Archive for April, 2012

Hot New Cover: Daryk Warrior

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Finally, finally the last story in my Daryk World series will be out this year with Ellora’s Cave. My bad. It took me forever to write it because I was writing other books in between. These days I’m trying to make sure that if I have a trilogy or series that I write the whole thing before starting on other projects. So here is the unofficial blurb (may be changed) and the official cover! Now tell me if the dude on the cover doesn’t remind you of actor Taylor Kitsch in John Carter? That was the first thing I thought. 🙂 Enjoy!

Magonian Scribe and healer Mia Griffi’s only hope for survival rests on escape and finding a special healer who can cure her. She stows away on a ship, and when a horrific storm wrecks the vessel and she is tossed into deadly waters, Eryk Gauth’s arms are the only ones there to save her.

Uncertain about trusting the pretty and fearful Scribe, Daryk One Eryk Gauth follows his brother warriors in a plan to save Magonian women from slavery. Mia touches something in his scarred heart, and challenges all his misconceptions about healers. When rogue Daryk Ones pursue Mia, Eryk vows to protect her with his life and therefore save her and his people from extinction.

Guest Author: Anna Jacobs

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

A big welcome to author Anna Jacobs. I’ve had the pleasure of being in Novelists, Inc. with her for quite some time. Today Anna talks about why she writes in different genres. Take it away Anna!
* *

I write in several different genres because I enjoy the variety and it keeps my imagination stimulated. I think people work better when it’s something they like doing. I produce 3-4 novels a year, working for three UK publishers, so I need to keep on the ball.

I started off writing historical romance, because I love Georgette Heyer’s books. When she died, I tried to write a story like hers. It took me a few years to get published, during which I found my own style and wrote several books. Then I won a competition and got a regency romance published.

Among the other books I’d written was a saga UK style ie poor woman battling the odds, finding love and happiness. There is a bit more to them, eg meticulous historical research, strong UK regional flavour, but that’s the basics. When ‘Salem Street’ was accepted, the publisher wanted more sagas, not historical romances, so I was left with several unsold manuscripts, which I stored for future use.

I’m still writing sagas for that publisher, but I’m now setting them mainly in Australia – stopping off in various other countries en route from the UK to Australia. So even within a genre, I’ve moved sideways. I always was fidgety.

As an example of where I’m at now, my series about the Traders is set in Western Australia, Singapore, Suez, Ireland and Sri Lanka in the late 1860s. No 2 ‘The Trader’s Sister’ has been published this month (April 2012). What fun I’ve had researching the background!

While I was first trying to get published in the 90s, I also wrote a classic fantasy novel with paranormal elements, unusual then in having strong female characters. Soon after I my first saga was accepted, I also sold my first fantasy novel to a different publisher. So I was writing in two genres and under two names. Shannah Jay writes fantasy and Anna Jacobs writes all the rest. I even had one fantasy novel shortlisted for Best Australian Fantasy of 1996. They’ve recently been reissued as ebooks.

But . . . my sagas took off and were earning much more money, so I settled into writing them and reluctantly left the fantasy genre. After a while I got restless writing only one sort of tale, and had a fancy to try a modern novel, just for my own pleasure. It took two years, because it was different, and I learned a lot from writing it. OK, I admit it, that’s not people’s usual idea of fun, but I enjoyed it immensely.

In the meantime my early historical romances had been accepted by yet another publisher, and I wrote a couple more for them. They’re out of print now, but are selling very nicely as ebooks, especially a gothic tale called ‘Mistress of Marymoor’ set on the moor of northern England in the mid 18th century.

That publisher also bought the modern novel and now they want only modern novels from me. Fine. I love writing them. I tend to write older heroines, in their forties and fifties, set in the UK and/or Australia. No one is ever too old to find love or make a new life, and fiction is short of older heroines, I believe.

I did nip back to the fantasy genre to write a prequel to my series (Tenebrak: The Founding by Shannah Jay) and also a young adult classic fantasy tale (The Sword of Azaray).

What can I say? I love the variety! It keeps my mind stimulated. And my readers seem to enjoy it. Whatever the genre, I like to write about families and relationships, what might be called women’s fiction in the US, except that men read my stories too. My books are on the longer side, have several subplots, and sometimes more than one romance – well, I can’t leave my secondary characters unhappy can I?

I don’t guarantee not to move to another genre in the future. I just guarantee to keep telling stories. I’m addicted to it.

BIO
At the moment Anna Jacobs writes alternate historical and modern novels. She’s had 57 novels published so far (some as Shannah Jay) with others in the pipeline. She spends half the year in Australia and half in the UK, which nicely avoids facing any winters. She is so not into snow! In Australia, she lives in a waterside home where dolphins swim past regularly. In the UK, she lives in Wiltshire, which she has grown to love, it’s such a beautiful county. You can read more and try the first chapters of her books on her website: Anna Jacobs

Excerpt: Hot Pursuit

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Hey everyone! I know that many readers who enjoy romance novels love suspense and they love military romance. So here’s a snippet from the last story in my Hot Zone series at Samhain Publishing. Hot Pursuit!
* *

Low lights gave the bar and restaurant intimacy, and yellow and silver streamers hanging from the ceiling twirled and bounced shiny sparkles around the room.

Laugher broke out occasionally, especially at one big round booth in the back. Six women that could have been sextuplets giggled like girls at a birthday party in grade school. They wore party hats over their cascades of long blonde hair and she instantly was reminded of Felicia DeAnza. Blond. Buxom. Gorgeous Felicia.

The woman she didn’t want to hate, but had to.

“Good riddance, Mendoza. You and Felicia deserve each other,” she said out loud. She glanced at the women again. “Honestly. Six blonde women at one table?”

Surely one of those gigglers was a bottle blonde.

She glanced around to see if anyone had heard her mumblings. No one cared. The crowd seemed to have grown by twenty people since she’d walked inside. It was early but the place rocked. Good. She hoped there were a lot of men here. Eligible. Hot. Yeah, hot as hell would be a real bonus.

Determination motivated each step as she sauntered through the crowd that spilled over from the bar into the restaurant. Dixie’s Den had opened a month ago, a country-and-western theme predominate in the decorations that were sprinkled throughout the bar and restaurant areas. She’d been here once, with that D-bag of a boyfriend, and now she wanted to wash the memory right out of her hair by christening the place with a new man. Huh. Christening wasn’t exactly the right word for what she needed.

Mindless, wonderful, screaming sin sex.

Anything less…well, she’d had less. She wanted more for a change.

A man who’d treat her like a princess and make love to her like he never wanted to let her go.

As she gazed around, she didn’t expect to see what she did. A room full of cowboy hats, most of them on the heads of older men averaging age sixty and their going-grey wives. Okay, so maybe this wasn’t the best place on a New Year’s Eve to forget about a two-timing asshole. Then some of the cowboy-hat heads in the back turned, and several were young. Too young. Maybe barely legal. No. She didn’t want or need that complication.

She spotted a man sitting on a stool at the bar, a long-necked beer bottle in his right hand. And oh, my, my, my. He would photograph well. She could have used him in this year’s charity calendar arranged by her friend, Neena. A brunette with flowing long hair headed for him. She wore a tight white T-shirt, butt-skimming mini-skirt and teeter-totter screw-me shoes. She clasped his forearm and leaned close to whisper.

She saw his eyes go wide for a half second, then laughter burst over his face. A low, deep toe-curling laugh that sent sensual vibrations all through Lucy. Holy macoroni. The man shook his head and said something to the woman. The woman’s body language held regret as she pouted and sauntered away, looking stinking drunk and ready to fall of her too-tall shoes.

Lucy’s mouth went dry as she took a closer look at the guy. He seemed familiar somehow, but she didn’t know from where. The room seemed twice as loud and her vision twice as clear. Though he sat at a slight angle away from her, she could see the breadth of his wide shoulders stretching an emerald green sweater that looked soft and touchable. The sweater managed to enhance his muscles without appearing too tight. He cupped his hands behind his neck. Muscles rippled. His biceps and forearms bunched with sculpted muscles, but he wasn’t a body builder in an overdone way. No. He was perfectly symmetrical. Powerful. The man screamed of sex and that primitive, knee-buckling, unable-to-control attraction that hammered a female over the head and made everything inside her return to the cave. This was the kind of man a woman could get crazy with, loose inhibitions and forget her own name with.

Jeans curved over long legs consisting of hard thighs and calves and ending in sensible all-weather black boots. She’d bet on a stack of bibles he had a world-class butt. She’d love to photograph him with or without clothes.

Her active imagine went into overdrive. Without clothes. Oh, yeah. Would his chest have a hint of hair, or would it be smooth? She liked chests with hair and never understood the trend toward a man waxing his chest.

Instinct drew her forward one step. Two. Soon her boots moved across the room with confident strides. She sensed a couple of men at the bar checking her out, and she worked it, allowing their blatant appreciation to expand her confidence as she walked. She moved with major attitude. Tall, tough and with the slightest swagger.

The man she’d ogled swiveled the bar stool and looked straight at her. Her breath caught. Thick, dark lashes framed piercing brown eyes. Black hair cut short waved close against his head. His features were cut sharply, as if heaven had designed him with a rough hand. He had a long nose, broad but well-sculpted mouth and an almost cruel look that probably scared the hell out of the enemy. He was so—well, he was so not beautiful. Just all…man. Primal female response stood up and noticed. Her body flushed, heated with total awareness of him as a male. Her hormones screamed for attention.

His face lit up with recognition. The dark eyes softened with warmth, the mouth curved into a smile. “Lucy? Lucy Creed?”

His voice was deep, mellow, with an underlying edge of steel.

She blinked. “I’m sorry. I don’t…”

He stood, and her five foot six inches had nothing on over six feet of hard muscle. The sweater stretched over his chest a little and his front looked as fantastic as his back had.
He sauntered toward her, beer bottle forgotten on the counter. When he stood near, his woodsy, leather scent caught her attention. A brown bomber jacket was slung over the back of the barstool. Mmmm. Leather.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” That damned voice had mellow qualities, a deceiving softness with an underlying rumble of pure passion.

There was a familiar something about him she couldn’t put her finger upon. “No. Should I?”

He grinned and her body responded with a flash of heat. “Last time you saw me I was at our senior party. At Jennifer Calvin’s house over on Ridgeway.”

“I still don’t remember.”

His grin widened. “I sat next to you in chemistry and we had English lit together.”

She frowned, embarrassed that she couldn’t remember him.

“I was short.” He tilted his head to the side. “Skinny. Ugly as sin. I hear I’m still ugly, but at least I took care of the short and skinny.”

Oh. Holy. God. Recognition slammed her at the same time as embarrassment. “You’re not Victor Moore? No way.”
**

If you like this excerpt pop on over to the book page for Hot Pursuit and all my other Hot Zone series and read more about the military heroes in these novellas.

Authenticity & Writing From The Gut

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

I’m into taking chances.

Not with my life. Not with my money.

With my writing.

Why? Because it’s the only way, as they say, that I roll.

When a writer first begins the journey of putting together any story short or long, they’re delighted to simply create. They may not know a thing about character, plot, structure, theme, point-of-view, first person or third person, or any of the trappings that are normal craft subjects. Excitement rings in their veins, an unquenchable desire to throw words down on paper corners them in a room where they write and write and enjoy the drug-free high. Such enthusiasm and excitement is euphoria to many of us creative types.

Drum roll. The author runs into the publishing world, and while they’re learning the “craft” they may also become discouraged. But they continue to learn, to grow, to improve. One day, if they hit the right story, right time, right editor, and right marketing department (yes, I said right marketing department…that’s a whole ‘nother blog), they’re published.

After that, they often stop taking chances. Sometimes the joy of writing, the thing that truly made them happy simply disappears.

Two things are likely to happen. One is that they will write stories, usually within the same subgenre of one genre (for example historical romance or paranormal romance) and they’ll stick with that genre. Forever. Especially if it makes them money and gets them contracts. They’ll remark that it’s a business, and any career-oriented author understands that. Right?

It’s all true. Until it isn’t.

As I was pursuing the above-named career, I found myself yearning, painfully, to write only what I wanted. Often I did. Without thinking about market, what readers might want, and what the editors and publishing houses wanted. My great joy was in finding that many small press/epublishers would accept the fact that I wanted to write only three books about vampires and that was all. Or that I didn’t want to write erotic romance forever, or that I wouldn’t write male-on-male romance because it was popular, or any interesting combination of menage. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing popular themes if it truly blows your skirt up. But if it doesn’t maybe it pays to ask yourself why.

Yes, publishing is a business. To those authors who don’t mind sticking with one subgenre and writing that story…that familiar story that makes sales again and again…more power to them if it truly makes them happy.

To me, though, it also takes courage to decide not do that. To realize that your personal authenticity, what feels right to you, is the right thing to do. Even if that authenticity goes against most advice. When I finally, finally accepted that was the only way I would ever find total peace in my writing, it was as if a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. My only regret was not acting on that desire sooner. The one that said let go of the rules, the advice, the nagging voice that asks for conformation.

If you, as an author, yearn to create because it is who you are…do it. Because if you aren’t authentic to yourself, to what you were meant to do, you may look back years from now and regret it with everything inside you.

Excerpt: Daryk Rogue

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Howdy everyone! I promised this week I’d fire an excerpt at you all. This excerpt is from Daryk Rogue, the second book in the Daryk World series at Ellora’s Cave. Enjoy!

Desperate to find out if her friends had lived, she stood on wobbly legs and noticed her boots and socks by the bed. Both were dry, so she put them on and moved slowly for the door. She opened it with difficulty and the hinges creaked. Stepping outside cautiously, she held on to the door as if it could keep her on her feet.

Several men moved about the deck. Suddenly a hairy man with enormous arms stalked toward Xandra. Impressions flew at her. Far over six feet, he had the bulk and brawn capable of hurting her easily. His nose looked half smashed, as if he’d grown a panatan root for a nose, all bumpy and bulbous. Lank, thin dark hair hung to his chest. A red bandana circled his neck. He wore a dirty white tunic and filthy black breaches. Watery green eyes held nothing but hostility.

She stepped back and bumped into the doorway.

“What are you doin’ out here, girly?” the man’s gravel-filled voice asked.

“I’m— Where am I?”

The big man stopped too close in front of her. “You’re on the Beast.”

His hand came up to touch her hair and she flinched. She threw her hand up in front of her, alarmed. “No.”

“No?” He laughed and touched her hair anyway, his eyes hot with an emotion she didn’t recognize. He smelled sweaty and her already unstable stomach lurched. “Girly, you don’t have the right to say no on this ship. You belong to us now.”

“I do not.” Anger twisted inside her, and she stiffened her spine. “I was on the Hydrasoseles. A passenger ship. She was destroyed by this huge wave—”

“We ’eard of the ship, little lady,” another man’s crackling voice said nearby. An older man with long gray hair and a wobbly gait strode up until he stood nearby. “Barely escaped that wave ourselves. A fierce storm, it was.” He winked. “But not as strong as the Beast.”

His hand made a waving motion that presented the craft. Enormous sails reached for the brilliant blue sky. The ship cruised through the water at a pace the Hydrasoseles couldn’t have managed, and the sheer size astonished her.

“Very nice, but I need to get back to Magonia,” she said.

Two other men watching the conversation dropped what they were doing and closed in, their eyes intent and curious, but not as overtly dangerous as the men in front of her. Still, she was encircled, and if she wanted to escape this crowd of stinky, awful men, she’d have to think of a defense soon. But where could she go to hide on a ship? What if Elian were nearby? Fear leaked through her bravado, but she shored up her bravery. She couldn’t crumble now. Perhaps a man would come along who would have some principles and decency. If she spotted a possibility, she’d peck him on the cheek, and that would keep these disgusting men away from her.

The gray-haired man’s small eyes scanned her with evil intent. “Magonia, eh? Now that’s a fine thing. You shouldn’t have told us that.”

She swallowed. “Why?”

“Why you’re our enemy, little lady.”

“Enemy—” She cut herself off as she realized what they meant. “Then you are a Dragonia ship?”

The bruiser glared at her and laughed. “We ain’t Dragonian. We don’t belong to no country. We’re on our own and better for it.”

“But that’s ridiculous. Every ship flies under the flag of Magonia or Dragonia.”

The men all laughed, and through their guffaws the bruiser leered. “Yeah, but we have our own country. The ocean is our home. Ain’t no need for dry land. A man is free here to do as he sees fit and not by another’s leave.”

“We don’t cotton to no man’s word except for the admiral’s,” another man said nearby.

He gestured to a flag that flew above the craft. It was solid black with no insignia.

Fear tingled along her spine and sent screams of alarm to every part of her body.

The old man laughed softly. “Maybe I should let this here rotter have a taste of you before I get my own.” He touched her hair and she flinched. “No harm in having a little play, is there? You Magonian women are as sweet as they come, I hear tell.”

Bruiser nodded emphatically. “I done had one not too long ago. She was from the Hydrasoseles too.”

Oh Magon. Had they hurt Ketera and Mia?

Panic stirred inside, but she refused to show it. Gulping down the tightness in her throat, she remembered what she’d learned from her friend Mia about defending herself. A swift kick to this hateful man’s bits and—

The old guy reached for her.

She took a step forward and brought her knee up with raw force. Her knee made contact with the old geezer’s manly parts and he screamed. He doubled up in pain and collapsed on the deck.

Sickness washed over her, a weakness that she’d never experienced before and that threatened to cut her legs out from under her. She tried to slip past the bruiser.

“Magonian bitch whore!” He grabbed her by the throat. His huge fist clenching around her throat with such force a fierce pain pierced her throat.

“Release her at once!” A deep and commanding voice, dark with anger, cut the air.

The bruiser didn’t, and she choked, grabbing the man’s forearm and digging in her nails. He didn’t budge. She kicked out, made contact with the man’s knees. He grunted but didn’t lose loosen his grip.

A dark shadow swiftly launched at the man. Through her fading vision she saw the shape bring a baton down on the man’s head. Bruiser released her and she gasped for much needed air as the big man yelled in pain and fell to the flooring. Coughing, she touched her throat gingerly.

Her vision cleared as the man who rescued her roared at the other men. “Farcam! Touch her again and I’ll cut off your cock and feed it to you.” He threw a deadly glanced at the old man. “Oscan, you’ve been warned before. Into the brig with you.” He gestured at the other men. “Get these bags of guts below and put them in chains.” Her rescuer said with deadly coldness to Farcam, “Admiral Aramus will have your hide for dinner.”

“Fuck you,” Farcam said, giving her rescuer a flash of a middle finger.

“Sorry, mate.” Her rescuer threw a disgusted look his way. “Not my type.”

The other men dragged Farcam and the old geezer away.

Her rescuer turned his gaze on her and his eyes stayed predatory, hungry almost as his gaze traveled her face and body with clear appreciation. “You, however, are.”

The man who’d saved her hooked his baton to his belt and walked toward her, his stride self-assured and as authoritative as his voice. His face was young, maybe thirty years, but there was a wealth of age imprinted in his eyes. Thick hair as inky as the night came to just above his shoulders. Danger and fierceness in his almost black eyes sent two spears of emotion through Xandra. Stark fear and unaccountable attraction. He stared at her as if he wanted to devour her. Or perhaps kill her.

She blinked, amazed at this new threat that stalked toward her. He was as big as the creature who had dared to touch her, but the difference between the men was marked. Her rescuer wore a sleeveless black tunic open down the front to reveal a muscular chest covered in a generous sprinkling of black hair. The tunic was cinched at the waist by a wide black belt. Black breeches curved over muscular thighs and calves. Black boots covered his feet and ended mid-calf. This new predator didn’t have a modicum of extra fat. He moved with grace, muscles rippling in his tanned arms.

Fear sizzled along her body. So this lug had saved her from the ugly man only to waylay her too?

Excerpt: OVER THE LINE

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I wrote OVER THE LINE on a whim. While I was writing my Special Investigations Agency series for Ellora’s Cave, a character popped in that demanded a book. His name is Ben Darrock and he is Scottish. We all know that Scottish accents are hot, right? With this character in mind, I wrote OVER THE LINE. I hope you enjoy this sneak peak into Ben’s world.
**

What could be more complicated than having hot, over-the-edge, inappropriate sexual fantasies about your boss?

Acting on them.

Working for Division Six Director Ben Darrock brought agent Ellie Sterling into close contact with the gorgeous Scotsman on a daily basis. She couldn’t ignore any longer the smoldering looks and electric chemistry that surged between them, but their chaotic attraction could destroy their careers. When Ellie receives threatening notes and Ben’s protective streak kicks in, she realizes she must take action that could put them both in harm’s way or separate them forever.
* *

Even with her father and two cold-hearted older brothers, she’d never been the recipient of male concern. Only overbearing demands and ridicule of her status as a woman. But damn it all to hell. She had to know what he’d almost confessed.

Before she could ask, he said, “This stalker has got to be taken down.”

“How? Unless he approaches me there isn’t anything the police can do.”

His gaze narrowed. “Approaches you? Don’t tell me you’re planning on letting the bastard get near you?”

She shrugged and held up her hands in a helpless gesture. “What other choice do I have? If I can draw him into the open—”

“No.”

That one word, sharp and commanding, made her back go up. “No? If it’s something to do with my work, of course I’ll do what you say. You’re my supervisor.”

“Damn right,” he said, voice going husky and low.

“In the case of my personal life,” she shook her head and told him one permanent fact, “it’s my life to risk and you have no say in it.”

He pushed one hand through his mass of thick, wavy hair and swallowed hard. Turmoil burned in his eyes, laden with desperate, unspoken emotions. “What about family and other people who care about you? Think about what they’ll feel if anything happens.”

She smiled. “There’s no one who’ll care. At least, not really. Besides, my father is in Alaska right now on a very expensive cruise and my brothers have problems of their own. Both of them are in the process of nasty divorces.” A second later she realized her smile probably looked pathetic and she didn’t want his pity. “I can work this out on my own.”

“Damn it, Ellie.” His voice went harsh. “You’ve got friends within SIA, and Division Six in particular. Why on earth would you think you don’t?”

She thought about it a minute and then sighed. Although she counted a couple of the women in the division as friends, they’d never become extraordinarily close. As women with husbands and families, they didn’t have quite as much in common with a carefree single woman. Division Six was populated by a lot of ex-military types, a few with brawn complexes that didn’t keep them from doing their jobs extraordinarily well, but which rubbed her independence the wrong way.

No, when it came down to it, she counted Ben as her closest friend in the SIA. “I’m not a real social animal. I haven’t accumulated that many good friends.”

He snorted, his disagreement obvious. “Right. No matter what you think, people admire you here. Don’t ever forget that.”

He stepped closer, and she sucked in a breath. At first, with all the heat in his eyes, she felt the tiniest bit intimidated. She took a step back and then another, but he pursued her until he’d invaded her personal space. She stopped retreating for a moment, determined he wouldn’t break her. Only about ten inches between them and her heart slammed in her chest and her breath came way too short.

She turned away and headed for the door, his nearness making her dizzy with long-held desire. “I’ll leave you to the message traffic.”

His grip on her bicep startled her as he gently swung her around. She pressed her back up against the door, surprised by his quick pursuit. His hand remained on her arm. Warm and strong, his grip nevertheless held her as if she might be a delicate porcelain doll.

“Ben,” she said a bit breathlessly, “its sweet of you to show concern, but you really don’t have to.”

“Yes, I have to.” A raspy quality haunted his voice. “It’s more than that.”

Needing clarification, she said, “It’s your desire to help anyone under your supervision. After all, a personal problem can distract a person, hamper their job performance.”

He made a sound of disgust and glared down at her. “It’s not that. What I feel isn’t worry about whether you can do the job. And what I’m feeling sure as hell isn’t sweet.”

She saw it in his eyes, a warning before the explosion. Fierce emotion, a passion unlike anything she’d seen raged in his gaze. She had to know the truth. “What did you almost say earlier? When you said if anyone would do the protecting? You didn’t finish the sentence.”

Aching vulnerability flickered in those mysterious eyes. Heady sensations stirred uncontrollable, raw need. One look and she couldn’t stop desiring him, wishing she could touch him how she wanted, when she wanted. She wanted to eat him up, kiss him into oblivion and open her legs for his thrust. No man on earth but Ben Darrock made her yearn so much.

“Ben?” she asked again.

His other hand came up and he brushed his fingers over her cheek. Soft, inquisitive, so gentle. She closed her eyes for a second. Would he show this tenderness to any woman? She doubted it. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, he harbored special feelings for her and the realization that he couldn’t hold back any longer thrilled her.

When her eyes opened she realized he had drawn even nearer until their bodies touched and his hands drifted up to cup her face. Big and warm, his thumbs caressed her cheeks. “I was going to say, if anyone was going to protect you, it would be me.”

Sweet, exploding pleasure arched through Ellie. “Oh.”

“That’s all you can say, woman?”

Woman? In that imperious, Scottish accent he sounded more like a warrior of old then a modern man. She couldn’t decide if she liked it or hated it. Warring factions within her battled for supremacy. The liberated woman wanted complete control of her life. The primitive female wanted his protection and found his masculinity irresistible to her libido. What she wanted and what she could have were two different things, though.

Before The Dawn In Print Soon!

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Before The Dawn will be in print soon! Whoohooo! So for those of you who prefer reading print, you’ll be able to get your copy on May 1! Before then I’ll be sprinkling in some teaser excerpts of scenes you may not have witnessed before if you haven’t already read the book. So stay tuned.

Also this month I’ll have a couple of those writing articles I promised to people on Twitter not so long ago.

Cast of Characters: An Anthology You Gotta Read

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Hey everyone! I hope you’ll check out this wonderful anthology written by members of Novelists, Inc. This is our first anthology. We hope to have one every year.

We love fiction. It’s in our blood and it’s in our souls. Great stories thrill us and inspire us in a way that nothing else can. If you’re like us, then we invite you to revel in this anthology of all-original stories we’ve created for you.

In Cast of Characters, you’ll meet a collection of unforgettable personalities. The devoted wife who discovers her husband’s devastating secret. The Black Death survivor who reinvents herself. The woman who finds love in the arms of a dark, dangerous artist. The devoted scientist faced with a daunting ethical dilemma. The woman who hears ghosts. The gorgeous but fated young man. The small-town beauty queen with a world-class mean streak. The inventor who fears his invention. The man seeking a reunion decades later with his first love. The stalker who understands too late who he is stalking. The dreadful athlete who gets one opportunity to win. The man who loves a woman society will not allow him to love. These are only a few of the figures who will leap from the page and take residence in your heart.

In addition, Cast of Characters is highlighted by several “events” you won’t want to miss:

• #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander delivers her first short story with a contemporary setting – as does New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby.
• New York Times bestselling author Jo Beverley brings back the hero of her novel Forbidden Magic.
• New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox creates a new Biker Witches story.
• New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham writes her first story with her son Jason.
• New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister tells the story of one of her most beloved teen characters as an adult.
• National bestselling author Julie Ortolon tells the beloved Pearl Island story her fans have been clamoring for.
• National bestselling author Diana Peterfreund offers the origin story for one of the most important magical items in her “killer unicorn” series.

A huge volume of twenty-eight stories ranging from romance to suspense to fantasy to comedy to poignant character pieces, Cast of Characters is a must-have book for everyone who loves fiction.

Contributors include: CATHERINE ANDERSON, VICTORIA ALEXANDER, JO BEVERLEY, BARBARA BRETTON, JULIE COMPTON, TANYA ANNE CROSBY, CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS, ROSEMARY EDGHILL, ANGIE FOX, HEATHER GRAHAM AND JASON POZZESSERE, GREG HERREN, VICKI HINZE, MARIANNA JAMESON, WAYNE JORDAN, KATE KINGSBURY, CJ LYONS, KATIE MACALISTER, ASHLEY MCCONNELL, JODY LYNN NYE, JULIE ORTOLON, DIANA PETERFREUND, LAURA RESNICK, PATRICIA RICE, DEB STOVER, VICTORIA STRAUSS, KAREN TINTORI, DIANE WHITESIDE and STEVEN WOMACK.

Novelists Inc. is the only writers organization devoted exclusively to the needs of multi-published novelists.

Publishing Shoulds?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

I’m reluctant to tell other writers how do anything. How to craft a book, how to plot (since that’s not how I originate a story), POV, characterization…yada yada. There’s a lot of give and take in that what works for one author may not work for another. Lately I’ve noticed a few things, though, that give me pause. One of the reasons I’m reluctant to give advice to other authors is because my advice isn’t always conventional. In the points I’ve noted below, I think I am giving conventional advice.

1. If you’re self-publishing and offer a print novel, consider offering an electronic version as well. Many readers are going to electronic readers and refusing to buy print books. Just a thought. Many of my books aren’t offered in print right now, but I’m far happier knowing there is an electronic version available than if only a print version was available.

2. Get a professionally done website. If you’re going to spend money on anything in promotion, I think that’s far more valuable than hiring a publicist. A great website makes a great impression.

3. Put excerpts up. Yep. Give readers a look at your work so they know whether they’ll like it or not. I know that if someone wants me to buy their book, I’ll want an excerpt first. If you give me a blurb that’s great, but it doesn’t always tell me if your writing style is something I like. If you don’t have a website with excerpts, I won’t buy your book.

4. If you are self publishing, make sure your cover looks as good as anything you’ll see in the traditional print houses.

Okay, that’s all for today. 🙂 Just a few things that struck me as publishing shoulds in this day and age. What do you think?