Archive for January, 2011

For A Roman’s Heart Book Trailer!

Monday, January 31st, 2011

I’m proud to announce my book trailer for FOR A ROMAN’S HEART (Samhain Publishing www.samhainpublishing.com). I love it! Thank you to my awesome webmaster Stacy Chitwood for this fine trailer! Enjoy everyone. 🙂


Writing For Love or Market: Why Do You Write?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

The question of why a wordsmith writes is as varied as why an astronaut wants to go into space. For that reason, the question keeps getting raised. Why do you write?

The average Joe on the street, especially if they aren’t of an artistic bent, won’t understand. If they’re a real left brained person, it may be incomprehensible and maybe even seem silly to them. Most people won’t get it, and so writers are left with talking to other writers to get that understanding of what we do.

Even then there is a division.

Authors don’t all do things the same way. Many new writers (as yet unpublished), don’t understand this. They take workshops, they try to learn the craft, and it’s all good. No one tells them that just because Susie-New-York-Times-Bestseller does it one way means it’s the only way to “do it.” Maybe the way Susie writes isn’t the way you should write because it doesn’t work for you.

Over the years I’ve had authors try and convince me that if I would only outline and plot ahead of time, I would have less trouble writing a book.

Ah, no.

I tried that early on. More than once. I was freakin’ miserable. What I wrote was not only stilted and lacked creativity, it just wasn’t good stuff. I’m mostly a by-the-seat-of-the pants writer, and there I shall stay. It’s what works for me.

But I digress.

Even though I’m an author, I also ask myself why I write, especially when the going gets tough. I’m a published author, but would I write if I wasn’t getting paid?

Yes.

(By the way, this in no way excuses ebook piracy…there are people out there who say writers/artists shouldn’t be concerned or whine about ebook piracy. I say, quite bluntly…bollocks. There is no excuse for stealing royalties out of an author’s pocket. None. Stealing is stealing is stealing.)

I was writing and loving it before I considered publication. So I know the desire to write always lies within me. I think most writers, published or not, do so because they love it, and there’s something within them that is compelled to tell a story. It’s a part of who we are. There are also authors who write for money. They wouldn’t write if they weren’t getting paid. They say they couldn’t afford to write otherwise. They write to a market with the idea of going where the money is. And some of them are very successful at it. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s a concept that’s hard for me relate to. If I wasn’t compelled to write deep within, I could be something else. I could flip burgers and be guaranteed of making as much money as I sometimes make (or more) than I do writing. I could go back to being a secretary and make more money than I sometimes do writing. I’d hate both of these careers but I could and would do them if I had to.

Instead I write. I do what I believe I was born to do.

My ideas, in order to be created with and sense of enjoyment and fulfillment, have to be something I’m drawn to create. For example, I could write about vampires, fae, shape shifters, demons as heroes, etc. I could write steampunk. But ya know what? None of those ideas blow my skirt up right now. I have written about vampires. I even have a werewolf trilogy that is part of the way written that is waiting to be finished (and died a lonely, gasping, begging breath a few years back when it wouldn’t come together). I may finish those werewolf books at some point. Never say never. Instead, I’m writing what really compels me. For me to create the best stories I’m capable of, I have to write ideas that aren’t always mainstream romance and aren’t always popular. As we say these days, it’s the way I roll. Through long experience, I’ve discovered writing to trend or market is often a betrayal of who I am. It isn’t me. It isn’t authentic. It doesn’t talk to me. I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t write to market or trend. I’m prompting a question for you to consider.

Why do you write and what  makes you happy? If you’re not sure, maybe you should start asking yourself that question.

Guest Author: Megan Hart

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Good morning everyone. I’d like to welcome multipublished and award-winning author Megan Hart to my blog today. Megan and I have known each other quite a while, and we share the same agent. Today I’m interviewing her about writing, and I hope you’ll not only read the interview but stop by her website to learn more about her titles. You can find excerpts and more fun stuff at her website www.meganhart.com, so don’t miss out. Take it away, Megan.

**

When you first started writing, did you write purely for pleasure or with the goal of publication?

I wrote purely for pleasure. I started writing stories when I was in elementary school, and it wasn’t until I was about twelve I figure out some people made a living doing this!

Are you more of a write what blows your skirt up person or a write to the market person?

A bit of both. There’s no point in blowing up your skirt if nobody wants to see what’s underneath.

How do you maintain your creativity?

I have no idea! Sometimes I don’t even feel like I have any!

Do you believe a writer is born with talent or can learn to write a great novel regardless of inborn talent?

I think anyone can learn to spell properly and use correct grammar and be disciplined enough to write a novel. I don’t think everyone can write a good book. You need talent AND skill.

Are their subgenres you don’t read?

Definitely. However, the important thing about that is, just ‘cuz I don’t read ‘em doesn’t mean I think they shouldn’t exist. The world’s a big place with room in it for lots of books.

Where do you get your ideas? Just kidding. Okay, here’s the question. Do you ever get tired of people asking where you get your ideas?

I buy them in bulk at Costco.

Tell us a smidgen about your latest novel and where we can buy it.

Precious and Fragile Things is my first mainstream release, it came out from Mira on the auspicious day of 1/1/11, and it can be found in most any store you think it might be found, plus some other places that were a surprise to me, like Wegman’s grocery store. You should find it in the fiction section, although, unfortunately (because it’s emphatically not a romance) it’s been spotted in the romance section too.

**

Thanks Megan for stopping by today and sharing  bit of your writing world with us.

Excerpt: LOVE FROM THE ASHES

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Today I’d like to give you an excerpt of one of my favorite books. Often I’m asked by readers what my favorite book is that I’ve written. I don’t know that I have an absolute favorite, but I will admit that Love From The Ashes is definitely a book that I will always treasure as a book of my heart. It won the 2001 EPPIE Award for Best Historical Romance. Love From The Ashes is available at Amazon and Smashwords in a variety of ebook formats. Here’s the blurb and an excerpt for your entertainment.

LOVE FROM THE ASHES

By Denise A. Agnew

**

From the Ashes of Hell itself…

During the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire privileged Grace Wyne and Irish immigrant Nathaniel Dempsey desperately try to rescue LOVE FROM THE ASHES.

Grace and Nate seek freedom and a new life in San Francisco but society, her family and forces of Nature, wage war against them.

Nate is torn by the death of his family in Ireland.  Yet he finds Grace’s spirit and strength a balm for his soul. She joins a suffragette organization, but when she encounters scorn and violence, Nate vows to protect her.

She is determined to marry for love, and now is stunned by her feelings for a man far beneath her social status.  There is more than one danger to face–for the earth is unstable and their forbidden love is a sure formula for disaster.

When the earth trembles and breaks apart, only Nature knows who will live to love again… and who will die.

* *

Nate got out of the auto and rounded the front of the Studebaker, a big grin warming his face. When he opened her door, Grace didn’t move a muscle. No doubt he thought she was nervous.

No use denying it. She was. He could probably see the tightness in her face. Her back felt as hard and straight as a board.

He gestured for her to step out. “Well?”

The man lying on the ground hadn’t moved a muscle. “Shouldn’t we help that man?”

“He’s drunk. Johnny threw him out, probably.”

“Emmeline’s uncle.”

“Aye. Are you going to sit in the auto all day or go inside for a stiff drink?”

Quickly she scrambled from the auto; she had no desire to be stranded. “I’ll take the stiff drink, most definitely.”

Trying not to inhale the coal dust air surrounding this area of San Francisco, Grace walked beside Nate as if he were an escort rather than chauffeur.

Nate opened a narrow wood door at the back of the building. Loud talking, and the scent of heavy cigarette and cigar smoke assaulted her senses.

“I’ll go first,” Nate said.

Moving down the dim corridor behind him, she hoped ordering him to take her here hadn’t been a mistake. She might like adventure, but she didn’t consider herself foolhardy. Yet she’d managed to do two imprudent things so far today. Another part of her relished the excitement storming her fear. That and an overwhelming sense of safety in Mr. Dempsey’s presence kept her from running back the way she’d come. She’d never felt this carefree before. Almost as if someone had opened a wild world of wonders and said, “Here you are, Miss Wyne. Here’s the pot of gold. What are you going to do about it?”

They emerged seconds later into the pungent odor of stale sweat, horseflesh, leather, and bad breath. She wrinkled her nose at the same time Nate turned to her.

He grinned. “You wanted to come here.”

Seconds later, as Grace wound her way through tables full of men, she got the impression every male in the place had been stranded in the desert for ten years sans female company. She heard a cat call not far behind her, but she ignored the sound. As nonchalantly as she could Grace removed her goggles and unhooked her dustcoat.

“Johnny,” Nate said loudly over the noise as they approached the bar.

A large man with shaggy hair stood behind the bar, and his eyes widened. He stopped drying a glass with a towel. She’d seen the man from a distance on two occasions when he’d come to visit Emmeline.

“What is she doing here?” the man snarled. “This establishment is for men only.”

Nate leaned against the bar. “She’s the boss’s daughter, Johnny.” With a wry twist of his lips he said, “She ordered me to come here.”

Johnny’s frown deepened. “But you know the rules, Nate.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Reagan,” she said, putting out her gloved hand to shake his. “We haven’t been properly introduced. I’m sorry to break your rules, but I completed my first driving lesson, and my nerves are quite rattled. I thought a little refreshment might be in order. I’ve heard so many nice things about you from your niece that I thought I’d visit.”

Johnny’s wary expression eased, and he put down the towel and glass and took her hand in a firm grip. “Pleased to meet you, Miss Wyne.”

“And I you.” She released his hand and peeled off her gloves, something that caused Nate to raise an eyebrow. “Emmeline is a fabulous help to me, Mr. Reagan. I couldn’t do without her.”

The suspicious light drained from Johnny’s eyes. He smiled and went back to drying the glass. “She’s a good girl.”

“She is indeed.” She glanced around the room and noted several men gazed in her direction, their mouths hanging open. “I can leave, Mr. Reagan, if you think my presence might hurt your establishment. I mean … ruin its reputation.”

He chuckled as he put the glass away and reached for a whiskey bottle. “Come to think of it, it might help my business if men brought their wives in this place, but then I’d lose some of my business, too. Hard call. For you I’ll make an exception.” He winked at Nate. “What’ll you have, Nate? Or are you staying dry now you’re on Nob Hill.”

With a wry twist to his mouth, Nate glanced at Grace and said, “I’d better stay dry. Mr. Wyne wouldn’t take kindly to me drinking on the job.”

“What about you, Miss Wyne?”

“I think I’ll have whiskey.”

Both men seemed to hold their breaths, and she enjoyed their shocked expressions.

“A small taste,” she said when they didn’t reply. “I’ve never sampled it before.”

Nate’s nose twitched. “I thought you said you wanted wine or tea?”

“Changed my mind.”

Johnny laughed as he retrieved a glass and poured her more than the small measure she’d requested. “The lady asks, she receives.”

Nate asked for coffee, and Johnny said it would be a minute before he could get the brew from the back room.

“I’ll find us a table while you wait,” she said, happy to have a moment away from the unnerving pair of Irishman.

“Wait.” Nate reached for her arm.

She avoided his grip and smiled as she said, “Why? We need a table, you need to get your coffee.”

“But—”

Grace went ahead without pause, knowing that she’d perturbed him. Yet she needed to get away from him. For most of her driving lesson she’d been nervous because he’d been close to her. A few moments alone to compose her nerves would do wonders.

Well, Grace, you did ask to come here.

She headed toward a table in the back away from smoke and most prying eyes. Still, on the way through the morass, she felt curious stares boring into her back.

“You gotta be kiddin’, Chester. My eyes playin’ tricks on me, or do I see a mighty pretty lady comin’ our way?”

She ignored the man and proceeded with her whiskey in hand. Suddenly she felt a hand on her buttocks. Before she could react, he grabbed her waist and yanked her straight back. A gasp left her throat, and she almost dropped the whiskey glass. She flopped into the man’s lap, the whiskey slopping over her hand.

She looked up into a pair of watery, brown eyes and a scruffy, beard bristled face. His general stench caused her to wrinkle her nose.

“Let me go, sir,” she said in a polite, even voice.

Chester let out a guffaw. “Dad blast it, Jack, she has balls enough. She don’t need yours. She comes in here dressed like some high priced lady. You can’t afford her.”

Jack smacked his lips together like a cat about ready to taste succulent mouse flesh. “Bet I could afford a good kiss eh, sister?”

Grace recoiled as the man’s bad breath assaulted her nostrils. She struggled, but his grip on her waist remained firm. “Let me go, sir, or I will have to resort to severe measures.”

When he reached to grab her right breast, she gasped in outrage, knocked his hand away, and threw the whiskey in his face. Jack growled, and she saw the drunken haze leave his eyes and flare into anger.

“Let her go.”

Down in her bones Grace knew she’d recognize that voice anywhere, anytime. No one else she knew had those intensely masculine, husky overtones.

Nate.

He stood not quite behind Chester and in full view of her. She’d been so preoccupied with reasoning with this piece of filth she hadn’t seen him approach. Nate caught her gaze and held it, and she recognized the fire of anger like a blue flame. Whether he was angry with her as well as Jack she couldn’t tell.

Grace tried to move from Jack’s grasp, but he held her tight.

“You’d better let her go, or she’s likely to brain you with that glass. And don’t think she can’t do it,” Nate said.

Half tempted to prove Nate right, she held the glass as if she might smash the man’s face at any moment.

“You cut me with that glass, bitch, and I’ll—”

“Let her go.” Nate enunciated each word as a separate sentence. “Or so help me God, I’ll beat you so badly your own mother won’t recognize your sorry arse.”

Nate’s gaze stayed steady on the brute holding her. A myriad of emotions rocketed through Grace. Relief. Fear. Thankfulness. Respect.

“I’d do as the Mick says,” Chester said. “I seen him deck a man not long ago, and it weren’t a pretty sight, I tell you.”

The ruffian loosened his hold on Grace, and she scrambled away from him, losing her grasp on the glass in her hand. It crashed to the floor and splintered. In her haste she bumped against Nate. He put his arm around her shoulders and pressed her close to his side. Instantly his strength and warmth made her feel safe.

Mega Book Release News!

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Hey everybody. Happy Tuesday. Well, this month has been a whirlwind. Or maybe I should say the last two months. Last month Daryk Rogue went up at Ellora’s Cave, and that’s awesome. January 4 For A Roman’s Heart was released by Samhain Publishing, and I was double thrilled. But there’s more! Can you say jumpin’ up and down more? February 16 another Daryk World book comes out, Daryk Craving. I should say it’s a novella and not a full length book. After that, I have Hot Pursuit coming out at Samhain Publishing and it’s also a novella and the fifth story in the Hot Zone series. Pant, pant, pant. Are we finished yet? No. May 3 the print edition of Dark, Deadly Love comes out at Samhain Publishing. I put print edition in bold because I know some of you want my Jack The Ripper story in print.

Take a big breath. Yes, that is my spring all sewn up. 🙂 Top that off with writing my gothic romance/historical/paranormal trilogy and you could say my brain is full. Full, I say.

Here’s to a calm, collected and happy spring for us all.

Excerpt: Sneak Peek at Daryk Craving

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Hey all! It’s good to be back. We had a difficult week. Last week one of my hubby’s sisters passed away and we attended the service on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure my brain isn’t firing on all rockets yet. It may take me a few more days to really get the right energy back. In the meantime, I’m posting an excerpt for DARYK CRAVING, the third story in my Daryk World series at Ellora’s Cave. Daryk Craving’s release date was moved to February 16. Hope you enjoy Aknada’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

**

He didn’t speak while they finished climbing the stairs. She glanced around the structure. So many times when she and Rayder were children, they visited here. When times had seemed simple and complete. Of course no time was simple or complete. Time faded memory enough to make everyone forget.

“This place is still beautiful,” she said softly as they reached the landing.

He turned, and she couldn’t help but take in his height. She was tall, but he was taller, and the breadth of his shoulders made her feel small. Almost delicate. Something she’d never felt around another man. She hated it. Not that he was larger than her, but that she felt vulnerable. She wanted desperately to erase the unreasonable fear. She knew Marc wouldn’t hurt her, and yet her fear of men ran deep.

Those eyes, so blue and as mysterious as the Protican Ocean, warmed. “Thank you. My father would be proud, I would hope.” He winked. “Hurry up. We have wasted much time getting here.”

He headed to the left, passed several doors on the landing and reached double, dark wood doors belonging to his chambers. She’d never been in there before, not even when she’d visited as a girl.

“Are you certain about this?” she asked with a breathy need to pull in air.

He turned and looked her quizzically. “What is it?”

“Your room?”

For a moment he looked confused then his gaze cleared. “Ah, I see. You are concerned people will talk if you are in there alone with me.” He nodded and placed his hands on his hips. “As well they might.” His eyes turned serious. “You know I would never harm you.”

She nodded.

Marc opened his bedchamber door and gestured for Aknada to enter. “After you.”

She hesitated just long enough to signal more discomfort.

“I am sorry.” He held up both hands. “If you would prefer to check my wound in more neutral territory—”

“Do not be ridiculous.” She waved one hand, not willing to show additional weakness. She stepped into his chambers and he followed her. “You need dry clothes.”

“What about you? You’re not exactly dry yourself.”

“Merely damp. I can change when I return to my room.”

With a nod, he walked past her to a huge dark wood wardrobe where she guessed he housed his clothing. She glanced around his quarters, impressed by the size and grandeur of the rooms. But they weren’t really his taste. His father had liked the grandiose and made certain the entire compound hinted at opulence.

The huge bed against the far north wall was simple, but several pillows graced the head. Two small windows shaped in a quatrefoil allowed murky sunlight to spill into the room. Rain splashed the glass. A flash of lightning followed by a crash of thunder made her jump. A table near the windows caught her attention, and she wandered toward it. A book sat between two large candlesticks. Surprise and a wave of pleasure engulfed her when she recognized a volume of her poetry. Only a few copies had ever been made. She didn’t know he’d purchased one. A bookshelf along the south wall featured many other books. Why was this one by itself?

Clutching the book in her hands, a smile ready on her face, she turned and stopped cold. Marc stood next to the bed, facing away from her. He pulled the tunic over his head, revealing his naked back.

Broad, muscular shoulders moved with power. But it wasn’t only the strength that shocked her. A pattern of scars, slightly pink and raised, crisscrossed his back.

“Marc.” She gasped his name softly, horrified.

He turned quickly, his dark brows a slash over his concerned gaze. If she thought his back took her by surprise, she also wasn’t ready for the rest of him. Dressed only in his fitted trousers and knee boots, he took her breath away. She’d always known a strong body resided under all those clothes, but she wasn’t ready for the reality. She’d never seen him without his shirt. Over the years, she’d seen him cutting wood and building things, but never without a shirt.

When he planted his hands on his hips, chest muscles flexed and bunched under a sprinkling of dark hair that trailed down to rippling stomach muscles. Hair arrowed toward his waistband and disappeared. Her lips parted, but she couldn’t think of a thing to say. Even the bandage that covered his ribs couldn’t detract from his impressive build. He was beautiful. No. He was so amazingly compelling that her entire body reacted. Something she never expected to feel again in her life stirred low in her belly. A hot yearning blossomed to life. With that sensation came a spark of hope. Perhaps… Just perhaps…

No. She was damaged. Ruined for all other men. None would want her. And she wanted none of them.

He walked toward her, and that’s when she saw more than concern in his eyes. Curiosity and perhaps even embarrassment filled his face.

“Your back.” She couldn’t hold back the words as he took a couple of steps toward her. “What happened?”

He stopped a fair distance from her. He shoved a hand through his hair and it tumbled across his shoulders. “I didn’t mean for you to see it.”

“Why?”

“Because I am…” He drew in a slow breath. “How do I explain this?” Pain flickered in his eyes. “Remember when I was fifteen and a madman held me for ransom?”

“Oh Draconus. Yes. I was… I feared for your life.”

He smiled gently, his eyes shimmering with memories. “Father paid the ransom and found me, but not before the madman had me for three days.”

Tears rose in her eyes. “How could I have forgotten? The man beat you, whipped you. That’s why you never take your shirt off.”

“Not in public.” He smiled but it vanished quickly.

“Not even for women?” Heat filled her face at her own impertinent question. “I mean—”

“No. Not for the last three years.”

Disbelief filled her. “You haven’t been with a woman in three years?”

“No.”

Another question popped into her mind, but she didn’t ask it. It simmered inside her. Three years? As long as she’d been gone from his life?

Scarce for a little while…and radio show

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Hey everyone,

We’ve had to postpone the radio show due to unforeseen circumstances but hope to be back with a new date for you soon. In the meantime, I may be scarce for a couple of weeks at least, so don’t worry if I don’t post here as often as I normally do. Never fear, I’ll be back in no time. In the meantime, happy reading!

Announcing: Authors Unplugged Radio Show

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

A radio show you say? Yes, that’s right. I’ve started a thirty minute BlogTalkRadio.com show with fellow author and good buddy Selena Robins. Our show, Authors Unplugged, premiers on Thursday, January 13. The first show is a test run, and on Monday I’ll give you more information on what we’re doing for that first show, which is interactive and includes prizes. The show is once a month and will feature authors, publishers, and possibly an agent or two. We plan to have authors from many different genres as well. So stay tuned to this blog, Facebook, Twitter and other readers groups for the special details on Monday.

New Book Release! For A Roman’s Heart

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Woot!!! I am so happy. For A Roman’s Heart has just been released by Samhain Publishing and you can find it at www.samhainpublishing.com

Enjoy my video blog on what’s coming up and what’s new and for a tidbit on For A Roman’s Heart.


The Best Books on Writing. Ever!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

First of all, Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were filled with warmth, happiness, love and health.

I didn’t make any real New Year’s Resolutions this year except for one. Write what I enjoy writing. It sounds like such a mild goal, but in my career at this point, it’s really all I need and want. It feels good.

Later in the month I have an article/blog that I feel is a little controversial in the writing world, and I’m not even sure if I’ll post it yet. I’m still thinking about it. In the meantime, I wanted to start the year with a positive for all writers. In the writing world we hear about how to plot, how to write characters, how to do this and that. I’ve found the best writing books, for me, aren’t so much “how to” books as they are books that inspire. So here’s the list. If you’re a writer, check ‘em out. I hope they inspire you to write that next book and keep on writing no matter what the publishing world throws at you.

On Writing – Stephen King

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield

Creativity For Life – Eric Maisel

Coaching the Artist Within – Eric Maisel

Fearless Creating – Eric Maisel

The Van Gogh Blues – Eric Maisel

Freeing Your Creativity: A Writer’s Guide – Marshall Cook

Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer’s Life – Bonnie Friedman

Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lamott

Wild Mind: Living The Writer’s Life – Natalie Goldberg

I have a few other books on writing, though I’ve given away most books on craft. Not that I think I can’t learn more craft. Every writer can. It’s just that books on how to get out of my own way, how to find inspiration and creativity have given me far more than any book on craft ever could. I listed the titles above in hopes that you, too, can find that spark and that fire and write the book you’ve always wished to write.