’m not keeping you too long, am I?
A: Well, I really have to go now. My rehearsal starts in a half hour and I need to prepare. But I thank you for the interview. (Hadleigh practically jumps to her feet and vanishes out the door).
Interviewer: My goodness! It appears that I hit a nerve! I think our ballerina is hiding something….

Excerpt from Dancing in Time by Violet Rightmire:

Chapter One
She noticed him as soon as they sat down. He sat alone at the counter, absorbed in his lunch, which included a ham sandwich and a large glass of milk. He looked out of place somehow, like he should be sporting a black tie, caressing a stemmed glass, and leaning suggestively against a mantel—not eating a meal in an old dime store.
Hadleigh nudged Jann under the table and jabbed her fork in his direction.
“What’s wrong with that picture?” she demanded. “I can’t put my finger on it.”
Jann studied him as she opened her napkin.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. He’s cute.” She giggled. “He looks a little like Elvis Presley.”
Hadleigh looked at him out of the corner of her eye. He did look a little like Elvis, but not quite so baby-faced. His chin was chiseled, but not too extreme, and his cheekbones were high, but not overly pronounced. His body was well developed with a deep tan, his hands large and strong. He looks like the kind of man you could put your confidence in.
“He just seems so out of place somehow,” she said finally.
“Well, I would consider Elvis being here definitely out of place.” Jann’s eyes twinkled. “I know what it is! It’s the milk. REAL men don’t drink milk,” She winked.
Hadleigh laughed. “Not in public, you mean.”
Jann returned her gaze to the counter, and then looked back at Hadleigh with what had come to be known as That Look.
Hadleigh faked a groan. “Oh no. I don’t even want to hear this.”
“I think you should send him a refill on his milk.”
Hadleigh stifled a laugh, leaned across the table and stared under her eyebrows at Jann. “I don’t recall asking you to be the Entertainment Director on the cruise ship of my life.”
“You didn’t. I volunteered. See a need and fill it...”
“Hmmmph!” Hadleigh straightened up and smiled. “In other words, I’m stuck with you and your creative meddling.”
Jann nodded. “Absolutely.”
“Why don’t you send him a refill, since you’re feeling all this motivation?”
“No, he’s more your type. The milk and all.”
Hadleigh kicked her under the table. “It would be fun, but I don’t...”
“I dare you. Look, here comes the waitress. Come on, do something risky for a change. You might even like it.”

Dancing in Time is available from The Wild Rose Press in e-format and print.
Violet Rightmire is a former ballerina herself who now writes dance-themed romances.

GetToKnowTheBook: Silver Screen Heroes by Ilona Fridl

When I first got the idea for a plotline in Silver Screen Heroes, I had to create some characters to go with it. I studied up on what was happening in Los Angeles in 1920. I know I had to have problems come up for the heroine, so I began to read. I found that tensions were high between the white Americans and the old family Mexicans then. They considered the Americans invaders and the Americans thought of the Mexicans as inferiors.

Addy's parents were caught up in a Romeo and Juliet situation. He was Mexican and she was white American. That was the reason they eloped to San Francisco and were estranged by both families. After Addy was orphaned by the earthquake, her mother's family took her in as their own. However, because she had features that looked Mexican, she had trouble with the American population as she was growing up.

The hero, Zeke Shafer, grew up in Indiana and as he said, there weren't many Mexicans there, but his father was a minister who railed against the “godless racial inferiors.” Zeke ran off from home because of the treatment he received from his father, who didn't “spare the rod.” At first, Zeke didn't know if he liked Addy for herself or to get back at his father and beliefs.

Here's an excerpt from the first chapter:

Zeke pondered their conversation as he headed for the laundry. He hoped he hadn’t reacted badly when she told him she was Mexican. He could picture his father preaching about “those soulless racial inferiors.” Is that why he was drawn to her the first day he saw her? This would be another way to defy his father, at least in his own mind. He held no desire to see his father again.

As for Addy herself, he was afraid for her, if her cousin was getting involved with the Giovannis. He knew he hadn’t heard wrong about them. There was no question that they were sent from out east to start a front in Los Angeles for their bootleg business. His roommate, Nathan Hayes, had overheard a conversation at the studio where he worked. A discussion about the financial problems at Majestic and how it was what the Giovannis were looking for. Now they were here.

He had wanted to ask Addy if he could visit her, but he wanted to sort out his feelings first. It would be better to sleep on it. He delivered the towels to the laundry, then headed to his auto.


In the women’s area of the crew building, Addy changed into her street clothes. She looked at herself in the mirror as she pinned up her thick curly hair, evaluating. She had some Mexican features, with the darker skin and almost black eyes. Zeke didn’t seem to mind that I'm part Mexican. He's better than some men I've known, who turn away when they find out my parentage. Her mind drifted back to her cousin Muriel, who seemed to have found someone who truly admired her in Tony. I wonder about his family. Maybe I should say something to Muriel.

With a last pat to her already perfect hairdo, Addy picked up her satchel and walked the three blocks to the structure that housed the shipping department. Boxes and barrels littered the building on the outside, and she wound her way between them to the big double doors. Her nose wrinkled at the strong smell of packing straw, excelsior and wood as she carefully walked to the office area. She waved at Muriel, then sat down to wait on a wooden chair off to the side of the busy warehouse. Muriel’s head bowed again over her shipping labels, her fingers carefully typing them on her Underwood.

Muriel, with lighter brown hair than Addy and a couple of inches more height, was considered the prettier of the two by most people. Addy remembered comments like, “She’s a dusky little thing,” by well-meaning people such as the family of the boy she’d loved in school. They'd put a stop to that romance. She couldn’t shake the stigma of looking Mexican. But Muriel had another beau besides Tony vying for her attention. So, at eighteen Muriel would probably be married first. Addy, according to her uncle, was too plain to attract a man.

Silver Screen Heroes is available through The Wild Rose Press. Author's website is

Author's Tip: Writing the Much Under-Estimated Story Blurb by Glenys O'Connell

One of the most useful tools a writer can have when starting a new wip is a blurb, or logline, derived from the idea for the book. Most of us happily launch into producing novels of 65,000, 80,000 or even 120,000 words, yet the very idea of paring down that novel idea to three or four sentences before we start writing terrifies us!
Try it now: boil your entire story idea into three or four crisp, bright sentences. This usually sets my writing students off into groans and moans, but later they're delighted when they see what a valuable exercise this is, so bear with me.

Why do you want to express your idea in so few words? Here are some of the reasons:
1) You want to know how strong your idea is. Will it last to The End? If you are able to write it down in two or three sentences, and it still makes sense and sparkles brightly, then you can be fairly sure you've a workable idea. If not, it might be that you need to set it aside until other parts of the puzzle pop up. I always keep an ideas file on my computer. I used to just scribble down notes on bits of paper, the backs of menus and receipts, paper napkins - you get the picture - and when I came to look at them the writing was unintelligible and the once great (or so I thought) ideas were meaningless scribbles. I still do scribble down the ideas when they come to me - but as soon as I can, I type them up into my computer file. Funnily enough, by the time I do this I have a lot more detail for the idea - and often the blurb is clear.
Antidote for a Weak Idea: Set it aside in your Ideas File, and read it every now and again - strengthening additions will occur to you. Look at other ideas in your file to see if you can see any can be merged to form a stronger whole. Sometimes ideas do not arrive in our heads fully formed - they come in bits and pieces and the smart writer is alert enough to capture them as they arrive.
2) This short paragraph becomes a kind of mini outline. It keeps you focused on your story - write it out on sticky notes and apply to your computer monitor, your diary - even the bathroom mirror if you dare!
3) This short form is your pitch to an editor or agent. In screenwriting it's called a 'logline' and is used to capture the attention of producers and directors. In our case, we're going to nurture this simple paragraph, use it at the beginning of query letters and as the basis for the synopsis which is our selling tool when the book is finished and ready to do the rounds of publishers and agents. I have used the short blurb as the opening paragraph of query letters for books and articles that have sold!

See how useful it is? So, how do you do it?

Take the most important part of your idea, add the names of the two main characters and a little bit about them, ie, if they are a doctor, detective, mother of three, etc., if it's relevant to the predicament they find themselves in, and describe the problem they must overcome. I usually end with a question sentence that describes the main conflict in the story. You can bolster your blurb skills by reading the storylines on the backs of novels, and by writing them for books you have read.
Here are some examples from my own books:

Resort to Murder, coming soon in print and ebook from The Wild Rose Press:

Falsely disgraced police detective Ellie Fitzpatrick is prepared to face a vicious killer to redeem herself but is she also brave enough to make peace with the man she loves? When her meteoric career crashed and burned after she was accused of accepting bribes from thugs running a protection racket, Ellie is suspended from the job she loves and believes herself abandoned not only by police colleagues but by her lover, Detective Liam Reilly. She is called back to work when a biography of a serial killer she arrested suggests the man may be innocent. Reilly vows to protect Ellie from the gang who tried to frame her and the vicious killer who's stalking her. Can she trust him with her life?

And from Winters & Somers, published as an ebook and soon-to-be print by Red Rose Publishing:

Irish PI Cíara Somers makes a good living testing the 'temptability quotient' of men for their insecure lovers…but when NY homicide cop and author of red hot romances, Jonathon Winters, makes her take him on as a partner in her Dublin agency, he gets the wrong message from her raunchy style..…especially when he wants her for himself.
Somers isn't the type to let a man push her around - the incorrigible Grannie Somers raised her to be her own woman. But when she discovers that even Grannie drools over Winters, she can't help but wonder what it would be like to indulge in one of the fantasies that have millions of women reading his romantic books.
And when Somers finally gets her first real case - to capture the notorious jewel thief dubbed The Diamond Darling - she has to survive the help of her weird relatives, the landlady from hell, two stoned friends, a stray dog - and Winters himself…. Ends….

Author's website

Author's Tip: Subject-Verb Agreement Made Easy-->Romance Alley

The following informations I gathered from Writer's Relief,Inc and I thought it's helpful for any writer who would like to know more about Subject-Verb Agreement. Writer's Relief, Inc. is a highly-recommended author's submission service. Established in 1994, Writer's Relief will help you target the best markets for your creative writing. Visit their Web site at to receive their FREE Writers' Newsflash which contains valuable leads, guidelines, and deadlines for writing in all genres.

Subject-Verb Agreement Made Easy

When the subject of a verb is singular, the verb should be expressed in its singular form.

2. When the subject of a verb is plural, the verb should be expressed in its plural form.

3. Use the singular verb form when the subject ends in -body, -one, -thing, or is preceded by each, every, many a, or one of.

Example: Has anyone heard from Bill? Each one of you is in trouble.

4. Use the plural verb form when the subject is preceded by both, many, few, several, or others.

Example: Several of the pizza ingredients are too spicy for me.

5. A plural verb is always required after you.

6. If the subject consists of two or more words that are connected by and or both...and, the subject is plural and requires a plural verb.

Example: George and Jack are going to the movies. Both the boys' and girls' rooms are being redecorated.

6a. Exception: When a singular subject is connected by the word "and," use the singular verb.

Example: Macaroni and cheese is my dinner on Wednesday nights.

7. Use the singular verb form when the subject consists of two or more singular words that are connected by or, either...or, neither...nor, or not only...but also. If the subject consists of two or more plural words connected by the above words, a plural verb is required.

8. Intervening phrases and clauses should be ignored when determining agreement between a subject and verb.

Example: The bag of chips was ripped open.

9. A sentence with both a positive and negative subject should use a verb that agrees with the positive subject. The negative subject can be set apart with commas unless it's preceded by and or but.

Example: Ballet, not tap, is her favorite dance.

10. These pronouns (all, most, more, none, some, or any) may have a singular or plural verb, depending on the of phrase.

Example: Most of my story is completed. Most of my submissions were to poetry journals.

Author's Tip: Edit your Manuscript by Mona Risk

Someone said that creating a good book is ten percent writing and ninety-percent editing.

These statistics may or may not be true. While I try to write my first draft as fast as I can to let the story flow, I certainly spend a lot of time polishing my manuscripts before sending them to an editor.

Let me pass on to you the ten commandments I learned from editors, successful authors, mentors or workshop instructors:

"Hook your reader with your best first sentence, first paragraph, first page. (Mary Buckham)

"Leave your reader in suspense with a grabbing hook at the end of each scene and each chapter. ( Mary Buckham again)

"Avoid introspection in the first three chapters or first fifty pages. (Donald Maass)

"Stay in the present. I still hear the late and wonderful Kate Duffy repeating: "Stay in the present. Don't tell me the back story of your characters. Let us discover it through their actions as the story develops."

"Show, don't tell. A reviewer made my day when he posted a review of my sweet and spicy, medical romance, BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, on Harlequin website.

He wrote: "Babies in the Bargain" could serve as an object lesson on how to 'show' and not 'tell' a story. You always know exactly what the characters are feeling, indeed, for the most part you 'feel' along with them. It's a great read.

"Change setting when you change scenes to avoid boring the reader. Change POV to better show the emotion.

"Pepper your dialogue with emotion.

"Add sensorial details that make us feel, see, hear, smell with the hero and heroine.

"Show the emotional development. (From an editor at Mills& Boon) You should see a definite increase of attraction from scene to scene until the love scene fall in place.

"Raise the stakes. (Donald Mass)

Here is an extra and most important commandment:
Create lovable characters. If your characters are weak or do not appeal to the reader, the reader will not connect with them and the best plot will fall apart.
I received a very nice praise from NY bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire that I used on my bookmarks: "Mona Risk writes heroes with heart, heroines with spunk, in stories and settings that are simply unforgettable." I am sure this praise can apply to many of you authors with wonderful books.

And here are famous quotes by famous writers:

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary - it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences~~Somerset Maugham.

The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing~~ Ken MacLeod
We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to~~ Somerset Maugham

The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict and conflict~~ James Frey

Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press, To Love A Hero and French Peril and medical romances for The Wild Rose Press, Babies in the Bargain and Rx for Trust. All her books are available at

Good luck with your next story.


New York publishers expect you to abide by their submission rules and so do electronic publishers. One pub might not agree with what another wants-does that matter? Yes. As authors, we need to pay attention to these differences because we are the ones asking them to take a look at our mss. for possible publication. No matter how arbitrary a rule may seem to us, following it may make the difference in your manuscript getting looked at because you did. So:

Rule 1. First, know if the publisher you're submitting to is open for submissions without an agent. Many NY pubs are not. If they are open, you should find out if they prefer to be queried first, and if they want, instead of a full ms., just a partial. Those hurdles passed, the author should know if the publisher is open to submissions or closed, because many of the electronic pubs close periodically to catch up on acquired mss. The author should also know if the epub is taking in-house submissions only or is open to any author. All of this can be found on their individual

Rule 2. Be sure your work is in a genre that the publisher you've chosen is interested in publishing. This also is on the websites.

Rule 3. Make certain what you send has been edited very carefully. Spell check, yes, but more than that--gone over to check for typos such as own, when you meant won. Be sure you know the meaning of every word you've placed in the ms. If you wrote "He peaked at me." Did you mean that? He can peak "with" you, if you meant that, but otherwise he peeked "at" you.

Rule 4. If rejected, never send a nasty letter or email telling them they've lost the chance at a masterpiece because they're too stupid to know one when they see it. They do know--and yours isn't one, at least not yet. Get over it. You can be sure your nasty letter or email will be shared with other editors from other publishers. If you persist in this behavior, eventually no pub will look at anything you send. Remember even published authors get rejected. Getting angry or upset is fine. Just don't blame the publisher. Always be polite. If they suggested you should do specific things to improve your writing-do them.

Rule 5. If interested in submitting to a small publisher, research who some of their other authors are. If you can discover a name you recognize from one list or another, email that author and ask how they like their publisher. Would they recommend that pub? Small pubs, including epubs, go down the drain oftener than you might think. Beforehand knowledge is a good to have. You don't think this happens to NY pubs? It does. I had two books orphaned from failed NY pubs. I did manage to resell them, but it took time. As a general rule, the longer a small pub has been in business the better.

Rule 6. After sending in a submission, don't bombard the pub with queries about its status. The only possible reason to email them is this: If you don't get a return email to say they received it, then you can ask if they did, in fact, receive what you sent on such and such a date.
Things do get lost in cyberspace sometimes. I noticed in my "Sent" mail folder I'd sent a partial ms. to a publisher six months before. I 'd failed to check for a response. So six months had gone by before I emailed them asking if they ever did get that partial. They hadn't. Resent it and got a request for the entire ms. a few days later. Along came a contract soon after that.
If you did get a "got it" response, review what their submission guidelines said about when you could expect an acceptance or rejection. If they say two months, wait three before asking if they had a chance to look at your ms. Pubs get backlogged often.

Rule 7. You got accepted and now have an editor. You may know more about your story than that editor, but it's very likely you don't know as much about house style, grammar and other editorial requirements. If you happen to get an occasional dumb question, always be polite. And remember, if an editor doesn't understand a part of what you've written, it's likely a reader won't either.
Also each pub has certain house styles that may bother you. Don't argue, even if means you have to write blonde instead of blond, if this happens to be a house style. Do it. You can't fight house styles. But if, for example, you've written chaise longue and the editor changes the last word to lounge, simply politely quote the dictionary to that editor and stet the word, knowing you're right.

Follow these rules and don't email others bad mouthing any editors because they're giving you a hard time. It happens. As I said before, word gets around far quicker than you realize when you diss people online. If you pay attention, you can always learn your writing weaknesses from editors. I certainly have, and it's made me less likely to make the same ones next time I write.

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