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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Interview of Author Coleen Kwan

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Coleen Kwan.

Latest Book: Real Men Don't Quit
Buy Links:
Amazon:  http://amzn.to/ZbHQaO
Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/10E4j1
Kobo:  http://bit.ly/ZfXB7f
iTunes:  http://bit.ly/XUOg35

BIO:
Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.

Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoy s avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The easiest part to write is usually the beginning of the book. That’s because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of my characters, envisioning them, imagining how they interact with each other, and very importantly, how they first meet each other. Like the opening scene of a movie, the beginning of the book introduces the characters and sets the mood between them. Planning the first meeting between hero and heroine can be so much fun, but going on from there is a lot harder. I can dream up lots of fun story beginnings, but often that’s all they ever are—beginnings.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: Undoubtedly the hardest part for me is the middle. Usually when I plan a story, I have strong ideas about the beginning and the ending, but the middle part is a gray area that requires fleshing out. It needs rising conflict, character development, emotional arc, all at a good pace. Plus it needs to work toward the ending I’ve already planned. The middle is the meaty part of the story between the appetizers and the desserts!

Q: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
A: My favorite character in Real Men Don’t Quit is Tyler Jones, my heroine. She’s feisty, sassy, and independent. She’s had a tough childhood but she’s risen above that. She works hard and is fiercely protective of her three-year-old daughter, whom she’s raising on her own. I like Tyler because she’s the opposite of me. She does and says things I’d never dream of. That’s the beauty of writing stories—I can create characters I could never be.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: That’s an interesting question! To me they don’t look the same because they have distinct personalities. However, I have noticed that when it comes to physical descriptions of my heroes, they all tend to have dark hair. I must have a thing for dark-haired men! (BTW my partner has dark hair.) That’s the only similarity I’ve noticed.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: I don’t have one favourite romance book of all time, but one that always sticks in my mind even years after I’ve read it is The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. It’s a fantastic story, and the romance between Tatiana and Alexander is something else. It’s not an easy read but definitely worth it.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I’d quite like to try writing a romantic suspense story. I’ve had an idea for one at the back of my mind for a while now. Why haven’t I written it? Well, I think writing a suspense novel is actually quite difficult, especially maintaining the element of mystery and danger, and then combining that with romance is a tricky balancing act. Also, I don’t have the time at the moment! But one day hopefully I’ll feel more confident about writing a romsus.

Links:
Website: http://www.coleenkwan.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ColeenKwan
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/coleenkwan.authorpage

BLURB:
Serial bachelor. Celebrity author. Her perfect forever?

When famous author Luke Maguire decides to write his next novel in the small town of Burronga, Australia, he's sure he can ignore the fiery redhead next door. Not only has he just been burned from a high-profile breakup, but he's never been one to set down roots. No, he'll finish his novel and leave Burronga. And soon.

Tyler Jones just wants to run her business with her best friend, Ally, and take care of her three-year-old daughter, Chloe. She's never needed help from anyone, especially not a man, and the brooding, rugged writer next door can't tempt her. Not in the least.

Only Tyler and Luke can't stay away from each other. So they set rules. No staying overnight, no future plans, no sappy good-byes when Luke inevitably quits town. But the chemistry between them is too strong to contain in a rulebook. Are Luke and Tyler ready to risk their lives of independence for something more?

EXCERPT:
His warm breath stirred the hair at her temples. “I’m uncontaining right now.” Lifting his hand, he brushed the back of his fingers across her cheek. “And all because of you.”

His feathery touch had her tingling. She gulped, amazed he could affect her so much with so little. The spark in the depths of his black eyes hinted he was experiencing the same response. She leaned back, moistening her lips, waiting for the inevitable—for him to lower his head and kiss her.

But he didn’t. Instead, he trailed his fingers through her hair, lifting the strands one by one. “Your hair…I’ve been racking my brain trying to find the right description for it. It’s like fire and marmalade and cranberry. So soft, too…”

His caress transfixed her, the sight of him fondling her hair more erotic than she could have imagined. “Um, most people just call me carrottop.”

“Huh. That doesn’t do you any justice.”

He tangled his fingers around the back of her hair, tipping her face up. He gently skimmed his lips down the length of her exposed neck. She caught her breath as hot sensations rolled through her, the feel of his lips exciting her. With his body pressing up against hers and his fingers twined through her hair, she was at his mercy, but instead of using his advantage, it seemed he wanted to tease her, tantalize her, control her and the situation.

She wasn’t used to the man calling the shots. If it had been anyone else, she would have tired of the game and taken over. But Luke was different. With him, it was exciting to allow him the upper hand. As he continued his leisurely exploration of her neck and earlobes, she felt herself melting, giving in to him. She coasted her hands over his chest and shoulders, aching for his mouth to crush hers, but willing to let him set the pace, for now at least.

Using his hips, he nudged her into a better position and wrapped his free arm around her waist, bringing the full length of his body against hers. She traced the outline of his torso, relishing the tautness of his muscle until her hands rested on his hips, the urge to pull his shirt out of his waistband almost irresistible. Luke licked the underside of her jaw, the wet flick drawing a gasp from her.

“What are you doing to me?” she whispered, her desperation growing, her rules against making out now a distant memory. “The way you’re nuzzling my neck, I could swear you’re a vampire.”

He chuckled, mouth still nestled against her throat. “Tyler, you have a very kissable neck. It’s enough to turn anyone into a vampire.”

She squeezed his waist. “I have other kissable parts, you know.”

Straightening a little, he gazed down at her, eyes brilliant as jet. “Are you telling me where I should kiss you?”

“Only if you’re looking for directions.”

“Angel, I’m not lost. I’m taking the scenic route.”

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weather

Hi Everyone,

You're probably wondering why in the heck I'm writing about weather.  It is not because we have had lovely weather here this week, or that I'm starting to think about winter.  It is not because everyone talks about the weather either.

I'm writing about weather because it's a useful tool in a book as a setting.  Every novel I've written has a season.  I've used summer most of the time, but I've used fall and winter, too.  You can use weather as a setting or a character.  For instance, the movie, The Perfect Storm, the storm is a major character that is being battled.

There are many stories where the elements are used as a force or character to fight against.  In my novels, I tend to use them as settings.  I think it's very important to let your reader know the season.  If you the writer don't determine the season for your story you can't dress your characters in appropriate attire.

Would you want to dress your heroine in flipflops, capri's and a spaghetti strapped top in the winter?  Oh, I'm sure you can think of some scenario where this could happen, but you have to have an explanation for the character to be dressed like that.  Maybe, she left Florida driving across country and her car broke down.

For all of the aspiring writers out there I want you to know that weather can be used in your stories.  I bet most authors use description of the seasons in one or two of their books. 

Sandra K. Marshall
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guest Blog: Margaret Taylor: Writing A Book is Like Eating Your Favorite Sandwich...

As an Author, many times I'm asked, "Where did you get that idea?" or "How do you write a book?"

My fellow Authors can attest to the fact that these two questions are probably the most consistent ones we get asked. Am I right ladies and gents?

So, I was thinking that today I'd try and answer them.

The first, "Where did you get that idea?" is probably the more common of the two, so we'll start there.

Most of my ideas come, literally, from everyday life and I'll give you an example of the one I had not too long ago so you can understand.

Now, as we all know, the Superbowl was not too far back. And no, I'm not going to start talking about what an awesome game it was! Because it was. If you didn't watch the game, you've probably heard about it by now, so I won't recount any of it.

What I will focus on is the other big story of the game...the lights going out.

Like most, I watched the game, beginning to end and it was only afterwards that an idea came to me for a new book. As I lay in bed, trying to fall asleep in the aftermath of the nail biting previous five hours or so, I thought...what if?

And here's the "What If?" I came up with.

What if the lights going out wasn't some sort of power feed failure as they are saying it was? What if it was a very powerful witch or warlock or sorcerer who had an obscene amount of money bet on the 49's? Said witch or warlock or sorcerer, seeing the game getting away from his/her team decides to intervene and with his/her power or spell or whatever, shuts off the lights in the hopes that'll be enough of a break for his/her team to recharge and come back.

Ah ha! I now have my bad guy or girl, yeah?

So that thought led to...ok, so who would be my hero/heroine in that scenario and which of the many series I have going could I fit said bad guy? Well, the second part of that question was easy to answer. I have a stand-alone paranormal, "Love’s Prophecy" into which the above scenario would fit perfectly as a possible "Book 2". That left me with, ok, who's going to be my protagonist, or good guy to the bad?

Hmmm...

Alright, I admit that was about the point my mind drifted to other things and I fell asleep shortly thereafter. However, when I woke the next day, I wrote down the thought and will eventually flesh it out for possible development/writing.

Now, this leads to the second question I get asked, A LOT! "How do you write a book?"

This question is not so easy to answer. What works for me may not necessarily work for you. There are numerous schools of thought on how to write. Many have published books, there are a ton of websites, and the most obvious, creative writing courses out there.

And I'm not talking about the technical stuff. The grammar, the punctuations, the sentence structure and so on. That comes with time, practice and a damn good editor behind you! (Ladies and gents, ALWAYS pay due homage to the editor. They are the ones that bless the final product and make sure - if they are worth said due homage - that your work looks really good on the backside of the creative process.) So, no, we're not talking about that part.

What I am talking about is putting your ideas onto paper. Getting that scenario, or “What If” out of your head and out there for all to see.

This is not as easy as it might seem. Everyone wishes they could write the Great American Novel. I think it's something that crosses everyone's Bucket List at some point or another in their lives. It's human nature. Despite the tunnel vision we've developed in the last 50 years, we are, by our very nature, Sharers. We want to tell our stories to the perfect stranger sitting next to us. We want people to know our trials and tribulations. Before the Internet, we did this via hand-written and eventually typed letters. Now, we do it via email, Facebook, Blogs, Twitter and so on.

Regardless of the method, we share. It's just who we are.

Sadly, despite this, not everyone can write. Not everyone can see something in their heads and effectively put that on paper for others to enjoy just as much as they do. The good ones, the great ones, have the ability to draw you in, bring the scenario, the idea to life for those of us not so fortunate enough to have that talent.

I, at least I hope I am and have been told I am, one of the fortunate ones. I have talent. Where it comes from, I haven't a clue. But, it's there and even I am amazed sometimes by it. I'll be sitting here reading something I've written and go, "Hey, you know what? I'm not so bad at this writing thing..."

Anyway, I've digressed a bit and apologize.

Moving on. Writing is like anything else. It takes practice, lots and lots of practice. Steven King, in his book, On Writing, said it best I think.

"A true writer...writes."

And it truly is that simple. If you're a writer, and my fellow Authors can back me on this I think, you write. All the time. And sometimes you do it without even realizing you are. (I wrote the next scene in one book in the shower this morning and another while I was out running errands a bit later, just to give you an example.)

Despite the fact I have a "day job" I write whenever I have free time. I'm not Steven or any of a half a dozen others, yet so the bills have to be paid. However, I've decided that I'm going to devote serious time to my writing in 2013 and see where it goes. If I've honed my craft sufficiently, then maybe I'll start to catch on and take off. We'll see.

That being said, I'm going to give you what I use to write. It's a tool, a concept and if it works for you, then please feel free to use it. It was given to me, years ago, so I don't "own it" but I've lived by it since. And if it doesn't work for you, then I hope it gives you an idea, helps you create your own tool, that you can use to craft your own works.

As I've said, writing is a talent and not one everyone has it. But the tools are there. The following is but one of them.

It was once said to me: "Writing a book is like building your favorite sandwich. You need everything to work together to enjoy it. For example, you wouldn't eat a pastrami on rye without the rye yes? Or a roast beef without the beef? No, you wouldn't. So, if you look at every book as a sandwich and you have all the elements, all the pieces, then it should work and taste o' so good!"

I was told that you need a beginning and an ending, which are your two pieces of bread. They hold the sandwich together, give you something start and end with.

The meat of your sandwich is your characters, all your characters. The good, bad and yes sometimes ugly. The meat is what makes the sandwich, well, a sandwich. If you didn't have meat, or characters, then all you have are two pieces of very boring bread.

The lettuce, tomatoes, onions or whatever it is you like on your sandwich, is the plot. These things compliment your sandwich, or the story, but they don't overwhelm it, or they shouldn't anyway. They add flavor - or as he said, "Penash!" - and make you want to keep eating, or reading, to the end.

The mayo, mustard, ketchup and what not, are your sub-plots. The little twists and turns to the story, or the bit of flavor you get now and again when you bite in and begin chewing. Again, they don't overwhelm, but compliment - send your taste buds, or your readers, off in a new, and sometimes completely unexpected direction.

He also added to make sure you love the sandwich you're eating! In other words, if you hate pastrami on rye, or mystery novels, then don't try and write one. You'll take one bite - or write one page - hate it and throw it away. But, if you love Turkey, or science fiction, then get going, start eating and before you know it, the sandwich will be gone and the book is written.

As I've said, I've used this model to write since I was 16 and as crazy as it sounds, it does work. Granted I'm not one of those that has to plot everything down to the last chapter. I never have been. Most of the time, once I "see" the opening line to a book in my head, I'm gone. I open up a word doc and just start typing. It's not until afterwards, when it's done, that I go back and apply the above tool to begin the long, arduous process of editing the words to fit it.

Sometimes though, it's not a line, but a character that I see. As in the above scenario I spoke about earlier. In that case, I put the character down first and build the sandwich around it. In other words, I'm really craving turkey but have no idea what I want to go with it! I know eventually that I'll get the rest of it down, I already have the "background world" which I developed in "Love’s Prophecy", so it'll come. But, for now, he/she is just a plain old "What if?" waiting in the wings for his story to be told.

And that's fine. When he/she starts to "yell the loudest" is when I'll pull it back out and have my turkey sandwich!

And that's all there really is too it.

Now, it's time to build your sandwich, or your story. One final bit of advice, have fun with it! Enjoy that Turkey, or Pastrami, or Roast Beef to its fullest! Savor every bite of it because if you do, then so will your readers. If you don't love it, throw it away and start over with something you do love.

I hope this helped to give you a brief glimpse into the creative process that goes on...at least for me. And if you're an aspiring Author, please, feel free to use it or not. It's whatever works for you.

Until next time.
Margaret Taylor.

BIO:
Margaret Taylor currently lives in San Antonio, TX and is scratching post for her five cats and one puppy. She is an avid writer, a novice photographer and enjoys all things paranormal and science fiction! Just ask her, she'll tell you!

Her two debut releases are:

Wolf's Paradox - Book 1 of The Layren Series

and

A First Love Never Dies - Book 1 of The Spi-Corp Series.

She also has many other current projects in the works. If you visit her blog and ask nicely, she might be persuaded to post some tasty experts! *Bring Cookies as payment please!*

BLURB:  A First Love Never Dies
In this Science Fiction Romance Action Adventure, Janel Canton must be pregnant by the time Fleet Commander Pearson Acto catches up to her again and only one man will do for that. Her one true love, sexy Montana Sheriff Jake Reeves. But returning to Earth she finds he's still mourning his dead wife and has become very comfortable in the small-town life. Will introducing him to reality of the Universe be enough for him to move on to a new love and a new home in the stars?

Sheriff Jake Reeves never thought the nerdy girl he and his cronies picked on in High School would someday become a star ship captain capable of holding her own in just about any situation. But when he meets up with Janel again at their 20 year reunion, that's exactly what he finds! Gone is the nerdy little mouse that never fought back. In it's place, is a rough and tumble, no holds barred, drop-dead gorgeous woman who he's going to have one hell of a time not falling in love with...

Join these two as they make their way through a Universe that isn't as grand as it might seem at first. Help them overcome dangers, misunderstandings, betrayal's and near-death experiences to find the kind of true love that can only exist in a sweeping Space Opera. Let Janel and Jake introduce you to the worlds beyond our own tiny corner of the Galaxy...

Explore the Universe, One Book At A Time...
BUY LINK: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D5UWYC4

Contact Info:
http://margarettaylorsthoughts.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMargaretTaylor
www.twitter.com/AuthorM_Taylor
http://www.margarettaylortx.com

Available Now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D553XE2 Wolf’s Paradox – Book 1, The Layren Series

Available Now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D5UWYC4 A First Love Never Dies – Book 1, The Spi-Corp Series

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Showing Emotion On the Page by Janice Seagraves


Showing Emotion on the page 
 (Without it being Telly) 
By Janice Seagraves 


One of the hardest lessons in writing is to show emotion on the page without it being telly. You've all heard of Show and Don't Tell, but what does that really mean?

Simply put Telly is telling something that happened as if to a friend. Showing is taking your reader though the scene in such a way that they feel the emotion.

Here are a few examples:

Anger:
Telly: She made him mad. He wanted to hit her.
Show: He fisted his hands and ground his teeth. His gut boiled. Grabbing a plate, he threw it against the wall. "That'll be your head next!"

Throwing something is a good way to show extreme anger, but be careful that your characters don't end up breaking all the dishes in the house. People who are angry also fist their hands, ground their teeth, breath noisily, and bare their teeth, crack knuckles, and their nails bite into their palms.

Scared:
Telly: The doorknob turned. She was so scared she hid behind the couch. "Paw, won't find me here."
Show: The doorknob turned. Ice went through her middle. She hid behind the couch. "Paw, won't find me here."

You feel cold when you scared. It can knife through you, or fill your stomach with ice. A chill can go down your character's back. Also, someone's face turns ashen, trembling lips and chin, freezing, feeling rooted to the spot, tight shoulders, leg muscles tightening, getting ready to run, looking all around, especially behind, a shrill voice, or lowering the voice to a whisper.

Happy:
Telly: She was so happy she could fly. "I have my dream job."
Show: She kept repeating the words over and over, you're hired. Her cheeks hurt from grinning so big and her stomach did a little flip. "I have my dream job."

Squealing, screaming, shouting, whooping and hollering can all show extreme happiness or elation. So can running a victory lap, dancing in place, laughing, and throwing something in the air.

Love:
Telly: He loved her very much and wanted to make love to her.
Show with an excerpt from Windswept Shores: He sat next to her, and leaned over, pressed his lips against hers, gradually deepening the kiss. Her scent filled his nose, a light perfume with her own personal aroma. His pulse raced, and his mind spiraled with thoughts of being inside of her. He burned to make love to her.

~*~
Janice Seagraves website: http://janiceseagraves,org/
Windswept Shores first time in Trade paperback: https://www.createspace.com/4084680
Windswept Shores on the Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AS9NDNO

Friday, July 26, 2013

What If?


 

Most writers know it all starts with two words: “What if?” With just that much, an idea of story is born. I have often joked that my ideas come from a little factory in Iowa and are delivered FedEx. The truth of the matter is that they often come when I am either sleeping or driving.
 

 
The recent releases of two of my books, Like Humans Do and Like Demons Do, came when I was driving to work. Now, I graduated from college with one of my majors in Religion.  It might seem incongruent to many that I have a fascination for what many might call new age topics, those on the edge of mysticism. However, I believe that there is no order of difficulty in miracles, and just because I am both religious and spiritual, I will be drawn forever to those topics that explore what the conservative world might consider impossible.

I have an acquaintance whom I have come to know as a friend named Mary Occhino, who used to host a show on Sirius/XM radio entitled “Angels on Call.” I loved that show, wish it were still on the air, and listened to it when I was going to my day job. One morning she and her son Chris were discussing the subject of walk-in angels. This subject had been thoroughly explored by a woman named Ruth Montgomery in her book, Strangers Among Us. The concept is that angels who have volunteered to come back to Earth “walk-in” to the body of a person whose soul is ready to leave early before completing his or her mission in that lifetime. The angel then lives as a human being until the person expires as originally intended.

Wow, what a thought! Could that really happen? Of course, I thought, once an angel becomes corporeal again. All human desires and vices would be that angel’s as well until once again released to be discarnate. Let the games begin. And begin they do in these two books.

Here are the blurbs:

 
Like Humans Do –Can good conquer evil when an angel blindly walks right in? Walk-in angel, Olivia, wakes up incarnated as a pregnant woman with no memory of being assigned to her mission. Guardian angel, Gregory, tells her the "zapping" was an error; however, her assignment is serendipitous-the unborn babies she carries are in jeopardy of possession by two nemeses from the dark side. Gregory volunteers to incarnate to help her fight the demons, but she won't know who he is unless they fall in love. Soon afterwards, Olivia is up to her angel eyeballs in trouble, with two gorgeous men courting her, a slew of demons diabolically plotting to make her fail, and one bossy mother-in-law seemingly under demon attack herself.

SLike Demons Do—In a soul exchange, Miranda, a walk-in angel, wakes up on a beach while being given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She discovers she’s been zapped out of the body of a dying eighty-two year old woman into the body of a thirty-four year-old wealthy woman who planned to drown in the ocean and leave her life of misery after being jilted by a lover.

Miranda discovers that she is there to save her friend, Olivia, and Olivia's twins from demons who have vowed revenge for sending Keara and Heinrich to long sentences in Hell. But, there's one catch. Miranda's former lover, Jared, whom she believes betrayed her in a former life, is also there incarnate. She swears she'll avoid him at all cost and stay focused on her mission: to battle a host of new demons led by Kendra, Keara and Heinrich's sister, Poseidon, demon of the sea, and the elusive Chameleon, Lucifer's demon of extreme corruption.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Show more

ShoBobbye Terry is an award-winning author in both fiction and nonfiction and has also won awards for her poetry.  She penned five published novels and numerous short-stories in collections with co-writer Linda Campbell under the pseudonym, Terry Campbell, and since then has written. a couple of dozen books solo as Bobbye Terry and Daryn Cross. She is having a “five star” July 2013 with five releases: Joy Glows, an inspirational nonfiction book, Nothing Ever Happens in Briny Bay, an anthology of her Briny Bay novellas released from Turquoise Morning Press, Like Humans Do and Like Demons Do in the Angels Walk In series and Moonlight Magic, a volume of short works.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guest Blog: Marliss Melton: Wise Crack Hero adds Comic Relief to Tense Romantic Suspense



Below is the inspiration for Tobias Burke, my hero in The Enforcer (Book 3 Taskforce Series), coming July 31, 2013. You see, Tobias is famous for wearing T-shirts with snarky, smart-aleck comments on them like LET ME DROP EVERYTHING AND WORK ON YOUR PROBLEM.


If you read The Guardian, you remember Tobias as the secondary character who, at the climax of The Guardian, stood next to the attorney general of the U.S. Justice Department during a televised news report wearing a T-shirt that read, I’M WITH STUPID, and an arrow that pointed straight at the AG! Toby’s got guts.

So by now you know that he’s a bit of a prankster. But did you know that he can play the guitar and sing, too? It’s not easy to pull off a singing hero. Toby used to be an U.S. Army Ranger, and now he’s a bad-ass ATF special agent, assigned to infiltrate a militia and inform against its supposedly murderous, unstable leader. When that leader proves to be a beautiful redhead struggling with PTSD, Toby’s conscience rears an unexpected head. Since when did he feel guilty about using his charms to elicit information? But Dylan strikes him as especially vulnerable, so instead of informing on her, he finds himself wanting to protect her. Here’s a snippet from the book that captures his internal struggle: 

The memory of her curves sliding down the front of his body kept him warm despite the chill. Under her frumpy sweat suit, Dylan Connelly was all sleek, toned muscle and soft curves. Her breasts without the benefit of a bra were fuller than they’d looked—he’d received that pleasant surprise when she’d cuddled against him. 

And then there was the way she’d looked at him. He’d seen that look of awareness in many a woman’s eye. There was no mistaking he could rock her world and vice versa if it ever came to that. Hell, if Ashby hadn’t crossed their path, he’d have stolen a kiss to warm her from the inside out and left her with something to really think about.

The thought flooded him with mixed feelings. As enticing as kissing Dylan might be, was it fair to seduce a woman as mentally and emotionally vulnerable as she was? It just didn’t seem . . . ethical.  

The phone in his hand emitted an electric shock, in lieu of a buzz. That was how it got his attention when it was buried in his jacket. Toby glanced down at Ike’s reply message, and his heart sank.

We need details, the team lead had texted. Work your magic on the leader. 

In other words, keep up the sweet talk and the flirtations. All righty, then.

In spite of his misgivings, Toby tingled at the thought of pursing Dylan in that way. He didn’t doubt could eventually worm his way into her bed. Getting her to confide in him would be easy after that. 

The only thing that bothered him was the need for deception.

Still, duty was duty. If she could terrorize civilians who failed to meet her code of expectations, who was to say she couldn’t blow up a car with someone in it? A little probing might lead to uncovering some dark, ugly truth about her.

So be it. He couldn’t waste time debating the morality of his actions. After all, he was a servant of the people, sworn to defend them, even those whom Dylan disapproved of.

Deleting any record of his text, he rehid his phone inside of his jacket and stuffed it deep into his bag.

Look for The Enforcer coming to your favorite online retailer July 31, 2013. (The cover has yet to be revealed!) Visit www.marlissmelton.com for more information.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

PERSISTENCE





“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” 
 
Calvin Coolidge

This is one of my favorite quotes. I kept a copy of it tacked to my bulletin board in my cubby at work. I used it to remind myself that if I wanted to publish books I had to keep writing through rejections, setbacks, disappointments and the advice of naysayers who told me to give up. Another quote I read early in my writing career, “Writers who give up never publish,” became my mantra.
When I started writing seriously with the hope of publication (I’d written poetry and started a historical romance during my teen years), I had an uphill fight to battle my own self-doubts. I joined RWA, found a newly formed local chapter of RWA and proceeded to learn all I could about the creative and business sides of writing. 
There were ten of us in that new chapter, most newbies like me, a few more seasoned writers, none of us published. This was before ebooks and indie publishing. Only print publishers existed then and we were all desperate to sell to one of them. I think if you’d taken a poll of the members at that time and asked which of us was the least likely to publish, they’d pick me. Maybe that’s my insecurity talking, but I felt they were all so much more talented. Whenever we had a critique session, I’d come home feeling whipped, tail between my legs, convinced I’d never sell a book. Out of that group, I’m the only one still writing seriously, and only the third one to publish anything.
Two of those original ten members, who wrote as a team (I consider them one writer) became my mentors and I’ll be forever grateful to them. They were excellent writers and we all knew they’d publish. And they did. They went on to publish six books with Kensington. Then they quit and dropped off the Earth, or so it seems. I’ve lost contact with them and I don’t know why they quit writing. It makes me sad because they were my friends and were very talented writers. Another member sold one book to an epub, a very good book, then quit. She now spends her days babysitting her grandkids. That’s her choice. I suspect she wanted to publish a book to say she could, and that was it.     
That chapter broke up a long time ago and I’ve lost touch with most of the members. I do know they’ve all stopped writing, except for one member, a good friend and critique partner, who has  been writing the same book for fifteen years. She is very talented, and even sold a short story to a national magazine when she was in high school. She decided a long time ago that her husband’s needs would always come before her own. He doesn’t like her to write so she only writes when it doesn’t interfere with something he wants to do. That wouldn’t be my choice but she seems happy with it. It saddens me to see talent wasted.
Many people decide they want to write a book, then for whatever reasons, they stop. Life interferes and priorities change. I get that. I’m not faulting anyone for giving up their writing and going onto other things. I admit that, despite my determination, there were times when I considered quitting. Times when I’ve felt beaten down by rejections. Writing is not for the faint-hearted. A writer has to have the soul of a poet and the hide of a rhinoceros. Sometimes my hide wasn’t thick enough. But I pulled myself up out of the murky waters of gloom and kept writing. 
Was I more talented than the others in that original chapter? Absolutely not. Luckier? I doubt it. Did I persevere? Hell, yes. Despite rejections, mean-spirited letters from agents and editors, mean contest comments, I kept going. I went to workshops, conferences, learned all I could. After ten long, hard years, I made my first sale, to Avalon Books.
When I joined RWA, a controversy was brewing over whether the organization should allow unpublished authors to be full members. Some published authors believed all of us unpublished ones should be kicked out of RWA. I’ll always remember a letter to the editor published in RWR Magazine, written by a published author. She said the vast majority of us unpublished writers would never publish (she was right, but her tone was very mean-spirited). She went on to say that if we weren’t getting positive rejection letters and winning contests, we had no business writing and to just go away and quit tainting the organization. I wasn’t winning contests or getting positive rejection letters. Quite the contrary. Did her remarks make me quit? No. They made me angry and more determined than ever to prove her wrong.
            Writing is so much a part of me I can’t quit even if I never sell another thing. The moral of this little essay: if you have a fire in your belly for something, don’t let your own self-doubt or the misgivings of others keep you from your dream.
I hope all of you, writers and non-writers, take inspiration from this. Never give up and don’t listen to the naysayers.


The picture above, taken June 2013, is of me and my cousin Luigi who was visiting from Italy. My husband and I acted as his tour guides to Philadelphia and Luigi wanted to see the Rocky statue at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Who better embodies persistence than Rocky?

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's summer-time to really Feel the Heat!


Giving away an ebook of choice of first four books in The Phoenix Agency series to one lucky commenter.

 Lauren Cahill lives as quietly as she can, protecting her ability as a psychic healer. But danger brings Troy Arsenault into her life—along with scorching sex and intense emotions. Resisting him isn’t even a question, in or out of the bedroom. He protects her from the evil stalking her even as he teaches her what erotic sex is all about. When she’s kidnapped, his world is turned upside down and he employs all the resources of The Phoenix Agency to rescue her. He won’t rest until she’s back safely in his life—and in his bed for the rest of their lives.

Excerpt:

When the doorbell rang, she was gripped by a sudden attack of nerves, her palms sweating for no reason. She wiped them on her jeans and looked through the peephole. What she saw was an identification folder with a photo ID and Troy Arsenault, Phoenix Agency, in black capital letters, along with the Phoenix logo.
“It’s me,” he called through the door. “Maybe you’d better let me in before your friends out here decide to join me.”
Friends? What friends?
She cracked the door a little, and her heart sank when she realized some of the reporters and photographers had wandered back closer to the house, apparently hoping to catch a glimpse of her. Or to get a quick shot at her before the cops chased them away. At least they were staying off of her lawn. A cruiser would be driving by again before too long and they’d get chased away. She swallowed hard against the sudden rise of panic.
I won’t give in to it. Everything’s going to be fine. They’ll go away, and I can have my life back.
Summer slid off the safety chain and opened the door just enough for Troy to slip through. When she closed it, she hooked the chain again and turned the deadbolt. Then she turned to the man in her foyer.
She was prepared to be polite, let him do his thing and send him on his way. But when she looked at the man standing there, her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth and all her breath was trapped in her lungs. Faith had told her Troy Arsenault was a former SEAL and as far as Summer was concerned, he could have been the poster boy for recruiting. He was as tall as Mark, with a lean runner’s body and deeply tanned skin. His light brown hair was just a tad long, curling at the neck of his shirt, the kind of hair a woman wanted to run her fingers through.
But it was his face that was the most arresting. Ruggedly handsome, like Mark, high cheekbones were slashes on either side of his nose and eyes the color of melted chocolate studied her from beneath unexpectedly dark eyebrows and lashes.
Holy crap!
Her reaction to him was hot and totally unexpected and she made a deliberate effort to tamp it down. For one thing, he was only here to make sure she was safe. For another, her history with men was so unpleasant that she’d decided to swear off them completely. The last thing she needed was to have her ruthlessly controlled hormones decide to take a walk on the wild side. How terribly inconvenient that those hormones chose this particular moment to start galloping through her system again. Maybe she should have insisted harder to Faith that she didn’t need anyone.
“Looks like you’re pretty popular with the folks out there.” His mouth curved in a smile but his tone was dead serious. When she didn’t comment he asked, “You okay?”
Summer gave herself a mental shake. What was going on with her? She had a problem here and this man had kindly agreed to come check it out as a favor to her friends. This was business, not pleasure. She’d hoped for someone at least appealing to look at but Troy Arsenault had danger written all over him.
“Sorry.” She didn’t know if her hands trembled because of the mob outside or the nearness of this man. She shoved them into the pockets of her jeans.  “Thank you for coming over here, although I don’t think it was really necessary.”
“From what I saw outside, this may be a little more serious than you think.” He held out his hand. “Troy Arsenault. But you already know that, right? Nice to meet you, Summer.”
“Same goes. And the idiots outside will probably go away the next time a police car comes by.”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Yeah? Doesn’t look like it to me.”
She suddenly found herself tongue-tied. What happened next? “Um, would you like some coffee? I made a fresh pot.”
“Thanks. That would be nice.”
She led the way into her kitchen and motioned for him to have a seat at the table. Figuring the first rush of phone calls would have subsided by now, she picked up the receiver from the counter and replaced it in the cradle. Her hand hovered over it a moment as she waited to see if it rang. When it didn’t, she breathed a sigh of relief and turned to occupy herself taking down mugs and filling them. As she poured the coffee, she tried to focus on the situation and not the man. Troy Arsenault had an electric magnetism about him that made the air sizzle and scrambled her brain. And that was the last thing she needed right now.

http://www.amazon.com/Feel-Heat-Phoenix-Agency-ebook/dp/B00DSOY4R0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1374437985&sr=8-3&keywords=Feel+the+Heat

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-feeltheheat-1228441-340.html

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Books/feel-the-heat-3

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Love For Opening Scenes in the First Place

Hello romance readers and authors! This month I’ve found some really great opening paragraphs and/or lines from books I’ve personally read and enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them as well.



By Sharon Page:

“All I want, dear sister, is to have an adventure for one night.” With a dejected sigh, Diana Tiverton flopped down onto the soft daybed in her sister Ivory’s private study. Her snow-white muslin skirts billowed, then settled about her legs. The dainty white gown trimmed with peach bows made her look every inch a sweet and demure young lady—exactly what Diana was tired of being.





By Kimberly Killion:


Hidden behind a false panel, ten-year-old Calin MacLeod covered his ears with sweaty palms. The screams echoing throughout Brycen Castle were loud enough to loosen his teeth.

Lena Kinnon cried for mercy with every gut-wrenching contraction, but didn’t receive the slightest morsel of compassion from the many men present. Her position held no dignity, sprawled atop the council table like a sacrificial lamb. The wool of her soiled sark draped between her raised knees and provided her little privacy. No one wiped her brow or offered soothing words of comfort.





By Sarah Ballance:


“That bastard pushed buttons I didn’t know she had.” Daniel Hutchins tossed a piece of buttered popcorn into the spinning arms of the ceiling fan. The popcorn caught a blade and flew across the room into oblivion. “It was one thing to catch her in bed with the asshole, but damned if I ever made her scream like that.”





By Eryn LaPlant:


Jesse couldn’t bear watching his family fall apart. He wiped away the tears that stun his eyes—droplets of saline foreign to his cheeks. In all his thirty-seven years, he had never experienced anything as rough as the last five months.





One of my favorite things to discuss is a great beginning that hooks my curiosity and reels in my full attention. So, if you would like to share the opening scene from a recent book you’ve read, please do so in the comments section of this post. I look forward to reading what your favorites have been!

Renee Vincent
http://www.reneevincent.com/

Oh, and by the way, I am also blogging at Sweet N Sexy Divas  where I feature hot snippets from the very authors I featured above. What's even better is that their heroes weren't afraid to be a little soulful, sappy, or even suggestive when it came to the heroine. I'd love for you to hop on over and visit me.

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Interview of Author Cara Adams

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Cara Adams.

Latest Book: “The Alpha Takes a Mate”
Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-alpha-takes-a-mate

BIO:
Cara Adams adores erotic romance, especially ménage, BDSM, and shapeshifters. One day, someone said to her, “Why don’t you put them all in one book?” So she did.



Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Started writing the next one, and the one after that. I’d envisioned a series, and the other characters wanted their stories to be told.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The sex scenes. The characters always seem to be in a hurry to get to bed and find out more about each other.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The BDSM scenes. It’s so important to get each detail correct. Everyone has to be very much onboard with what’s happening, yet only the Dom knows the plan. I strongly believe BDSM must be safe, sane, and consensual, and that can be quite hard to explain in the middle of a scene without slowing down the pace of the story.

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: They all arrive in my mind with their own distinct personalities, habits, and body features. It may be hair and eye color, or certain physical properties, or habits like bossiness, shyness, and so on, but they’re all very different and individual. One even turned up with a pet kitten. Some of them do keep secrets from me and surprise me part-way through the book, but it’s never a physical attribute.

Q: What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: All my editors have said my characters are strong and individual, quite clearly different from each other.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: Suspense. I really want to make the suspense in my books more powerful, but my characters are so determined they keep solving problems faster than I can think them up.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
http://www.caraadamsromance.blogspot.com
http://www.bookstrand.com/cara-adams
https://www.facebook.com/cara.adams.902

BLURB:
Taige York, Eve Lang, and Ginnie Thomas move to an old schoolhouse to turn it into a craft market. Taige’s well-rounded body calls to Jasper Lyall, Alpha of the nearby werewolf pack, and also to Cornelian Bardolph, his right-hand man. But the pack is not happy with humans living so close nearby and especially not with their Alpha befriending one.

While the three women are cleaning up the old building and turning the schoolhouse into a craft market, and Jasper and Cornelian are busy getting to know Taige in human form, and trying to find out whether she likes BDSM sex and werewolves, the rest of the pack is set on preventing Jasper and Cornelian from spending time with their woman. Then the pack decides to frighten the humans right away from the area. And Jasper still hasn’t gotten around to mentioning the word “shape-shifter” to Taige yet.

EXCERPT:
Taige York was bouncing up and down with happiness, her hair flying around her as she laughed and danced and clapped her hands. “We got it. We got it. We got it!” she crowed happily.

“Yeah. Likely that means it’s even more decrepit and rundown than we thought,” said Eve soberly.

Taige stared at her friend. “Ever the realist, Eve. But we did ask that sexy architect dude to look at the place, and he said that ‘structurally’ it’s sound. The walls aren’t going to fall down or anything.”

“It’s just that half the roof leaks,” Eve continued to complain.

“Not a problem. Ginnie and I’ll fix it. And it’s pretty much only wrecked over the porch anyway. Not the schoolroom, which is where we’re going to have our craft market.”

“Your wall hangings won’t get wet, Eve. And as Taige said, we’re not afraid of heights. How hard can it be to replace a bunch of broken tiles?” said Ginnie, smiling at Eve and Taige.

The three women, best friends since elementary school, were standing in the grounds of the old schoolhouse—make that the very old schoolhouse—that they’d just bought.

Taige tried to look at the building critically, but that was too hard. In her eyes it was damn near perfect. The first stone had been laid in 1810, and the building had been finished and in use the following year. It had been used less and less this century though, with farming families moving into town and school busses collecting the last few children in this area. So the county had decided to sell the building a year ago and it’d been on the market ever since, the price gradually dropping lower and lower, until the three friends had purchased it last Saturday. Today they’d signed the papers and now were ready to enter it, each holding her own key.

It was just an ordinary-looking key. Taige would have preferred one more in keeping with the age of building, perhaps a foot long and made of iron. She grinned. Yeah, she was a tad romantic, but who wouldn’t be, looking at this beautiful old structure. So what if it wasn’t a school anymore. It was still incredibly beautiful with solid, faded yellow limestone walls, high windows, and a bell tower reaching right up to the sky.

Likely she’d be spending the first week or two sweeping and dusting inside though. The place needed a really thorough cleaning before they could actually move into it.

The three of them were going to live in one of the four school rooms. The one on the back right side had a sturdy wooden door that could be closed off. It would become their apartment. One of the front school rooms would be where they displayed all the crafts and held their craft market. The other front school room they’d use as their creative space where they’d work on their crafts.

The third and final room they could use for storage, and packing and shipping items they sold. They already had websites—cross-linked to each other’s—and steady online sales and orders. Apart from the fact that the only bathrooms were outside the old building, the place was completely perfect. It was way bigger than an average house or regular sized store, there was heaps of parking for customers in the old schoolyard, and it fit their budget. Who the hell cared if the porch roof leaked!

Ginnie gave Eve and Taige each a gentle push. “Come on, let’s go inside and choose our work spaces and decide where we’ll put everything in our apartment.”

Taige followed the others to the big double doors. They used the metal bars to bolt them wide open and let the sunshine and fresh air into the old building. Then, holding hands just like they’d done all those years ago as five-year-old kindergarteners, they stepped across the threshold into their new home together.

It was cooler inside, but the realtor had promised the furnace worked and that was written in the contract. Eve had heard horror stories of people spending thousands of dollars on furnaces, and had insisted on the clause, so they knew they’d be warm and toasty in winter.

They were standing in the porch facing the hallway. This area was big enough for the students to wait out of the rain and snow until school began, and had built-in benches for the children to sit on around the walls. It was the perfect place to talk with potential clients about their crafts. A hallway bisected the building with two classrooms on both the right and left of the hallway.

When she looked down at the floor Taige almost groaned. It didn’t look like the tiles had been cleaned this century. It was hard to tell what color they ought to be. She bent down, spat on her fingers, and rubbed. Okay, not tiles, stone. Well it’d be easier to scrub the floor clean than to have to polish wooden floorboards she supposed.

“Come on,” said Ginnie impatiently. Taige grinned. Ginnie Thomas was the most outlandish one of them, Eve the staid one. Ginnie’s hair was razor-cut short, the same dark brown as her eyes. She had a pierced nose, two pierced eyebrows, and a bellybutton piercing as well, currently only visible under a cropped T-shirt when she stretched. Ginnie was the artist among them, a genius with pencils, charcoal, and paints.

Eve Lang was a tall, slender blonde, with gray eyes, and her shoulder-length hair in a neat braid. Eve was an expert in yarn craft including giant wall hangings which would display absolutely brilliantly on the high walls of the school.

And herself. Short and chubby with black hair, dark brown eyes and a surprisingly successful business making bead and wire jewelry, and, more recently, resin jewelry. Taige wasn’t too sure why these two wildly talented people put up with her, but they did, so it was all good.


Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having me here today!

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