Tuesday, January 31

Guest Author Hildie McQueen

Desperate Betrayal
By Hildie McQueen

Cynden Frasier (Cyn) is a member of a group of immortal warriors, the Protectors, assigned to protect humans in Atlanta, Georgia, the epicenter of a major uprising in demon activity. When Cyn is approached by a beautiful woman in a dirty alley, he is intrigued by the fact that she can see him for what he is, a terrifying demon slayer, and still dares to approach him.

Emma Blake, a half-demon, has to convince Cyn to help rescue her sister from powerful demons. Terrified that the Protector will kill her if he realizes what she is, she still goes against every instinct and approaches Cyn for help. Despite knowing that she is leading them both into territory so wrought with treachery, neither of them may survive.

Can Cyn and Emma overcome betrayal, the ancient rules that prevent Protectors from taking a wife, unless she is his one true mate? And if they do, will it even matter?

Available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


CHAPTER ONE

Shadows.

Emma Blake always felt at home in the shadows. It was where she lived, always concealing the truth from those around her.

Now as she hid in the doorway of an abandoned building, she couldn’t help but compare the current situation to her life. The dampness of the brick wall behind her seeped through to her skin, as she pushed further into the dark to avoid being noticed. The putrid smell of trash and urine barely registered, as she was mesmerized by the scene unfolding before her.

The scene invoked images of the endless battle forces of dark and light had been waging since the dawn of time.

Although beautiful to behold, the warrior who fought before her wasn’t exactly an angel, but he was as close to one as she would ever get. In desperate need of his help, she took a big chance sticking around; because once he caught her there were only two possibilities for her.

He’d either help her or he would kill her.

The air blew chilly on this damp, drizzly day in Atlanta, a city that for some unknown reason, in the last few years, had become a hotbed for demons. With such an influx of demons, human assaults were on the rise.

Emma continued to watch from the shelter of the doorway, as the Protector fought his aggressors. Ten huge low-level demons armed with medieval-type swords.

She tensed, but didn’t flinch as a demon’s severed arm flew past her and hit the ground next to her foot with a sickening thud.

Emma had no doubt as to whom the victor would be in the end. The fluidity of the Protector’s movements and the speed of the fight enthralled her. Her gaze locked on his biceps. Muscles bulged on his right arm, as he swung his sword in a way that seemed almost effortless. Impressive, for the weapon he wielded had to weigh at least twenty pounds.

He dodged a blow and struck out with his sword to slash through one demon’s chest. A dagger flew from his left hand and found its target in another’s heart.

About the Author:

Hildie McQueen is a whirlwind who refuses to wear anything but jeans and heels.

She grew up on the San Diego/Mexico border, joined the military at seventeen and never returned. After living in Germany, Texas and Hawaii, she finally settled in the beautiful southern town of Augusta, Georgia.

Biracial, half Mexican and half African-American, Hildie’s native language is Spanish, but English is her favorite way of communicating now.

Her mission in life is to make as many people as possible to feel normal. It’s an easy thing to do, for others to feel normal around her, because she’s anything but.

www.hildiemcqueen.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HildieMcQueen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/HildieMcQueen

Blog: http://www.hildiemcqueen.com/

Monday, January 30

Books I've Read this Month

I hope everyone is having a Happy Monday! So, I was doing Meme Monday, but I'm not crazy about keeping that going. Instead, I decided that since I want to do more reading this year, that maybe the last Monday of the month I can talk about the books I've read in that month. So, here goes!

First of all, this has been an odd month for me. Normally, I don't read this many books in a given month, but it just turned out that way, and I've really enjoyed the time spent reading.

1st book - Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge): Wow, I only read Bitten last month, and I adored it. So I grabbed it the next book as soon as I could. I love Elena and Clay. I'm looking forward to more information on Paige, but the werewolves rock in this! This book was action packed, and I seriously wondered on occasion how Elena would ever get herself out of her predicament. I really enjoyed it. (Side note: I did start it at the end of December, but since I finished it in January it counts. lol) 5 stars.

2nd book - Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge): I love Harry Dresden. I wish the TV show wouldn't have been cancelled before it had gotten off the ground, but ah well... I thought the first book was amazing. This book was really cool as well, but I thought it wasn't as awesome as the first one. Still gets a 4 star rating though. I love that it dealt with werewolves since I'm totally a werewolf fan.

3rd book - Dark Lies by Vivi Anna (Speculative Romance Challenge): I have to be honest. With this book, I've had it for a while and when I picked it up, I didn't realize it was book 2 in a series. I'm a stickler for reading series in order. If I haven't read the first one, etc., I won't read a book even if I want to unless I'm caught up. I didn't track down the first book here, I decided to pick it up and read it since I'd started it a few years ago and then got sidetracked. I didn't feel like I was lost having not read the first book here. I appreciated that. It also had an interesting plot. Although, the villain isn't handled fully but a minor villain is, so I think he's either in all the books or some more. I'm not sure. It was a good book though. I'm glad I finally read it. 4 stars.

4th book - Hexed Anthology (Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge): I read Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews and Ice Shards by Yasmine Galenorn in this book. I'm not going to read the other novellas, yet at least. I'm in the process of reading the Anna Strong books (just picked up book 2 from the library), so I'd prefer to read it when I get to that point in the series.

Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars. I absolutely loved it! I love Ilona Andrews, but I wasn't completely sure how I would like a Dali/Jim story since I adore Kate/Curran. But this was SO good. I'd totally want to read a full Dali/Jim novel now.

Ice Shards by Yasmine Galenorn - 4 stars. I really enjoyed this story. I mostly read it because it had the Finnish element to it, and I love Finland. This was different than something I would normally read. Felt very fantasy-ish. I hadn't read the other books in the series, but I didn't feel clueless about what was going on. In fact, it made me want to read the other books.

Overall, I'd give the book 4.5 stars. Easy to figure out since I'd read two of the stories. lol

Currently Reading - Touch of Darkness by CT Adams and Cathy Clamp (Speculative Romance Challenge): I started this book in June of last year, but my time with it since I checked it out at the library expired, so I decided recently to get it off my "Currently Reading" and finally finish the series (hence I re-checked it out). I'll tell what I think about it next month since that's most likely when I'll have finished reading it. :-)

So, what have you read this month?

Sunday, January 29

Six Sentence Sunday 16

Hi everyone! Welcome back for another week of Six Sentence Sunday! Click here to view my previous entries.

Here's a snippet from my upcoming release Captive Moonlight. The main characters are Joe and Charlotte. This is my first western paranormal romance. This follows their intimate moment from last week. I love this paragraph. This hero is so steamy. *grin* Enjoy!
After a few moments, he pulled away. His breath came out in harsh pants. He propped himself up on his elbow and smirked at her. “I’ll make an honest woman of you yet. Such a blissful marital life we’ll have.” He chuckled.
Captive Moonlight coming February 3rd to Changeling Press.

Visit the other Six Sentence participants. http://sixsunday.com

Tuesday, January 24

Guest Author JF Jenkins

The Soundtrack
By J.F Jenkins

Here are some songs that made my “Book Soundtrack”. Some have to do with a specific character, while others a certain moment or theme. The score would be a darker, new age, kind of feel too it, possibly done by Delerium of Juno Reactor. The other half of it represents the high school, young adult, aspects of the story and is more pop/dance in genre, which matches the story since the characters like to go out and do that often. Enjoy!

The Heroine (Cheyene's Song):

“Flowers Become Screens” - Delerium - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OibJ4F7xZJY

The Antagonist (Denver's Song):

“Pretty When you Cry” - VAST (explicit lyrics) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNkm-U3oRJY

The Ambiance (Score, Setting, Mood):

“Terra Firma” - Delerium - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKUxE8UE7S0
“Silence” - Delerium featuring Sarah McLachlan - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5S8yU9e8Mg
“Conga Fury” - Juno Reactor - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q4GGxDjTUQ
“Furious Angels” - Rob Dougan - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wdf3_YtwL8

The Romance (All pairings, not going to spoil it sorry!):

“Chemicals React” - Aly and AJ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgU3aLaJa-s
“Uninvited” - Alanis Morissette - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvgi7P97lu0
“Say OK” - Vanessa Hudgens - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjOEFMDC2P4
“Kings and Queens” - Luna Halo - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=no9wMzzqWR4
“Love Me, Love Me” - Big Time Rush - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjgc2wl_-a0

The Song That Plays When Everything Bad Happens:

“Lie to Me” - RED - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YegliDIdWtg


Blurb:

Cheyenne Loveless was just a boring sixteen-year-old girl. Then Denver Collins bit her and everything changed. Her plants start talking to her, she finds out she’s a Nymph, and a witch and the angel of death show up at her doorstep to take her away to the prestigious Vala School and Seminary. Oh, and she has no choice in the matter.

All she wants to do is blend in and return to being invisible, but the more time that passes, the harder that becomes. Plus she’s a daughter of the Divine, an exclusive secret society which rules the world of myth, and discovers she is a key ingredient to an ancient covenant created before she was born. A covenant that will reshape the order of the world.

Adjusting to a new school is difficult enough, but adding on everyone else’s hidden agendas is the icing on the cake. Cheyenne must learn to see through the lies in order to find her place — and possibly even love — in this new world.

Links:
Amazon Barnes and Noble Astraea Press



Excerpt:

“Can I help you?” she asked, shielding herself protectively with her arms.

“Sorry, you smell good,” he murmured, practically purring in her ear as he pulled away. He still maintained his close proximity.

“I smell...” She frowned and was about to sniff at her arm, but she stopped herself. “…good?”

“You smell good. Kind of like lilies of the valley, actually. Let me guess—you use that for your scented body wash?”

“I just use Dial.” Her entire body tensed more as he moved in again, his face dangerously close to her neck. “I don’t mean to be rude, and while I’m flattered you’re so fascinated with my body, you’re also making me uncomfortable. If you’re just trying to butter me up so I’ll go home with you, you should stop now, because
that’s not going to happen. Back off before I make you.”

He moved away once more with a smug smirk. “I thought I smelled fire, too.” He extended his hand to her for a polite and friendly handshake. “My name is Denver. Yes, like the city in Colorado. Last name is Collins, and I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable. I don’t usually meet someone with that kind of scent. It’s strong. I knew there was a reason I noticed you.”

Is this guy high or something? “Apology accepted. I'm Cheyenne. I've seen you around school these past few weeks, but I don't think we've ever been formally introduced until now. You're new, right?” Cheyenne shook his hand nervously. He had a strong and confident shake. He seemed to be a genuinely nice person,
outside of his odd behaviors. If anything, it made her look good in front of her classmates to be talking to the new cool kid, and a young, attractive male. She felt a little less like a freak.

“I'ʹm temporary. I haven'ʹt been formally introduced to anyone. You'ʹre the first, and it'ʹs only because you smell so nice I can'ʹt stay away.”

“Do you use that line on everyone? It’s unique. A little creepy, but unique.”

“No.” He sat back and proceeded to grab a napkin off the bar and fold it in front of him multiple times. He didn'ʹt have much of an attention span, apparently. “I actually don’t pick up women often. I just made an exception for the blue--‐ eyed beauty in front of me.”

Cheyenne’s face flushed again. “I wasn’t aware you knew the color of my eyes, seeing as how you’ve been staring at my breasts the entire time.” It came out a lot harsher than she intended. In fact, she wasn’t meaning to say it at all. “Sorry, I—”

“You’re right. I was, but I remember you from earlier. I noticed your eyes when you were looking across the school yard at me.”

“You do remember that.” She shrank in her chair a little, officially wanting to hide under a rock.

“It’s a little hard not to when you’re so cute.” He moved closer to her, not quite as close as before, but enough to cause butterflies in her stomach. “You don’t like it here. I don’t like it here. And since we both don’t like it here, maybe we should head out and find something else to do. Maybe we can go someplace we
both like.”

AUTHOR BIO:

J.F. Jenkins lives in Minneapolis Minnesota with her husband, son, and two cats. She graduated from Bethel University in 2006 with a degree in Media Communication with minors in both writing and film. When she is not busy writing, she spends her free time playing games, reading, and spending time with her family.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jfjenkinsauthor
Twitter: @jfjenkinstweets

Monday, January 23

Speculative Romance Challenge 2012

Okay, so here's my list for Book Chick City's Speculative Romance Challenge 2012. I'll be updating it each month as I complete new novels. I'm going to try to go the distance with reading and do better this year than I did in 2011. Let me know if you're participating as well!

To Be Read:
  1. Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  2. Stripped by Julie Leto
  3. TBA
  4. TBA
  5. TBA
  6. TBA
  7. TBA
  8. TBA
Completed (in order of read):
  1. Dark Lies by Vivi Anna
  2. Touch of Darkness by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
  3. Tor by Lynn Lorenz
  4. Night Thief by Lisa Kessler

Sunday, January 22

Six Sentence Sunday 15

Hi everyone! Welcome back for another week of Six Sentence Sunday! Click here to view my previous entries.

Here's a snippet from my upcoming release Captive Moonlight. The main characters are named Joe and Charlotte. This is my first western paranormal romance. They're getting a little intimate in this six. *grin* Enjoy!
He met her gaze. His eyes, normally dark brown, were now wolf amber. “What did I do to get such a sweet lady like you?” he said, his voice gravelly and low.

She laughed, but the sound caught in her throat as his lips caressed her breast. “I wonder that too. Maybe it was destiny.”
**Note: This isn't from the official final copy. So treat it as an "unedited" version. Thanks!**

Captive Moonlight coming February 3rd to Changeling Press.

Visit the other Six Sentence participants. http://sixsunday.com

Saturday, January 21

Smoking Saturday... Paranormal Bad Boy Fest!

It's SMOKING SATURDAY where Bad Boys of paranormal romance come out to play! You don't want to miss the sizzle and howl. And if you're lucky, you just might find an alpha male scratching at your door. Because romance authors are sharing their blurbs here today. And you never know what might catch your eye. *wink*

Any paranormal romance (erotica) author is welcome to join in the fun. How to participate...
  1. Just grab the graphic above & post the event details and graphic on your blog inviting paranormal authors to post blurbs/buy links on your blog post through midnight, January 21, 2011.
  2. Don't forget to include the blurb and buy links to your romantic paranormal bad boy tale in the post.
  3. Finally, leave your blurb and buy link to your story here (NO EXCERPTS please) & the url to the event at your blog so all the participating authors can post their blurbs and buy links there as well!
SMOKING SATURDAY ends at midnight, January 21, 2011!

My Paranormal Bad Boy... Kyle Reynolds, leader of the werepumas

Amazon Chronicles 2: Jungle Fire, available at Changeling Press and All Romance eBooks (coming soon to BN and Amazon)
The leader of a Pride of werepumas must win his lady’s love, or she could be taken from him forever.

In the Amazon Rainforest, traditions are important. They’ve long lead to survival for the Amazon warrior women.

Kyle Reynolds, ruler of the werepumas, is ready to fly in the face of those treasured customs for the love of Rubia Costa who will soon be out of his grasp if he can't win her affection before allies of the Amazons steal her away from him forever.
Read an excerpt


Praise for Jungle Fire

"...a fast-paced story that is filled with a sexual tension between Kyle and Rubia that you can almost feel and a lot of action."
-- Janie Esparza, The Romance Studio

"I liked both Rubia and Kyle... their romantic connection was hot. Readers looking for a pleasant half hour read will enjoy JUNGLE FIRE."
-- J9, The Romance Reviews

Friday, January 20

I'm Shameless... Winner Announced


Hey everyone! Starting today, I'm participating in the Shameless Hop (hosted by Jen at Red Hot Books, Brie at Romance Around the Corner & Michelle at Michelle's Book Blog). What's the prize? A digital copy of my latest release Stolen.

The Dark Huntress meets a man whose electrifying power is a fine match to her own...

Regina Blake is a normal secretary until there's trouble -- then she becomes the Dark Huntress. Things are about to change when she meets a man whose electrifying power is a fine match to her own, and he's set on winning her heart. To top it off, there's a string of bank robberies which escalate into the high profile kidnapping of a famous actor.

Michael Flynn hadn't realized the extent of superhero and supervillain society. When he rushes to a bank to find it destroyed, he meets a black-latex-clad woman who makes his pulse race. As he's drawn deeper into her world, he finds himself intrigued and eager to have her.
Read an excerpt



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thanks for entering! Check out the other participants here.

Wednesday, January 18

Writer Wednesday: Reading Challenges

Hey everyone! I hope you're having a fantastic New Year so far! Welcome back to Writer Wednesday. Reading is important to writers because it helps them hone their craft. Hence why I'm discussing it today.

With a fresh new year here, I know I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish in it. One of those things is read more. Last year, I failed with my reading goal, so this year I'm setting a new one. Probably one that's more ambitious, but I'm hoping to stick to it. Yes, it's... 36 books (novels, more specifically). No, no, please don't start laughing...

Anyways, I'm a slow-ish reader. If I don't do anything but eat, drink, use the restroom, and read, I can finish a book in one day if it sucks me in. Otherwise, a little over a week is my pace. Yes, writing, and then computer games, take up the other portion of my time. *grins*

So, I've been looking at quite a few blogs recently, and I've seen a lot of people doing a wide array of reading challenges this year. The three that I'm doing are:

Goodreads' 2012 Reading Challenge: Pretty simple, all you need to do is join Goodreads, set a goal for yourself, and read those books. It keeps track by you specifying "read" and when you read the book. Their widget shows if you're ahead or behind of your goal.

Book Chick City's Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2012: This is a genre based challenge. To sign up, you just go to the website, fill out the linky, etc. and read the books!

Book Chick City's Speculative Romance Challenge 2012: The same as above here, except this one is for all kinds of romance like sci-fi romance, paranormal romance, fantasy romance.

Book Chick City also has other Reading Challenges. There's more here, and I'm sure if you typed in reading challenge (romance, sci-fi, etc.) that you'd find more.

So... who else has taken the dive to read more this year and joined a reading challenge? If you have, which ones?

Tuesday, January 17

Guest Author Kinley Baker

Revising by Post Its

I’m in the middle of revising a brand new book and I’m very excited about this story. But I realized I need to concentrate heavily on revisions and make sure this story is the best it can be before I submit it to my dream publisher. So I’ve decided to revise by Post Its.

I’m hoping you will contribute today with your suggestions for revising by Post Its! This will help us all become more thorough revisers. To start, I’ll share a few of my Post Its. These are some of the main issues I struggle with.

Use all FIVE senses! SIGHT. HEARING. TOUCH. TASTE. SMELL.

I think with my latest manuscript especially I need to concentrate on incorporating all of my senses. What is my Point-of-View character seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling? I think this automatically helps with using active language and showing instead of telling.

Active language!

I tend to do a lot of: “Andy was sitting on the lawn.” Instead of the more active: “Andy sat on the lawn.” When I’m writing the first draft I try not to think about using active vs. passive language because it slows down the story. But going through revisions, I try to make sure that each sentence has been evaluated. I’ll always need to use some “to be” verbs, but limiting them will help the reader engage in the story. Of course, I still think focusing on using the five senses is the most important thing.

Beware of POV Shifts.

Point-of-View (POV) shifts easily sneak up on me. Even simple phrases can lose the reader with POV. I always have to remember to include what the POV character is thinking, feeling, seeing and doing. Every sentence counts. One ambiguous sentence can pull the reader from the story.

Set the scene with ACTIVE setting!

I tend to forget to ground my scenes. At the beginning of each scene the reader needs to know where the characters are. This doesn’t need to be written in long exhaustive paragraphs. I think the description-heavy style of writing is trending out. I usually try to summarize the location and time setting in one to two sentences with something that relates back to my POV character.

Make sure each scene has a conflict!

I go through each scene and make sure that each character has an overarching goal and one for the scene. With my new story, this is a lot easier because for the first time in a full length novel, I only have two POVs, the hero and heroine. I built the world so they would have continuous conflict between them, so this really helps when trying to clarify the conflict for each scene.

Scene and Sequel!

I think of scene as the action and the sequel as the reflection on the action. I try to keep my sequels short to keep the story moving forward.

***

I hope you’ll get involved in the comments! If you use Post Its, tell us what they say. If you have key phrases that help you in revisions, tell us that, too! We’d really love to hear your reasoning because I’m sure we can all learn from your suggestions!

Blurb for Ruined


Jessa is one healing away from death. Under the thrall of her gift, the Court's Senior Healer risks giving her life in exchange for her patient's.

Vale is a rebel ruler. When his brother is killed, he's given the throne and the decree from the Court to produce an heir or lose his family's hold on the land--and his deceiving advisors aren't afraid to use murder as a weapon if their directive to stay away from the Senior Healer goes unheeded.

But Vale burns to possess Jessa. The heat between them leaves a wake of smoke, and even the powerful forces above want to bind them in a union that lasts forever. Vale taking another would be a betrayal neither could survive.

Their enemies fear a child born of such a powerful Healer and Warrior, but the true threat lies in the bond forged in shadows and fused in fire.

Buy Links

Paperback
Ebook


BIO

Kinley Baker read her first romance novel at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. She is the author of the fantasy romance series, Shadowed Love. Book one, RUINED, released in July 2011 from Crescent Moon Press. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com, at her blog http://authorkinleybaker.blogspot.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kinleybaker.

Monday, January 16

Horror & Urban Fantasy 2012 Reading Challenge

Okay, so here's my list for Book Chick City's Horror & Urban Fantasy 2012 Reading Challenge. I'll be updating it each month as I complete new novels. I'm hoping to do better this year than I did in 2011. Let me know if you're participating as well!

To Be Read:
  1. Dark and Stormy Knights Anthology
  2. On the Prowl Anthology
  3. On The Edge by Ilona Andrews
  4. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
  5. Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton
  6. Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton
  7. Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein
  8. Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong
  9. Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
  10. TBA
  11. TBA
Completed (in order of read):
  1. Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
  2. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
  3. Hexed Anthology
  4. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
  5. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
  6. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
  7. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
  8. Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance
  9. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
  10. The House at Cobb End by Karen Chance
  11. A Family Affair by Karen Chance
  12. The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis
  13. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Sunday, January 15

Six Sentence Sunday 14

Hi everyone! Welcome back for another week of Six Sentence Sunday! Click here to view my previous entries.

Here's a snippet from my latest release Stolen. It'll be my last one from my superhero romance, so I'll leave you all with a steamy six. Next week, I'll dip into my upcoming novella Captive Moonlight.
Michael came up behind her, and his hands cradled her shoulders. He brushed a kiss against her neck near her jawline, and then another lower down her neck. His lips caressed down toward her shoulder, drawing a sigh from her lips.

She reached up behind her and sank her fingers into his soft hair. Her fingertips massaged his head in gentle circles. Maybe she was ready for this.
Stolen available from Changeling Press.

Visit the other Six Sentence participants. http://sixsunday.com

Wednesday, January 11

Writer Wednesday: Motivation or Inspiration?

Hi everyone! It's the second week of 2012. We're all still excited about the fresh new year, right? That leads me into my Writer Wednesday topic this week.

Motivation or Inspiration...

Some writers only write when the mood hits them, while others put themselves in their chair and write no matter what. Sure, I've been guilty of writing when the mood hits before, but it's important to work consistently on your work-in-process.

I've learned a few things about that:

  1. It's harder to keep track of what has gone on in the story if you're not working on it every day. Chances are you'll have to do that much more revision, unless you've got it all plotted perfectly.
  2. It puts distance between you and the story, causing the story to go cold.  You begin not to have the passion for it, then as each day goes by excuses not to work on it start. After a while, you sit back down to find out that you're not as enthusiastic about the characters and scrap it to write a different story. (Yes, I'm speaking from experience on this one.)
  3. You're not producing work consistently. If you're contracted on a story, then producing new words is super important to fulfilling your contract (or getting the contract in the first place).
  4. Writers write. If you want to be a writer, shouldn't you enjoy writing?

So, how do you make it through the days when the muse is off somewhere else?

Tuesday, January 10

Guest Author Lisa Kessler

Hi everyone –

Thanks to Sarah for allowing me to visit her blog today…

I wanted to talk about short fiction today. I fell in love with short stories in English class back in school. Remember the horror you felt the first time you read “The Lottery”? Wow that shocked me! LOL And I vividly remember reading “The Most Dangerous Game” and being completely fascinated once I realized how dangerous that game actually was!

Many of the literary masters wrote short stories that packed a punch. I’ll never forget Edgar Allen Poe’s Pit and the Pendulum or the Tell-Tale Heart. Yikes!!!

More recently, Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, also turn out short stories that leave an impression long after you reach the end.

There’s a thrill with the pacing of a short story. The reader falls right into the scene and hits the ground running. A good short story keeps the reader turning pages and leaves them with a great pay off at the end.

And short fiction requires a very small time commitment! Perfect for our crazy busy world, right?

I got my start writing short stories. The first short I ever published in an anthology ended up being a finalist for a Bram Stoker award from the Horror Writer’s of America. Immortal Beloved told the story of a vampire who loved Beethoven. Literally. But it never could have worked in a novel length.

There are stories that derive their strength in the minimalist amount of words in a short story. A novel length would weigh them down and dull their beauty. The thrill is the pacing and knowing the end is right around the corner.

I write short stories, knowing they’ll never top a bestseller list. They’re simply a labor of pure love.

And what better reason to write, right? LOL

I’m excited to share, Forgotten Treasures: 25 Short Fiction Tales. My first short story anthology! :-)

BLURB:

Spooky tales told while huddled around a campfire


Memories of "the good old days" shared by grandparents.


Alien invasions by flashlight, under the covers, after bedtime.


Short stories are like Forgotten Treasures you find in a trunk in the attic, just waiting to be discovered.


Inside this book lurks a Christmas loving demon, a pirate ghost who becomes flesh only one night a year, and an ancient Egyptian god who longs to be a god of rock-n-roll. These tales, and many more, are anxious for you to open the cover and dust them off.

Buy Now at Amazon
Buy Now at Barnes & Noble

Thanks for celebrating this labor of love with me!

So let’s talk short stories… Do you remember any you’ve read that stuck with you? I’d love to hear…

Lisa :-)
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Sunday, January 8

Six Sentence Sunday 13

Hi everyone! Welcome back for another week of Six Sentence Sunday! Click here to view my previous entries.

Here's a snippet from my newest release Stolen. It follows right after my last Six Sentence post.
He glanced at the young man and frowned. "Go on, buddy. Just watch where you're going next time."

The kid picked up his skateboard and rushed away down the stairs.

The man smiled and offered her a hand up. "You should probably watch where you're going, too."
Stolen available from Changeling Press.

Visit the other Six Sentence participants. http://sixsunday.com

Friday, January 6

Into the Paranormal: Alphito

Howdy everyone! Welcome to this edition of Into the Paranormal! Today's post is about a boogeyman/goddess called Alphito.

I few weeks back, I was digging through a list of legendary/supernatural beings to find some good topics for Into the Paranormal. I browsed through them fairly quickly looking for something fairly easy to summarize, but also one that really captured my attention. Then I found Alphito. What first caught my eye is the fact a quote from the foreword of a cookbook comparing the author to Alphito.
Maida Heatter is the fairy godmother of anything sweet, spicy, crunchy, chewy, or fluffy you could possibly imagine baking. In Greek mythology, Maida, with her elegant halo of silver hair, would have been known as the goddess Alphito, the symbol of flour and lady guardian of the mill. (Source)
That sounds nice, so what else is there to know?

The first recorded mention of Alphito is in the Moralia of Plutarch, which relates nurses telling superstitious tales of her to scare children and make them behave. Pretty much a boogeyman. Although, her name is related to the word alphita, "white flour", and alphitomanteia, which is a type of divination which happens from flour or barley meal. As the quote above said, her hair is white and she's presumed to be old.

There's a lot of speculation into whether she's more than a boogeyman. Author Robert Graves wrote a thesis stating that she was originally the White Goddess from Greek mythology, but his book received a decent amount of criticism regarding his thoughts.

In parting, here's a description of Alphito from Graves:
In one sense it is the pleasant whiteness of pearl-barley, or a woman's body, or milk, or unsmutched snow; in another it is the horrifying whiteness of a corpse, or a spectre, or leprosy. … Alphito, it has been shown, combined these senses: for alphos is white leprosy, the vitiliginous sort which attacks the face, and alphiton is barley, and Alphito lived on the cliff tops of Nonacris in perpetual snow." (Source)
What do you think about Alphito? Have you heard of her?

Thursday, January 5

News Bytes

Hey everyone! I hope you're having an awesome Thursday. I have some very cool news to share.

First of all... wow, Jungle Heat is up for Preditors & Editor's Readers' Poll for Romance Short Story in 2011! I'd love your vote!

I'm also excited to share that Techno Crazed, the first book in the Hacked Investigations series, is now available for Nook at Barnes & Noble! Get your copy here.

Also, I have the tagline and blurb for my February 2012 release, Captive Moonlight, part of the Wolves of the Wild West multi-author series, but can be read as a standalone. The tagline and blurb might still change a little, but I figured I'd give all you a sneak peek!

Tagline: A gentlewoman will do whatever it takes to rescue her captive werewolf betrothed.

Blurb: When her betrothed, Joe, is taken captive by a group of men looking for werewolf laborers, it's up to Charlotte to track him down and win him back.

Pretty simple, but I think it sums the story up well. I can't wait to see the cover, and I'll definitely share when I get it!

Wednesday, January 4

Two Helpful Tips in Getting Published

Welcome to another edition of Writer Wednesday! I hope you're all having a great week so far. This week, I'm going to share a couple tips I learned on my journey to get published.

First of all, it’s important to keep writing and moving on to the next manuscript once you’ve finished something. It can be hard to let go of a story you’ve written and edited over and over, and you should definitely send it out on submission, but I can say the two most helpful things I’ve done in getting published is writing a lot and finding a fantastic critique partner, Kinley Baker. She helped bring my skills to a whole new level.

Something to consider when you look for a critique partner(s) is to find someone on, or close, the same level as you. Yeah, it’d be great to pair up with someone who is a multi-published New York Times Bestseller while you’re an unpublished, and if you can do that kudos to you, but the chances are unlikely. My critique partner and I leapt from unpublished to contracted in about three months of each other. That’s pretty darn cool! (I also have two other awesome critique partners, Bella Street and Lisa Kessler. They moved to that next level within the three months too, which is so amazing.) It’s been helpful since we know what the other person is going through.

It might not seem like you’re moving and shaking and gaining a lot of knowledge by just writing, but you are. I think National Novel Writing Month is really helpful in giving yourself permission to make writing a priority. It helped me to write my first book, and then my second, third, fourth... and well, I’ve been doing it (and completing my novels) every year starting in 2005. Some of them, I wrote and put aside because I was working on another book at the time, but that doesn’t matter as much as simply honing your craft.

Do you have any tips you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, January 2

Meme Monday: Garden Gnome... Bernard?

Wow, this is funny. It's definitely something Bernard, the gnome from my Hacked Investigations series, would do. Especially when they say about the possible garden gnome. LOL

epic fail  - First My Socks, Now My Dinner!
see more Epic Fail
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