Archive for March, 2012

Did you know I wrote three vampire novels ten years ago?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Yepper, that’s right. My first vampire romance was published in 2002. Ten years! Can you believe it? Anyway, today I thought I’d celebrate. When I created the Deep Is The Night trilogy I didn’t have another idea for a series featuring vampires. I did write one novella which has a vampire hero. But after that the inspiration never moved me to write another. For those of you who haven’t read my vampire trilogy, I invite you to check them out. These aren’t the vampires you’ve read about before. And they can do things many other vampires can’t. 🙂 Enjoy an excerpt from Deep Is The Night: Dark Fire. Beware, a bit of spicy language ahead.

The DEEP IS THE NIGHT Series by Denise A. Agnew
DARK FIRE
NIGHT WATCH
HAUNTED SOULS

Three suspense filled novels of spine-tingling romance, sex, and danger.
Some towns are quaint…
Some towns are old…
Pine Forest is quaint, old, and the most haunted place on earth. But now more than ghosts prowl the night. Someone or something is attacking women and draining their blood. Three sexy, special couples will encounter dark, dangerous love and discover that sometimes there are more things in heaven and earth….

Dark Fire
Whispers, secrets, and tales of ghosts abound in Pine Forest, but new librarian Erin Greenway doesn’t believe in goblins. Yet the Victorian monstrosity she works in creaks and groans and speaks of horrible secrets she cannot deny. When Scot Lachlan Tavish claims to be chasing a thousand year old vampire, his dark, dangerous looks make her wonder if he’s the hunter…or the hunted.


And now, an excerpt from DARK FIRE.

“In the still of the night….”

Erin Greenway sang the last notes of the song as she pulled her Subaru Forester into the library parking lot. She surveyed the misty October evening and the empty area.
Empty.

No sign of Gilda’s red Jag. Lights shown from the bottom floor windows and one solitary light illuminated a window on the second floor, so Gilda must be here. Erin glanced at the clock on the dash and the digital readout showed five thirty.

She glanced out the windshield at the tall, imposing building. Tendrils of fog drifted over the face of the Gothic Revival house now used as the public library. Soon the moon’s silver illumination would give way to inky blackness and the old structure would look sinister.

Three stories of one hundred year-old stone bristling with old west history.

It sounded appealing on the local tourist brochure, but at night the structure became an eerie presence that made even Erin’s steel nerves prickle with apprehension.
She shivered, grateful for her fleece hat pulled down over her ears, long coat, and thick mittens. At a frosty nine thousand feet altitude, the mountain town suffered under winter weather on a regular basis. A snowstorm should be here in another day or two and then she’d struggle through flurries. For now, though, the town appeared appropriately scary for the time of the year.

Clicking off the oldies radio station, and then shutting off the ignition, she stared at the library. Her best friend, Elaine Panzer, grew up in Pine Forest, Colorado and warned Erin before she left Arizona that the town held an unusual sway over unsuspecting residents. Elaine claimed Pine Forest was chalk-full-o’-specters. Erin figured she could blame Elaine’s ghost tales for making her feel as jumpy as a frog in a frying pan. Yet even if Elaine didn’t talk about ghostly phenomena three fourths of the time, Erin would have heard about them from the rest of the people living here. Everyone in town believed in ghosts, or so it seemed.

Yeah. Right. Ghosts and goblins don’t exist. A whole town couldn’t be rife with bogie men.

“Pfft!” Erin reached for her tote bag and unlocked the door. “As grandma would say…hogwash.”

As she stepped into the night, the icy evening wrapped around her and she smiled. She could almost sense Halloween coming. The kids would love the spooky story time kickoff tonight. She hoped Gilda started on the decorations earlier in the day.

Just as she headed down the sidewalk, she heard the rustling in the bushes toward the back of the parking lot. Something big and heavy. Erin stopped, all her senses on alert. She sniffed. A musty, intrusive smell filled the air. Yesterday’s headlines in the Pine Forest Sentinel sprang into her mind.

Young Woman Attacked In Park.

Person or persons unknown had assailed a young woman jogging at four in the morning in a secluded park and had bitten her on the neck.

The woman survived, but she now owned the biggest hickey this side of Texas.

While the article disturbed Erin, she believed the woman should have used common sense. Jogging alone at four in the morning before light touched the horizon didn’t seem prudent to Erin.

She heard the sound again, this time closer. The huge Ponderosa pines hovering near the library rustled, their needles moved by a soft wind. Everything within her came to attention, captured in an inertia that wouldn’t allow her to twitch a muscle. Fear, primal and stark, slid through her like a serpent’s touch. Utter dread, the kind that makes humans afraid of the dark, made her body tense. Her heart picked up a pounding pace. Suddenly Halloween loomed out of the darkness like a monster, ready to swallow her with one enormous gulp.

A whisper touched her ears, shadowy and hot.

Want me. Need me. Erin.

A wave of dizziness filled her body and made her stagger. She put one hand out and found no support. As her vision started to go dark she wavered, her knees threatening total collapse. Her temples started to throb.

A picture formed, immediate and lucid. A bed, draped with blood-red satin sheets. A man lay in the center of the bed, his arms tied to the bedposts and his legs spread wide. Incredible musculature graced his tall, strong body. Her mouth opened in awe as she scanned from his tumble of black hair, over his angel-of- darkness face, past a hairy and muscled chest. A stomach hard with strength next caught her gaze. She licked her lips and felt warmth intrude in her gut. Drawn exorability downward, her attention landed on his hips. His erection thrust upward, bold and without shame. Hard, long, and ready to service.

A new voice, deeper and tinged with heated seduction, filled her mind. A voice heavy with desperation. Erin. Don’t listen to the darkness.

She snapped out of the visualization with a jolt.

Nausea filled her center and her vision blurred again. “What’s happening?”

With both hands she reached out, her sense of reality boggled by this weird event. As her sight cleared she glanced around at the menacing night. Nothing moved, not even the wind. All around her the silent neighborhood seemed unearthly quiet. Tall trees lined the wide avenue. Their pine needles seemed to whisper messages even though there was no breeze to speak. Darkness pressed close like a mantle, a blanket of evil she’d never experienced before. Shivers rippled through her body as she scanned the illuminated windows of houses across the street. A little piece of evidence that something lived gave her some comfort.

Why had she seen a naked man in her mind’s eye? She’d never experienced a vision much less an intuition about anything in her life. At least she didn’t think so. Sure, she’d fantasized about a handsome, well-hung lover on cold nights when it felt like she’d never have a date again. She even recalled inventing a scenario one night about a man with dark hair and haunting eyes. But imagination wasn’t reality, and she doubted a man that devastatingly attractive would be interested in her anyway.

She put both hands to her cheeks and felt heat blazing under the skin.

I am going insane.

Once again the menacing voice spoke, as much in her mind as on the air. You are mine, Erin. There is no escape.

Fright jumped on the bandwagon as she stood in shocked silence. She shivered as new apprehension rolled up her spine in a wave. Move, Erin. Move! Now! Now! Now!
She didn’t question instinct. She broke into a run and covered the few yards of concrete in swift strides. Erin hadn’t won races in high school and college for nothing. She might be short, but her legs didn’t care.

She scrambled up the few steps and reached for the right doorknob on the huge mahogany double doors. She twisted the knob. Nothing.

Erin heard the ruffling of the wind behind her like a voice. A whisper that called to her in strange tongues. Whirling, she peered across the street again to the other quiet old homes. She didn’t see anything or anyone, but the urge to get inside the building came at her like a relentless chant.

Erin. Erin. Get inside the building. Now. The inky voice, rumbling and exotic with Scottish accent, overran the earlier voice that told her she couldn’t escape. Two voices taunted her in the night, and if a psychiatrist had been there right now, they would have declared her insane on the spot.
**
Hope you enjoyed that tiny tidbit of Dark Fire. You can find Dark Fire and the rest of the trilogy (paperback and ebook) at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other outlets.

Excerpt & Contest: J.L. Saint’s Tactical Deception

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Everyone please welcome author J.L. Saint! She’s stopping by to talk about writing, and if you comment you could win a copy one of the first two books in her military romance series!

Heart and Soul

Lately I have been watching The Voice and American Idol (which I didn’t discover until last year for the first time because I spent all of my spare time writing before then). I have heard so many amazing singers that having to choose one over the other as being better sometimes is impossible because I want them both to win. LOL. There is one bit of advice I keep hearing the judges and coaches say to the contestants that I’m beginning to see as an essential key to a singer’s success and that is heart and soul. When a singer puts their heart and soul into their song they strike an emotional cord within the listener that makes the listener “FEEL” the song. We love songs that make us FEEL the music and FEEL the words. The same holds true for why I enjoy or don’t enjoy a story. It all boils down to if the author made me FEEL the story, FEEL the characters, their conflicts, and their emotions. I want my heart to pound with the danger, my senses to tingle for the pleasure, my lips to curve with amusement, and my mind to scramble for the clues. As a writer, I strive to make my readers “FEEL” the story, be it a historical, paranormal, or contemporary. Be it a sexy romp or a toe curling suspense. With my Silent Warrior Series, Collateral Damage and Tactical Deception, I wanted readers to feel the hearts of the heroes as I delved into some of the issues many of our real heroes within the service face. Amid a fast-paced plot, I wanted to explore a world that’s just a step away from the world we do live in today and show just how extremism can destroy. One of the themes of Tactical Deception is captured well by a quote from Erich Fromm, “…the ultimate choice for a man, inasmuch as he is driven to transcend himself, is to create or to destroy, to love or to hate.” I hope that those of you who take a chance on reading Tactical Deception will “FEEL” the story as much as I poured my heart and soul into writing it.

Happy Reading

JL Saint, aka Jennifer St. Giles, aka Jennifer Saints!
* *
Excerpt: Tactical Deception

Before the guilt of Neil’s death could get another strangling hold on him, Roger marched to his bedroom door. He couldn’t effectively take care of Mari if she hid herself from him. Something had to change. He knocked on the door.

No answer.

He knocked harder.

Still no answer. Worried now, he opened the door. “Mari?”

Light from the bathroom highlighted her figure at the window. She stood minus her abaya and hijab—her black gown and headscarf. She wore a long tunic over slim pants, a vision of cream-colored silk and ebony hair that fell well below her waist. Gold leaves embroidered the collar, sleeves and hems of her outfit. The effect was delicate, exotic, almost ethereal. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she had her hands pressed to her abdomen, to the child growing within her.

“Are you hurting? Is it the baby? Do you need to go to the hospital?”

“No. The baby is fine. No pain.”

Relief had his blood rushing with dizzying force, leaving him almost light-headed and his chest tightened into a knot. Emotion, pain and desire, sucker punched him in the gut and below. What kind of low-bellied dick was he?

The lowest, he decided. He couldn’t stop his heated arousal in response to her beauty, but he damn well could ignore it and remember with every shred of decency he had in him that if it wasn’t for him, Neil would be with Mari right now and none of the shit that had happened to her lately would have occurred.

She stood frozen a moment then turned, reaching for her black gown.

“Don’t. Please don’t hide from me.” His voice escaped in a harsh rasp.

She paused, looking at him, her hand resting on her heavy gown. Her golden eyes were wide with…fear?

He covered the distance between them.

“Are you afraid of me?” Their gazes met and she lowered hers.

He knew before he slid his thumb under her chin how soft her skin was. Just weeks ago, he’d lost his restraint and kissed her tear-dampened cheeks after Dugar had taken a shot at her outside the hospital. That night he’d held her bandaged hand as she’d restlessly slept between nightmares. And until helping her up from the street today, it was the last time he’d touched her.

He clasped her hand resting on her gown and brought it to his chest, placing her palm firmly over his racing heart. Her gaze reconnected with his and he asked her again.
“Are you afraid of me?”

“No,” she whispered before shutting her eyes and pulling her hand away.

She said no, but he swore he saw fear swirling in her conflicted expression.

“Why then? Why didn’t you tell me how bad things were for you? I could have helped or gotten you help. And why didn’t you tell me about the shooting lessons? I would have arranged for them. Made sure you were safe.”

“You would have?” She blinked at him with surprise. “But you were adamant about me not leaving the post for any reason. Not even to go with Holly to the store in Fayetteville.”

“Going to a shoe sale in a crowded mall is different than going to a gun range. Besides, learning to protect yourself is more important than buying shoes.” Roger raked his fingers through his hair. He remembered the conversation they’d had a few weeks back. And yeah, he’d been pretty strong in his objections about them going to the mall. But then, someone had been calling in bomb threats at that time too. It had been three weeks after Dugar’s attempts to kill her and Roger would have bet money Dugar was behind the threats. He hadn’t told Mari about any of it though. He hadn’t wanted her to worry. Only to heal.

She frowned at him as if he’d grown horns. “What?” he asked. Had he said something wrong?

“So what does that mean? I am not supposed to do something, but if it’s something you approve of then it is all right to do it?”

Hell. She made him sound as if he were a bipolar prison guard. He counted to ten, hoping to ease his frustration, but it didn’t work. “No. Well, sometimes, maybe, yes. I mean—” Tension knotted his brow. What did he mean? Couldn’t she see the difference between the two outings? “We can discuss the details later. I just need to know why you couldn’t tell me about the anxiety you’re having and that you wanted to learn self-defense.”

“I didn’t want you to worry.”

Roger opened his mouth then shut it. He’d kept things from her for the same reason, but this was different. She’d put herself in both physical and mental jeopardy. Then again, hadn’t he set himself as her prison guard as opposed to a bodyguard? Had he done anything personal to put her at ease enough to be able to share her anxiety with him? No, he’d let his guilt and his need to avoid his attraction to her keep her at a cold, formal distance.

He had to change. “You can’t do that anymore. From now on, no matter what you want to do, just tell me and whether I like it or not, I will help you do it, okay? It is the only way I can assure your safety.”

“That’s it? If I want to go buy shoes then you’ll take me?”

He exhaled. “Yes. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to voice my opinion on whether it’s a smart thing to do or not. And if I really think something is too dangerous then I expect you to respect my serious concerns. This isn’t a forever state of affairs. It’s just until Dugar is caught, then you’ll be your own woman, okay?”

Her own woman? Did she even know who she was? Mari looked up at Roger, her heart racing so fast she could barely think. A few moments ago, she’d been staring out at the purple-red sunset, wondering how she could face Roger. She’d done exactly what he’d told her not to do and it had turned out so badly. She’d been sickened over how miserably she’d failed in establishing any shred of independence. Her worst fears about herself had come true. She’d had a total panicked meltdown. She’d been thrust back into the darkness of what had happened in Afghanistan. She’d hit the bottom and was surprised that she’d survived it all. Her pride was bruised, but she was okay.

Now she was not only facing Roger but…she stood alone with him, in his bedroom, wearing only her tunic and pants and she wasn’t embarrassed or shamed. She wanted this familiarity between them.

He wasn’t as mad as she thought he would be either.

It wasn’t as if her choosing to leave the post didn’t matter. She could see that he was clearly upset and worried about her. But it wasn’t how she’d thought it would be. Her father would have—

Roger wasn’t her father. Never would be. But he wasn’t the easygoing teddy bear Neil had been either. In some ways Roger was like a fierce warrior. Dangerous and remote. She’d seen the deadly anger in his eyes when it came to Dugar. She had no doubt that Roger would kill Dugar with his bare hands if he had to. She’d also seen a haunted darkness in him too. Roger had deep secrets that she instinctively knew he’d never let another person near.

Neil had been different. There wasn’t a part of him he didn’t openly share with her. It wasn’t that he didn’t keep information from her. There were things about his job he couldn’t tell her and things she would never ask him. But his soul and heart had wrapped warmly around her as accepting and loving as a puppy. He’d never said anything to curtail what she did, but then, she’d never ventured beyond the strictures of her upbringing. It was two years before he could talk her into going to the store alone.
It wasn’t until she met Holly that Mari started thinking about doing things outside of the rules, about getting an education, a job, learning to shoot a gun, and yes, one of those things was standing without her abaya before a man who wasn’t her husband, her brother or her father. A man who said she could be her own woman? What did that mean?

“Okay?” Roger angled his head to look into her eyes as he set his hands on her shoulders.

She nodded. Her tongue was tied in the gratefulness clogging her throat and in the fire burning through her senses at his heated touch. He’d made this whole big problem and the fiasco of the day all so simple. So easy to let go of and move forward. At least she thought he had. Currently her mind reeled, making coherent thought debatable. His nearness and intensity had her blood racing places her mind couldn’t go yet.

He released her and stepped back. “Hungry?”

“Yes.” She drew in a much-needed breath of air. She thought about grabbing her abaya and putting it on now. Considering the way he made her feel, it would be safer.
“What do you want to eat for dinner?” He started walking out of the bedroom, but his gaze fell on the rumpled bed and she cringed. It looked as if a tornado had struck it, she’d tossed and turned so much.

She rushed over to straighten the bedcovers. “Whatever you want will be fine.”

She didn’t dare look at him. What he must think. He’d loaned her his bed and she couldn’t even leave it neat. Leaning forward with her knees against the mattress, she fixed the blanket and threw the pillows back up to the headboard. She stood back quickly and hit a hard, hot body—an unmistakably aroused, hard, hot, male body. His arm wrapped around her when she teetered with surprise and a visceral shock wave of want hit her hard.
**
Comment on the blog today and you may win a copy of Collateral Damage or Tactical Deception, your choice.

Guest Blogger: Debra Mullins

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Happy Monday everyone. I’m delighted to present my guest blogger today, multi-published Debra Mullins. Debra is chatting with us today about why she writes in different genres. Take it away Debra!

Paranormal and Historical: Why I Write Both
By Debra Mullins

For the past fourteen years, I have been writing historical romances. It all started because of my love of the old swashbuckler movies starring Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power. I used to watch those movies with my dad on Sunday afternoons, and I loved being transported to a different world where my own problems didn’t exist.

I also used to watch Star Trek with Dad. We were a big science fiction family, and I’m still a fan to this day, though my taste wavers between science fiction and paranormal. If you were to look at my DVD shelf, you would see Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, all the Star Trek movies, Highlander (series and movies), The Fifth Element, Star Wars…well, you get the picture. However, right next to those DVDs are others like Sense and Sensibility, Errol Flynn adventures like Robin Hood and Captain Blood, The Mark of Zorro starring Tyrone Power and a bunch of John Wayne Westerns. My DVR is set to record both Downton Abbey and Fringe.

I bet you’re seeing a pattern here and are wondering why I can’t make up my mind. What do both historical and science fiction/paranormal have in common? What’s the connection, and why do I flip flop back and forth?

World building. And that’s what I love about both these genres. There are rules in the Regency time period, and there are rules in my paranormal world. The rules of Society must be followed in the year 1813…though some of the fun is when the characters break those rules. And the rules of the physical world of paranormal ability must be followed…except when there is an exception. (Anakin Skywalker, anyone?)

When you read a historical romance, you are sucked into a different world with different fashions, different politics and different social customs. The same is true for paranormal. The world you enter when you open the book is one with possibilities that don’t exist in our world. Maybe the hero has super powers. Maybe the heroine is a ghost. Maybe the entire story takes place in a different galaxy. With historicals, the fun is in playing dress-up in the past. With paranormal, the fun is in the infinite potential of impossible that the writer can bring to life.

I’ve been wanting to branch out into paranormal for a long time now, way before the current craze began, but the time wasn’t right. Recently, however, I was able to make my paranormal dreams come true with the Atlantis series I am writing for Tor Paranormal Romance. This trilogy is about the descendents of the survivors of Atlantis, all who have different types of psychic abilities. There are three ancient stones of power being sought by divided factions of the old Atlantean society in a race for ultimate world domination.

At the same time, I am working on a Regency historical novella, and three of my backlist historicals are being re-released in digital format from Samhain Publishing. I have Once A Mistress (a pirate adventure that was released this past December), Donovan’s Bed (a Western released in February 2012) and The Lawman’s Surrender (a Western due out in April 2012). See? Even in the historical world I like to change it up!

I’m really having fun switching back and forth between the two subgenres, and I’m hoping my readers enjoy the ride.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Howdy all! I wanted to say have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! And if you have a hankering for an Irish hero, my historical romance LOVE FROM THE ASHES is free for a short time at Amazon. Love From The Ashes is set during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. It features an Irish hero and a heroine involved with the suffragette movement. Hope you’ll stop by an pick it up! Get it here!

Guest Blogger: Nancy Cohen

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Hey all! My guest today is author Nancy J. Cohen. Nancy is an award-winning author who writes romance and mysteries. Her popular Bad Hair Day series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, while Nancy’s imaginative sci-fi romances have garnered rave reviews. Her latest book, and tenth in her mystery series, is Shear Murder from Five Star. Coming next is Warrior Prince, book one in her new paranormal series from The Wild Rose Press. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. Be sure to read all the way to the end and comment because you’ll be entered in a drawing!

Writing in Different Genres by Nancy J. Cohen

It can be refreshing to write in two genres. Just when you may be getting tired of writing one type of story, you can switch gears. You can bring in a new audience and increase your readership by doing cross-genre promotion. But maintaining two identities this way may also present you with its own set of problems.

Why Switch?

Industry personnel talk about author branding and how you should write the same type of story to build your brand. In an ideal world, that may be so. But this isn’t always possible.

I started my career writing futuristic romance, a blend of sci-fi and romance. After I wrote four books in this genre, the market took a dive. The publisher turned down my option book. What was I to do? Have you heard the mantra: Reinvent Yourself? At this juncture in my career, I switched to mysteries. Why? My romances already had a mystery in the story and I enjoyed plotting them so much that I decided to try a straight mystery series.

Marla Shore, my protagonist, is a hairdresser who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. I loved writing about her capers for a total of nine books in my Bad Hair Day mystery series. But then, guess what? Halfway through writing book number ten, the cozy market tanked and the publisher turned down my option book. Oh, dear. Now what to do?

I wrote one new mystery series proposal, hoping to stay in the field. But I really missed writing my futuristic romances and that first option book called at me to write it. The characters haunted me. At last, I had the time to write the “book of my heart.” And so I did. The Wild Rose Press bought Silver Serenade and thus I re-launched my romance writing career.

However, my mystery fans demanded the next Marla Shore story. By now, ebooks were rising in popularity and small press filled in the print publishing gap. While no NY publisher would touch an ongoing series begun elsewhere, these smaller houses might be interested. If not, I’d find another way to bring Marla’s final story to my fans. I finished the book, bringing closure to the series in case this was the last tale. Again, fortune smiled upon me. Five Star bought Shear Murder, and now there’s a home for my Bad Hair Day series again should I want to continue Marla’s adventures.

I should add that while waiting to hear on the above books, I wrote four more. One was another mystery series idea, and three were books in a new paranormal romance series. The Wild Rose Press bought the latter, and once again, I am leaping into a new project. Warrior Prince will begin the Drift Lords series, based on Norse mythology. This is something very different for me as it takes place in modern times but includes fantasy elements. Think Thor meets Lord of the Rings. I had a fabulous time writing these stories but it’s also good to get back to Marla’s grounded reality and plot a new mystery.

What are the pros of writing in two genres?

• You can do cross-genre promotion to attract new readers.
• The different types of stories keep your writing fresh. You won’t get burned out doing the same thing over and over.
• You can indulge yourself and write the stories you love. I like writing adventure, and I can let my imagination soar in my otherworldly romance novels. For the mysteries, I am methodical in my plotting, logical in determining suspects and motives. I enjoy creating the puzzle as much as the reader enjoys unraveling it.

What are the cons?

• You may need to reach two different audiences in your promotion. Thus, I have separate lists for mystery and romance reviewers and bloggers. I belong to separate listserves. I attend different conferences for each genre. This can be costly and time consuming. Even if you’re just doing different subgenres, the readership may differ.
• You need to be more productive to keep your new releases coming on a steady basis.
• Deadlines can overlap with two different publishers, and with editing/galleys. Writing in two genres means double the work.
• It can be expensive if you create separate bookmarks and flyers for each genre.
• You can dilute your brand in one genre by writing in another.
• You’ll have to decide how to reveal your dual identities: Split your website into different sections, or have two separate websites and domain names altogether?

Basically, if you are getting restless writing one kind of story and yearn to stretch your wings, take a break from the routine and write that book of your heart. It may start you on a new path entirely. You won’t know until you try it. Yes, it’s more work, but your muse will thank you.

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Shear Murder: A Bad Hair Day Mystery
A wedding turns deadly when hairstylist Marla Shore discovers a dead body under the cake table.
Watch the Book Trailer
Buy Now!

Silver Serenade: A Sexy Sci-Fi Romance
A beautiful assassin and a desperate fugitive join forces to catch a terrorist and prevent an intergalactic war.
Watch The Trailer
Buy Now!

Coming Next: Warrior Prince, book #1 in the Drift Lords series.

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Commenters on this blog will be entered into a drawing for an ebook copy of Nancy’s sci-fi romance, Keeper of the Rings.

Review: Tactical Deceptions by J.L. Saint

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

I like military romance novels, but in my estimation there are some that deserve extra special mention. Two years back I read J.L. Saint’s first book in the Silent Warrior series, Collateral Damage, and I loved it. I couldn’t wait to review the second book when it came out.

Tactical Deception has everything a romance reader who enjoys military romance novels will love. Fantastic characterization, high-sexual tension, action, adventure, suspense, and hot love scenes. J.L. obviously put a lot of work into creating a novel that fulfills all those wishes. The main hero and heroine are full, living, breathing characters with faults and strengths. I’ll admit that perfect characters without faults don’t do much for me. I want to see the hero and heroine wrestle with their very human emotions. I loved the way they survived the trials they went through, including some seriously deadly enemies. Along with that are other characters that were introduced in the first book with their own romance threads. I’m looking forward to another book in this series! Kudos to J.L. for proving that fully-realized characterization and excellent plot and conflict can be combined in one novel.

Sometime this week J.L. will be by my blog to say hello and will do a giveaway. So be sure to keep your eye on this blog! I would have had a cover for you today (and God the cover is awesome), but had technical issues. Be sure to head over to Samhain Publishing to read an excerpt.

Twitter Commandments For Authors

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

Hey there everyone. Been a weird few days. My stomach has been giving me fits off and on since Friday, so I’ve picked up a weird bug. Glory! 🙂

This week I’m having some guest posts from authors, and I’m looking forward to sharing those with you.

Second to that, I promised on Twitter that I’d write up some articles on writing that are unusual. It might be a while before I get to those, but in the meantime I thought of some commandments for writers. I qualify this by saying this is my opinion only. If you don’t agree, that’s completely fine. I’m posting these to give any potential writers or current writers something to think about. If it gives you pause, good. These commandments might be in line with your philosophy, too.

Commandment One
Keep the slamming, flaming, and complaining to a dull roar.

We all like to express opinions on Twitter and Facebook. I do on occasion. But more than 99.9% of the time I try to keep those opinions to the less inflammatory. I’m not sure how much readers enjoy hearing people who snark all the time. I know many authors who spend most of their time complaining on Twitter or Facebook lose me as a reader. But, if you see complaining as a part of your personality and you believe it is the right attitude to have…go for it. I’m not stopping you. 🙂

Commandment Two
Socialize at least as much or more than you sell your product.

Socialize with people, chat with them and make connections. If you’re always trying to sell someone your book or your product, I can pretty much guarantee you a lot of people aren’t going to buy it out of sheer annoyance.

Commandment Three
Be authentic.

Drafting a persona that doesn’t really fit you in order to sound hip and with it…well, you could do that. But isn’t it better to let the real you shine? Why would you want to sound like anyone else?

Commandment Four
And last but not least…

Direct message someone with a sales pitch and many people will block you or refuse to buy what you’re selling. I will.

That’s enough from me today! Everyone have a fantastic day

Excerpt: Maneater

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Good Monday everyone! Today I’m introducing you to Maneater. Maneater is the first story in my Special Investigations Agency series at Ellora’s Cave. It’s an oldie but a goodie, and for the first time it is going to be free! March 12 to 25 you’ll be able to get it for free (ebook only) at various outlets. So to tempt you, I’m publishing two excerpts this week. This novella is contemporary paranormal/suspense/sci-fi with a dash of tongue-in-cheek humor. Warning…spicy language ahead.
**

They left the wreck and trudged up the road. Wind rustled pine needles and created a backdrop to the winter wonderland. As her breath puffed out in front of her, a frosty tribute to winter, she matched his brisk pace. She’d be damned if later on he said she couldn’t keep up. Besides, she enjoyed physical challenges that kept her in tiptop condition.

For about a mile they stayed mum and conserved energy as wind whistled and blew snow into their eyes.
Destiny decided to broach a question spinning around in her mind for several minutes. “I’m guessing the Hummer was from the lab. I wonder why they didn’t stop and help?”

Mac shrugged, all but his eyes, nose, and mouth obscured by parka hood and knitted face mask. “If something weird is going on up there, like a serial killer, maybe the rest of the lab occupants decided it was time to cut and run.”

“Did you see how many people were in the vehicle before it ran us off the road?”

“One, I think. I was pretty busy trying to keep us from plunging into the sweet by and by.”

Again they lapsed into silence. As dry snow made a fluffy white carpet beneath her feet, she wrestled with unexpected feelings. She didn’t like this rising sense of admiration she felt for Mac. No, that wouldn’t do at all.

“I don’t suppose a rousing rendition of song would be appreciated?” she asked.

“Why? Can you sing?”

“Not worth crap.”

He chuckled. “That’s what I like. A woman who doesn’t give a rat’s butt what anyone thinks. I think you’re up for the world championship title.”

“Is that what you really think? That I’m just a big-mouthed ass?”

His glance zipped from her head to her butt and held there. “Well, your butt is world class, and your mouth is warm and—”

“Stuff it, Mac. That’s not what I meant and you know it. Don’t try to get out of answering the question.”

“Okay, okay. Yes, I think you can be pushier than you need to. I hear people making comments, especially men who don’t always want to be around you because you’re almost too assertive.”

She absorbed the words and tried not to react. It didn’t work. “Too assertive how?”

“Men rarely hit on you right?”

How did he know that?

“Not lately, but they used to when I first joined the Agency.”

“Why do you suppose that is?”

“Because I kick male chauvinist ass and they don’t like it?”

“Partially. But there’s more to it. Many men want a woman who can stand up for herself, but not one with a cast-iron bitch façade plastered on their face three hundred and sixty-five days a year. You never let up. It’s always work, work, work and no relationships allowed to form.”

Shocked to the core by the brusqueness of his evaluation, she almost struck back with a snappy comment. Instead, she stewed.

He spoke before she could. “This isn’t just a case of some men saying that if you’re assertive you are a bitch. Those men aren’t worth your time, Tremayne. They aren’t looking for the real woman inside. But what about the men who would love to get to know you, but they can’t make it past the message in your eyes that says ‘don’t bother’?”

Destiny let the silence stretch as she absorbed what he’d said. “So you’ve been gossiping about me?”
“No, but I hear rumors just the same. And I overheard two guys last week in the gym talking about wanting to get up your skirt.”

“Ha!”

“I’m not saying you should let those two particular guys get up your shirt.”

“Who are they?”

“Uh…”

“Right, right. Sure. You’re making up this crap, Mac.”

“I am not.”

“You are, too.”

“Bullshit, Tremayne.”

“Exactly.”

He veered towards her and stopped in front of Destiny.

“What are you doing?” she asked. “We haven’t got all day to get to the complex.”

“Not until we have this out. Right now. I heard those two Neanderthals say that about you and it sickened me. Not because I thought it was disgusting they wanted you, but because they would talk about you like a piece of meat right there where everyone else could hear them. That’s what pissed me off. And because…”

“Yes?”

He shook his head and surveyed the forest surrounding them. “Because they’re cowards with no balls. They wouldn’t know a good woman if she sat on their face.”

“And you’re not that kind of man?”

Anger tightened his mouth. “I’m no coward.”

“Of course you’re not.” She spoke hastily, worried their partnership could be shot to hell if she didn’t explain. “You’re a great agent, Mac.” She smiled a little. “Even if you are a Grade-A pain on some days.”

Mac seemed to relax, and although the face mask obscured his expression a little, she could see the softening in his eyes. “You just need to ease up a little so a man can get through. You might be missing out.”

“I’m not giving up who I am to assure some man might want to date me.”

“What I’m saying is you shouldn’t be surprised by men’s reactions when you come on like queen bitch of the universe.”

“Queen bitch—I ought to—you—”

“Spit it out, Tremayne.” He turned away and started walking.

“Who are you to give me advice?”

“A fellow agent who would like to be your friend, if you’d let me.”

Within her an echo rang. He wanted to be her friend?

Part of what he said made sense. Other than Mac, she couldn’t recall the last time a man attempted to strike up a conversation that showed he wanted to know her either mentally or physically.

As she followed along beside him, she glanced at Mac through the blowing snow. “Why do you want to be my friend?”

“Because you’re extremely intelligent, a crack agent, and tough.”

She snuffled a laugh. “Sounds like a resume for a guard dog.”

He shifted the big pack with a shrug of his shoulders. “You have some of those qualities, too.”

“Wonderful. Now you’re calling me a mutt,” she said in half seriousness.

“No way, Tremayne. You’re a babe.”

Heat filled her face at his blunt compliment.

“You’re a gorgeous woman who drives me beyond crazy,” he said. “I want to strangle you sometimes as much as I want to fuck you.”

To her mortification, a shocked gasp slipped out of her mouth. “Mac!”

He laughed. “Come on, if you don’t know I want to get inside of you by now—”

“All right, I get the picture.”

Her entire body reacted to his no-holds-barred statements. Warmth spread into her abdomen and down to the sensitive folds between her legs. Her breathing quickened and her heart followed the pace.

Whether Destiny liked it or not, his admission turned her on, and the power it gave her added to the aphrodisiac. She wanted to challenge him, to play a game to prove she didn’t want him.

“We’ve already crossed a line, Mac. If Quinton found out anything was going on between us…” She faded out, afraid to say it.

“At least you’re admitting there’s something between us. And it’s pretty damn powerful.”

Overwhelmed by confusion, she didn’t know how to respond and didn’t wish to confess. Instead she went silent.