Archive for June, 2011

Update: Before The Dawn

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Good day all. Sometimes a book release goes really well, and sometimes there are situations beyond our control that throw a monkey wrench into the works. This week’s release of Before The Dawn has been like that. On Tuesday a reader kindly let me know that when she ordered Before The Dawn the Kindle version of the book at Samhain had a different author’s book in it entirely. Turned out the books at Amazon and Barnes and Noble had the same problem. So while the problem is being fixed, you cannot get your copy of Before The Dawn at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Please order from Samhain Publishing directly. I really appreciate all the patience readers have shown while we get this straightened out.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the publishing business, it is that stuff happens. Yep. Things go wrong and you have to ride it out. So this isn’t the end of the world. Just means I might have to spend more time this next month letting readers know about Before The Dawn in case they missed out this week. Talk to you all soon and have a fantabulous 4th. of July if you celebrate!

New Book Released! BEFORE THE DAWN

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Hello everyone! And yes, that’s one delicious, big cover below.  I wanted everyone to see the details.

Today is the release of BEFORE THE DAWN, a historical romance novel available at Samhain Publishing.

You can also find BEFORE THE DAWN at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in ebook format as well.

So, what started my quest to write this book? Can you believe it was a History Channel program on Eastern State Penitentiary? Yep, that’s right. I’d already seen a couple of ghost hunting shows on Eastern State, and because the paranormal intrigues me, I knew that I had to create a story that somehow involves this dark, spooky place. As it turned out, though, I had a story in mind that wasn’t paranormal. What if the hero was incarcerated in Eastern State and he was innocent? What if he was framed for his betrothed’s murder by his own brother? Bam! It went from there. Soon the story was flowing along. Here’s the blurb and snippet to give you a taste, and I hope you’ll get your copy so you can read about the hot Irish hero and his journey to find love and revenge.

Elijah McKinnon has been found innocent of a heinous murder, but it doesn’t erase the hellish years in prison he endured. He boards the train to Pittsburgh a changed man, certain he will never feel free until he’s wreaked revenge on the brother who ruined his life.

The passenger who catches his eye is intriguing, but he’s seen her kind before. The kind who puts on airs—and looks down on Irishmen. Still, he can’t seem to stop himself from stepping between her and a pack of ruthless cads.

Mary Jane Lawson is grateful for the handsome stranger’s help, but her journey has a higher purpose: to rise above her shattered reputation and declare her independence, come flood or famine. Propriety says she should refuse Elijah’s suggestion they pose as husband and wife—for her own protection, of course. Her practical side says it won’t hurt to pretend, just this once.

Come nightfall, though, their little charade must be carried all the way to shared sleeping quarters, where their vulnerabilities become painfully clear. And when danger past and present threatens, trusting each other becomes a matter of life and death.

Product Warnings

A hot Irish accent mixed with high adventure may cause combustion. Beware of falling for this hunk. The heroine says he’s hers.

* *

As she stood, the Irishman caught her gaze once more. “Come on, darlin’.”

The mysterious man urged her to move into the aisle in front of him. Men around them heard his accent. Some looked at him with distain, others polite indifference. Two red-haired twins, handsome and stoic, left the carriage ahead of them.

She played along as his wife, an anticipatory shiver adding to the adventure. The devil on one shoulder found this thrilling while the angel on the other berated. Soon they alighted from the car, and the man in front of Mary Jane waited at the steps and held his hand out to her.

“Thank you, sir,” she said out of habit for a gentleman’s chivalry.

As he helped her down to the platform, she took in the sights and sounds with curiosity. The town certainly did not boast the size of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, but it hummed with activity. On the outskirts, one-story buildings dominated, but she could see a square populated with three-story brick buildings. Various transports lumbered down the streets, from omnibus, curricle and numerous freight wagons.

To her surprise the Irishman took her upper arm in a possessive grip. Though his touch in no way bruised, he urged her along. “This way, darlin’.”

The Irishman stopped in a secluded section of the station. Before she could squeak a protest, he slipped his arm around her waist and drew her into his body. They pressed chest to chest. Hip to hip. The intimate contact filled her face with heat.

Indignant, her hands landed on his chest as she started to push away. “What on earth are you doing?”

He held tight and leaned close, his mouth hovering near hers. His breath was refreshingly clean, his voice low. “Those men from the train are watching. Play the part or those scoundrels will know you’re not my wife.”

Caught in his embrace, her senses took in the hard, long length of his body, his wide shoulders and chest evident even through his worn waistcoat. Without hat and with wild hair, he seemed more the rounder than upstanding citizen. He looked thoroughly capable of debauching a naïve woman. But the last thing Mary Jane considered herself was naïve.

“I do not know who you think you are, sir, but I will not be treated like a piece of meat to haul around. You will release me immediately.”

“After I know you’re safe and not before.” His declaration rumbled deep, his voice filled with a husky flavor she found maddening. It infuriated and fascinated her. “While we’re on this trip you’ll need to play along, or I guarantee those men will see you as fair game. I don’t trust them, and my instincts about these things are straight and true, darlin’.”

Darlin’. The endearment whispered against her ears with an intimacy that started warm, treacherous tingles low in her stomach. How dare he make her feel…she could not identify the dangerous feeling.

“How do I know you are not one of them?” she asked.

One corner of his mouth lifted, and a wicked twinkle entered his eyes. “Think a moment with your heart and not your head. What do your instincts tell you?”

Astonished, she almost shoved at his chest again. Instead, that enticing gaze gathered her almost as closely as his grip. His powerful body and secure hold let her know she could not escape. She could scream and someone would come to her rescue. But who? She glanced around and saw the two blackguards watched from a distance.

“Those men are watching us,” she said with apprehension.

“As I said.” He cupped her cheek. “Trust me.”

His mouth closed over hers, and pure, sensual pleasure engulfed her. Her eyes closed as his mouth tasted with a ruthless but tender exploration. All her senses pinpointed to the moment, caught in a whirlwind. The strength of his fingers as they slid away from her cheek to cradle the back of her neck, his clean scent of soap and some unknown spice, the cautious yet strong grip of a powerful arm around her waist. The crinoline proved no barrier to this man. She felt surrounded, cherished, utterly disarmed.

Surprise and dismay slammed her. Absolutely not. She would not allow this.

The last time she had let a man kiss her like this…well, disaster had ensued.

But this man…oh, his kiss was different. Delicious. So beguiling that she felt her inhibitions crumbling, rolling down a rocky slope.

Before she could pull away, he lifted his head. He assessed her, his gaze hot and hungry. He looked as if he wanted more. Much more.

“Release me.” Her throat felt tight. “Release me or I will scream.”

His gaze still simmered, but now she saw anger there as well.

Ashamed that she stood like a placid child, she pulled out of his arms. “That, sir, is just the reason why I should not trust you.”

“Take my protection. Those other men will do far more than kiss you, and I guarantee you won’t like it.”

She gasped in indignation. “I knew you were not honorable. Why, I do not even know your name.”

“McKinnon, darlin’, just as I said on the train. Elijah Jonas McKinnon. And your name?”

Half tempted not to give it to him, she said, “Mary Jane Lawson.”

“A proper name, indeed.”

“You are Irish.”

“Dirty Irishman, darlin’?” His voice held sarcasm, his accent more pronounced, his eyes hard.


Fires, New Release & Caffeine

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Hello everyone! I’m still playing catch up, so please forgive me for not being on this blog as much as before. I have a new release (BEFORE THE DAWN, June 28 at Samhain Publishing) tomorrow, plus I need to get a newsletter together, plus I need more coffee and more ZZZZZZZZ. Ah, but it’s all good in comparison to a couple of weeks ago when the Monument Fire and Antelope Fire gave us all an adventure we didn’t want. I’m happy to say that the fire is now 85% contained and the firefighters and other officials dealing with the disaster have done a wonderful job keeping us as safe as possible.

In the meantime the weather has decided to get very, very hot. Because the electric companies are switching from disaster mode to regular mode (I know, that isn’t the official description but it works for me), we’re also being asked around here to turn up the AC a bit so it doesn’t come on so much and try to use electricity less. For me I guess that means I’ll be reading a bit more, maybe turning off the computer for a while and using my Alpha Smart to write. And perhaps being a tiny bit too toasty in the house.

Tomorrow I’ll have a great excerpt for you from BEFORE THE DAWN, so be sure to stop back then. 🙂


Before The Dawn: Irish Hero

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Hey all. I’m happy as all get out to report the Monument Fire is 45% contained. It’s not over yet but low winds are helping the situation. So quiet is good. Very, very, wonderfully good.

In a small celebration, I’m posting an excerpt of my upcoming historical romance, BEFORE THE DAWN, which comes out June 28 at Samhain Publishing. You can preorder BEFORE THE DAWN at Samhain, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.


Mary Jane Lawson felt the man staring at her from across the train, and everything inside her screamed that he was dangerous. She had noted the man’s presence since she boarded the train in Philadelphia. He never seemed far away, always keeping her within viewing distance. She tried ignoring him, but it rarely worked. She always knew when his gaze rested upon her.

When she dared swing her gaze in his direction, everything inside her froze. His observance, so rude and intent, should have brought on moral indignation. The fact she could not find fault with his staring disturbed her. Mary Jane tightened her grip on her skirts, her gloved hands too warm in the black leather.

She noted his thickly lashed, dark green eyes. His attention swept over her in more thorough assessment, as if he had never seen a woman. She had never witnessed eyes that intense, and something within them scared her in a way she could not understand. Light flickered over him as clouds parted outside the train window. His mahogany hair, full and thick, curled in an unruly toss around his collar. Macassar oil or bear grease didn’t tame his hair as it did most men’s locks. The side part was a little imprecise. While he wore no beard or mustache, his sideburns were long.

She sniffed, lifted her nose and looked away. There. He deserved a cut, a refusal of acknowledgement, for not following common manners.

Since when has a man’s direct attention ever bothered me?

Her mother’s indignant voice rang in her head. Good heavens, you do not ask a man to dance. You wait for him to ask you. And stop staring. It is rude and implies you are a loose…well…loose with your attentions and affections. Do you want to garner a reputation?

Drawn to the green-eyed man’s presence, Mary Jane glanced over at him and saw he still stared at her, as she might be the most fascinating thing he had ever seen. Most civilized man were too…well…civilized to make interest so obvious. This man didn’t seem to care what she thought.

Hmm. Now that was another thing she was not used to. She started to smile at him and stifled her inclination. Now was not the time to allow it free rein.

Mary Jane opened her reticule and extracted a handkerchief. The wood stove at the far end of the car behind her generated too much heat, even for an unusually crisp June day. She dabbed at her cheeks and the cloth came away slightly sooty. Awful. See if she ever took another train.

On the other hand, the lure of adventure drew her into excitement, and if it were not for the terrible reason behind her train trip, she would almost enjoy the soot and grit and the loud hustle bustle.

She did not know whether to feel exhilaration or amazement at what she accomplished so far on this excursion. After the train had left Vine Street in the center of Philadelphia, they had crossed the Schuylkill River on a huge viaduct. All along the way she had marveled at the beauty displayed to the north where farmhouses and stone barns dappled the land. Their railway coach was hauled up a high area called the Belmont Plane. After that, coupled to steam locomotives, they made their way to the canal basin where they’d soon traverse the Susquehanna River near Columbia.

The speed was terrifying, the noise deafening, the entire ride uncomfortable. The rattle, rattle, rattle of the car over rails irritated her. From what she had gleaned at their last stop, they would try to make it all the way to the town of Columbia. If bad weather dictated, they would finish their trip for tonight at Lancaster around three o’clock. A stagecoach would not have proved much better for comfort and certainly not for speed, and transporting Father relied on the train. Returning to her mother and sisters would prove a trial as well, but in the meantime she could take some comfort in the hours it would take to reach home.

Home. She should not feel eager to return to the one place she longed to escape. She closed her eyes and sighed, glad for the relative emptiness of the railcar. As she sighed, she still felt the green-eyed man’s attention. It made her want to squirm. Weariness dragged at Mary Jane’s eyelids. Heat threatened to choke every drop of air from the compartment. Her neck itched. Her palms sweated. She swallowed back the lump in her throat that threatened to grow with every hour. Tears prickled and she drew a tight breath. No, she would not. She could not lose control. Staying strong was more important than purging feelings. She tugged at the ruffled lace neckline. She unfastened two buttons. More than once she’d wished she’d forgone wearing a crinoline. But no, that wouldn’t do. Simply wouldn’t do.

Thank goodness her chaperone Prudence could not see her opening the blouse. Her long nose would tilt high with pure disapproval. On the other hand, when her mother and sisters discovered she had left Prudence in Philadelphia, well, she would never hear the end of it. She sighed. Soon, this would all be over. Father would find his eternal place in Pittsburgh—his body laid to rest near his ancestors.

Movement to her left started her out of her reverie. The mysterious man stared at her again. Seconds slowed as their gazes locked, and that look seared awareness into her brain and all through her. Her lips parted in soundless amazement as his eyes warmed with interest…and if she dared think it, a nameless heat. Then he looked away and she wondered if she imagined that brief moment of connection. She straightened, stiffening her back as if it would deny the outrageous sensation that she’d stepped into danger. Her heartbeat quickened. Good thing Prudence wasn’t with her. The lady would have vapors for certain.

Two men Mary Jane had seen earlier in the day wandered past to sit in the seat in front of her. Her gaze tangled momentarily with one of the men, but something…something felt different. With blond hair, sharp nose, tight mouth and pale skin, he took her in with cold eyes so washed out she could not tell if they were ice blue or chilly green. Hairs on the back of her neck prickled despite the insidious heat. A horrible chill, soul-deep and profound shivered through her.

She yanked her gaze away from the man as he slid into the seat and scooted over for the other man. His companion, a skinny man with frayed trousers and frayed waistcoat, was far friendlier in appearance. Seedy, but without the cold eyes. As he reached his seat, he tipped his hat, nodded, and said with a raspy voice, “Ma’am.”

With reluctance, she nodded in acknowledgement. His gaze took in her black silk traveling dress and hat. She returned his bold stare with one of her own. No. This man’s stare did not make her feel anything like the green-eyed man across the aisle. Her mother’s nagging voice followed her in the same indignant voice.

You have been disgraced. No fine Pittsburgh man will be the least bit interested in marrying you.

Mary Jane sighed. She could not allow indiscretions in her past to ruin her future. Not when her bold nature had created havoc in her life up to this point.

The blond man made a sound in his throat, and she realized he had aimed and missed the spittoon near his feet. Her stomach roiled. Honestly, some men are perfect swine.

The skinny man turned around in his seat and gazed at her point blank. Then his blond friend did the same.

“Ma’am.” The skinny man lifted one eyebrow as his insolent attention swept over her. “You a widow?”

Startled at the question, she did not speak right away.

The skinny man wiped his nose on his sleeve. “Seems a bit strange you travelin’ by yourself.”

Repulsed, she did not know what to say.

“She isn’t traveling by herself,” said the deep, Irish-accented voice to her immediate left. “She’s with me.”

Both men in front of her glanced over at the green-eyed Irishman. Startled, she did the same.

The Irishman’s expression stayed neutral, but his eyes held a warning. “She’s my wife. Her mother died recently.”


Hairy Week From Hell

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Yeah. That was my view June 15 when the Monument Fire really went to town. Back in 2002 I wrote a book called Combustion, and I have written about natural disasters before and will continue to do so in some other books I have coming up. I studied fire science stuff and talked to numerous people in firefighting when I wrote Combustion. What I knew and learned while writing that book made me more afraid when I encountered this situation. Of course, even when you have a big imagination like mine, nothing is worse than encountering gut-wrenching, screamin’ freak out like that in person.

This has been a hairy week from hell for so many people. And as hairy as it was for me, there are a lot of people who were evacuated and have lost their homes. The wonderful thing is that our little city down has been so helpful and unbelievable in stepping up to the plate to help those in need.

The fire started burning Sunday, June 12. We arrived home June 13 from our weekend break in Tucson, immediately got our dog from the kennel (that kennel was saved by the grace of goodness and hard work this last week and they took in evacuated pets for free) and shot home. Tuesday is when things really started to hit the rotating device and every afternoon has been a study in trying not to freak. Yesterday was the worst for me.

In the afternoon a fire started on Fort Huachuca totally separate from the Monument Fire and it was so violent and fast and right across from the community I live in that my gut was goin’, “Oh, my God get the hell out.” I threw my “to go” bag in the car, grabbed my dog, and got out of Dodge. My husband Terry left the fort shortly afterward and was heading home. Planes and choppers fighting the Monument conflagration diverted and were flying right overhead pounding the area with water and retardant. Fort Huachuca fire personnel fought the fire as well, and numerous agencies including the border patrol assisted with traffic.

After making my way out of my neighborhood, I went to the north part of Sierra Vista. From the north of Sierra Vista all I could see to the south was this huge wall of smoke with red and orange in it all the way from west to east. Looked like something out of a bloody disaster movie. I waited it out for awhile before I returned home. That was an adventure in itself because of traffic, and I had to wind around to get back home. Smoke was so bad and the whole thing was so scary. Terry got home ahead of me.

Learned just this morning that my gut was right to get out. The cops raced through the neighborhood right after I left screamin’ for everyone to leave. So the cops were thinking the fire was going to jump the highway and were anticipating better to be safe than sorry. The huge efforts of the fort firefighters and the planes and choppers diverting from the Monument Fire saved the day. Without their skills our neighborhood would have burned, and so would have several others. I don’t even want to think about how bad that would have been. Turns out the fire was started by a dozer hitting a rock and sparking grass. The dozers were working yesterday to create a precautionary fire break. Now they’re being followed by water just in case. 🙂 The fire did jump the four line highway into the median in at least two places, one right across from a gas station. As far as I know there was no damage to any houses in the area because of that particular fire. All in all about 2400 acres was scorched in about an hour to an hour and a half. I’m guestamating on that time frame.

Last night people looking at the mountains couldn’t see fire anymore, but it’s not out in the mountains. So no doubt the firefighting effort will continue. Some pre evacuations that started yesterday afternoon just to the south of us were canceled. Things look pretty good right now. It’s a fluid situation, though. I’ve learned nothing if I haven’t learned that. We still have our to go bags packed, etc.

Smacation, Vacation. I’m Back.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Yes, I’m back from vacation. And it was good. Slept in until 8am two days in a row and that was very, very good. Had fizzy drinks, wine, and two slushy coffee drinks with chocolate. Does it get any better than that? While I was there I did no writing. Well, okay, I got a weird idea for a Steampunk novella of all things. But I have work to do on another novel when I get back so I don’t know how soon I may or may not pursue anything Steampunk.

Now, I need motivation. Does anyone have any?

Can’t Stand To Read Another One Syndrome?

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

The Internet is seriously weird today. I’m blaming it on the solar flares this week. That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it. I hope this blog today looks decent because WordPress wouldn’t let me do a preview.

So, here’s my question. Is there a sub genre within romance that you positively can’t read again or at least not for a while because there are just so darned many of them out there in the marketplace? I ask this question about once a year out of pure curiosity.

I’ll admit that military romance/romantic suspense is pretty guaranteed to get my attention and at the very least I’ll read a sample/excerpt to determine if I want to read more. Yet there are numerous other very popular genres in romance that I can’t read to save my life. Not because I believe there is anything wrong or bad about that sub genre. I just don’t have a story idea for that sub genre myself and perhaps it isn’t my cup of tea to read right now.

So what do you think? Is there any such thing as too much of one sub genre?

The Truth About Writing: Sort of

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Once in a while I feel like telling the truth. About writing, that is.

Bottom line. Your writing career is yours. Not the writing organizations you belong to and their ideals. Not the coveted agent you’ve always wanted. Not the publisher you think you want. It’s yours.

There is a right way to write. A right way to have a career. But it isn’t always the straight and narrow way, nor is it necessarily the way an editor or agent tells you it must be done. Not even the way a best selling author says it is done. What I’m about to suggest isn’t the truth for every writer, but I think it is the truth for a lot of people.

I digress. Let me start at the beginning of the beginning.

I heard an agent (not mine) say a few years back that at some point you have to stop writing what you want and start writing what sells. All the hair on the back of my neck went straight up. Horror movie style. Why? This isn’t the truth for everyone.

I think I’ve always known my truth but didn’t recognize it immediately. I’m an oddball. The woman who doesn’t do it the way everyone else does it. But at one time I kept trying for the whole study-the-market thing because that’s the “smart” thing to do right? Doesn’t work for me. And I’ll bet it doesn’t work for a lot of people, but they keep doing it because it’s the “right” way in this business.This isn’t an  indictment of anyone who does things the conventional way. I want writers to find their own path, whether it is truly a conventional path or not.

My best work is always writing novels that excite me. You would think every project would be like that for an author, but it isn’t. Enthusiasm for a project can tank. Especially if it’s a story that is manufactured with the idea of market viability.

It’s a complicated sludge to explain my writing process. I’m not even sure I have an identifiable process. I get my ideas everywhere. Explaining how I get the ideas, why something catches my attention…well, that’s almost impossible. Why? Probably because my writing process is scattered and unorganized to the naked eye. I’m a by-the-seat-of- the-pants-writer. I’ve been approached by writers who do an outline/synopsis first and they’ve told me, “If you just try it, you’ll see how much easier it is to write a book.” Um…I’ve tried it many times over for twenty years before I finally realized not only did it emphatically not work for me, that I should give in to the process that does work for me. The one that makes my creativity sing. There are writing books out there that guarantee if you just do it their way you’ll obtain that coveted publishing contract or at least finish the book or get an agent or editor to pay attention to your work. The truth? Maybe they’re right. And maybe they’re wrong. You can do all the “right” things and never be published.

So what the heck is my process?

I don’t have one. At least not one that is recognizable by most people as a sane process. I don’t outline, but I often write down tidbits. I want to write this book about X and Y and Z and the obsession to write it grows inside me. It cries out to be written. So I dive in before the full idea is present to me. Anything more controlled than that usually means the book won’t get written. Most writers will tell you that if they write a synopsis it doesn’t cripple their creativity because they know they aren’t going to adhere to it, so no biggy. Doesn’t work that way for me. Too much planning, whether a synopsis or anything else that “looks” like a plan to my brain and the whole idea drains away.

I should probably qualify. When I write a historical novel my planning consists of extensive research ahead of time about the time period and setting of the book. Visuals. I may watch documentaries on an event in that time period, or dig around in my trusty resources about fashions of the time.

As I’m researching I’ll write those tidbits, things that I may want to happen in the book. I say “may.” For a lot of those tidbits are left on the cutting room floor and you may never see them in the finished book. I call this reading/researching phase “soaking.” I’m soaking my head in the information, creating pictures in my mind that make it easier for me to dump that realism out on the page when it comes down to it. Finally I stop researching temporarily and start writing. Bang…off I go. All that head soaking seems to help because I’m off to the races, and I’m there in that time and place. Sometimes I have a few characters in mind. The hero and heroine and the bad guy or guys (there always is at least one in my historicals and usually more). Other characters form while I’m writing. They appear on stage and they may become extremely important or they may not.

I am the heroine and I’m experiencing her life. Then, when I’m in the bad guy’s point of view or the hero’s point of view I make certain I’m feeling them as well. Especially the bad guy…a superb bad guy is one that can scare the beejeebers out of anyone reading about him or her. At least that’s my definition of the bad guy. If I never get into the bad guy’s POV, because being in his POV would reveal too much to the reader, I have to give clues along the way that still creep out the reader.

So what am I saying here? I’m saying there is a process for everyone. For you, it may not be the process I’m describing. You my take workshops until you’re blue in the face and your mind is whirling and you’re demoralized. Yep, I’ve known new writers who stopped writing because they don’t know which way is the “right” way and they’re confused because surely if they knew the right way they could get published. Not so. Sure we all need to understand scene/characterization/plot/pacing/yada, yada, yada. But you may know all that and not sell a book.


There’s a backlash to this, but then I think many writers have a backlash regardless of their process. Most writers I know arrive somewhere within their project and hit a wall, or a stumbling block or fear paralyzes them long enough to make them scream, “Why the frig did I write this book? This sucks the big one. This is the worst thing I’ve ever written.” I don’t always feel that violent in my thoughts, but in my historicals I’ll sometimes think, “Oh, my God. This is such a huge project with so many bits and pieces to write about and remember.”

Should I have had an outline to keep track of all those bits? Well, if my brain worked that way, I’m sure the outline would save me. I now recognize that not knowing, not being sure is actually the only way I can create. Knowing everything up front, according to my mind, is boring. Boring means no creativity. No creativity means no story.

So my best advice to you is to trust in your own internal process when it comes to writing and discover what makes your novels work. Do what works for you and feel the satisfaction and the happiness that comes with it.



Finished The Book Celebration

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Woot! It’s true. It is all true. I finished the third book in my paranormal romance trilogy on Friday. Whew. Can I say I’m tired. I wrote three books since October 2010. That isn’t a big deal for some authors, but it was a big deal for me. I wrote my vampire trilogy DEEP IS THE NIGHT that fast several years ago.  Now comes another big step in the process. I’m having the books critiqued and then I have to revise before sending them to an editor or whatever. 🙂 Plus, I need some good titles for the books.

These stories are dark, they’re gritty, and I’d like to think they’re a bit scary. They are definitely romance novels, never fear, but they’re not erotic romance.  In the meantime, I have a new book coming out June 28 called BEFORE THE DAWN. You can preorder your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Samhain Publishing. Stop by the book page here on my website and read an excerpt. Next week I’ll give you a delicious excerpt exclusive to this website.

I’m taking a vacation and not writing for probably a whole week. Then it’s back on the bandwagon!


Guest Blogger: Lisa Marie Rice

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Today my guest blogger is best selling romantic suspense author Lisa Marie Rice. Who doesn’t love alpha heroes? Well, I love me some alpha hero, and Lisa certainly knows how to deliver. Sit back with a cup of java while she tells us about writing on the dark side.


Why write dark romantic suspense?

Well, if you pull out my fingernails with a pair of pliers, and hold a blowtorch to the soles of my feet, I’ll confess why I love writing dark romantic suspense.  Because it’s the only genre where a writer can write in a heartfelt and unironic way about honor, gallantry and courage.

These must take the form of  subliminal messages, of course, because these are untrendy themes. We worship money and careers, are obsessed with externals and our parental feelings are often expressed in terms of maneuvering to make sure our kids get into the right schools and meet the right people. Money, power, status. And, of course, love. Love as status symbol, love as hotness factor, love as two high incomes meshing. Those are the themes of which novels, if not dreams, are made of.

It works for many but not for me. I want knights, even in tarnished armor, I want men and women who are unbending, unyielding, brave and honorable and every single other Boy Scout attribute, plus hot. Because sex is the cauldron in which all those elements of two human beings are put and fused together until they become one.

In short, I want a hero. And I want him slaying those dragons  with the help of his woman.

What is my job as a romance writer? The job description includes providing gripping writing, a strong  a narrative arc and likeable characters, of course. But more than anything else, I must convince you, reader, within the space of about 400 pages, that what my hero and heroine are undergoing represents a bonding experience so strong that they will spend the rest of their lives together. I want there to be no question in your mind as to whether  or not they will be able to overcome the problems life throws at them and still remain a couple, none.

He walked through fire for her.  The suspense subplot is an exciting way of depicting the difficulties of life. A symbol of them, if you will. The danger subplot tests them both and finds them both strong and courageous and honorable. You know they are going to make it and that they will stay together forever.

I also love that moment in my books when both realize, while the bullets are whizzing around their heads and the bad guy seems to be winning, that they are no longer alone. They are facing this together and, together, they will prevail.

In my latest trilogy, The Protectors, for example, you will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Sam and Nicole (INTO THE CROSSFIRE), Harry and Ellen (HOTTER THAN WILDFIRE) and Mike and Chloe (NIGHTFIRE, February 2012) will be together to the end of their days.

It makes all that hard work worthwhile.


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