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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Don't Quit, or You Won't Get Published

Why keep writing if you get a hundred rejections or more? The answer is simple because if you quit you most certainly won't be published.  If you want your stories out there you have to keep writing.

I received over a hundred rejections from editors and agents before I was published.  It's depressing to get the 'big R,' but if I had quit with the story I'd receive 93 ( yeah, that's a lot) I would never have a book in print. 

It's tough and humiliating to get turned over and over.  You think you can't do it any longer.  You even want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over your head and never get up again.  It's excruciating to keep going.  If you stay with writing, it will get easier, but it's always going to be tough. 

"Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely." Quote by Jessamyn West.

"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."  Quote by Richard Bach.

There are many people who are great writers, but they gave up because they were rejected. Life is tough, but if you want something you keep working. 

On September 13th, my book, A Fool's Fool came out in audio.  Here is the link: 

Tag:  Pranks are carried too far.

Blurb - Kathy O'Reilly, a strong-willed woman doesn't allow men to walk over her or anyone else.  When one of the co-owner's of Gagsters, Norm Jokes, is allowed to get away with playing pranks, she speaks up to her boss.

Jason Barrone, co-owner of Gagsters is attracted to his assistant and will not allow his best friend to cause him to lose her.  Jason wants them to be friends because he doesn't want to have to make a choice of who goes and who stays. 
Have a great Saturday.
Sandra K. Marshall

Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Blog: Amber Skyze: Write What You Know

Growing up my family didn’t do much traveling. In fact, the furthest I’d been is fifty miles north to Lake George. Lake George, NY is beautiful and there are lots to do. We’d go boating, walk the village and bring home tons of goodies from the shops. There’s mini golf and an amusement park called The Great Escape. It was Story Town when I was a kid. Needless to say I hadn’t been exposed to more than the mountains.

It wasn’t until I was an adult with small children of my own that I began traveling. Aside from Canada I haven’t left the country. I have traveled to California, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, and PA to name a few. Most of my books take place in a New York or Rhode Island location, because I’ve lived in both places.

If I wrote only what I knew when it came to places it’d get boring. You can only write about the mountains and beach so much. I had to branch out and explore ideas for places I’d never been. Take for instance my book Hit Me. It takes place in a casino in Vegas. I’ve never been, but I have friends who had and gave me some ideas. I’ve been to a casino in NJ, so I could picture that part of the book.

When Katalina Leon and I decided to write a series I chose Africa as the main part of the setting. Remember I’ve never left the country. I did a lot of research and with the help of Kat we created an awesome location that will leave readers breathless. The book is called Claimed By Dragons.

If I had stayed in my comfort zone and only wrote what I knew, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of escaping to some great places if only in my imagination.

What’s your opinion on writing what you know? Should you only stick to the tried and true, or do you think you should branch out?

Kat and I are offering a copy of Claimed By Dragons to one lucky commentor today. Please be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you should win!

From a very young age, Amber Skyze began making up stories–the only child syndrome. Telling tall tales to all her friends she never dreamed of putting words on paper. In fact if anyone asked her if she would write when she grew up, she’d have laughed.

It wasn’t until raising children and reading all those romances that she decided–hey, I can write these. HA! Easier said than done.

When not crafting hot, steamy tales, this New York transplant now resides in Rhode Island with her husband, four children (who force her to work a day job), and three dogs.

She currently writes for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id and is self-published.

In an odd Wiccan shop in Salem, Jael pulls an unusual stone from a witch’s wish bag. Little does she know her wildest dreams of becoming a respected photojournalist and enjoying a torrid affair with two gorgeous co-workers are about to come true—in spades.

Jael’s dreamy boss, Roarke offers her the photo assignment of a lifetime – a safari to Mount Kilimanjaro. The African scenery is stunning but even more so is the unexpected arrival of her two office crushes, Roarke and Kypton.

Alone for the first time, things heat up fast. Just as the trio is getting steamy at a beautiful waterfall, fate intervenes. The guys are forced to take dragon form and abduct a terrified Jael. She's whisked away to their mountain liar on Kilimanjaro.

The cave is really a love nest. Jael becomes the semi-willing captive of two Marduko dragon men. She discovers the truth about their origins and explores the many erotic possibilities two devoted lovers can offer.

The men want to claim her forever and expect a lifetime commitment. Jael’s thoroughly seduced but doesn’t know the guys are withholding a life or death secret that will push her heart to the limits.

Buy Here:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ginger Softerware Review by Janice Seagraves

Ginger Software Review for Self-editing 
By Janice Seagraves 

 I tried out the Ginger program for self-editing. And here's what I think:

It's a big program and took a lot of space on my laptop and slowed it way down. Going online is a pain, so after I finish trying it out, then I'll delete it off my hard drive.

It works online so staying online as you use the program is a must.

It's fast. It checks over your prose one sentence at a time and shows the sentence at the top of your screen along with the sentence with the suggested changes just underneath. You have an option of skipping or accepting the changes.

It only checks your words, not your punctuation. But it will check for correct word usage, which is great.

However, I suggest you look closely at what words are being suggested before you click on accept. Some of the suggestions on names was laughable, especially since I'm currently working on a SF Romance series, so you know some of my names are going to be far from normal.

It also corrects your email and posts online.

Here's what I think: for a free program, it's an excellent tool for self-editing. Just make sure you have the room on your hard drive before you download it. But, if you're looking for a program to check for punctuation errors, then you'll have to look somewhere else.
Janice Seagraves's website:
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Axing the Backstory

Ah, a round of applause for the backstory, all of that information that you, the writer, painstakingly put together to understand what makes your characters tick. If it weren’t for all those events from the past, the people in your book wouldn’t be where they are at the start of the story. However, sometimes you fall head-over-heels in love with your backstory, excited to impart every miniscule detail, because surely the reader will adore it as much as you do. You decide to showcase it. Why not tell all about what happened in the past before the hero and heroine go on their journey? It deserves to be put there at the front of the book, right? Not!

If there is anything that signals a newbie, it is the writer’s dump at the beginning of a novel—one big pile of doo-doo. I judge a lot of contests, and, in everyone I judge, at least one of the entries has pages of backstory at the front of his novel. So, I do what I always do. I try with tender loving care to explain to the writer that his first fifteen pages need to be axed—whacked—eliminated—lost. For an inexperienced writer, the thought of losing five thousand words of his manuscript is more than he can bear. Why, he’ll be lucky if he can make his determined 70-80,000 word count (unless he’s one of those who ends up with a 220,000-word opus that could have been told in 70,000 tightly written words—you know who you are).

My co-writer and I hacked off one hundred pages of the first romance book we wrote. Was it all at one time? Shoot, no. I mean, it was our first book and the writing was cherished, every phrase labored over with tender loving care and long hours of BICHOK (Butt in chair hand on keyboard for those who don’t know). No, we did it the painful way, sort of like cutting off a finger at the first knuckle and working your way down in segments until you severed the whole hand. That’s what it felt like.

It’s not going to be easy, but the book will be oh, so much better if you lose the stuff. Most of it will come out over the course of the book anyway, but will be better off for being filtered in over many pages.

I’m better at this than I used to be, but do as I say and not as I do. I’ve given you an example of what backstory looks like at the beginning of a book and then what it looks like after it’s removed. The original opening of my novella, Frozen Assets, was written seven years before I returned to that story idea and completed it.

Here’s what it looked like then:

1889, New York City
“Dead, are you sure?” William Davis’ words came out barely louder than a whisper. His head hung in defeat.

“Completely. I sent Robert to find her myself. Seems your Julianna was ill, consumption. Her son died at her side of the same awful disease.” Millicent was pleased with how well she played the part of the sympathetic wife. Her nails dug into the lounge. Despite the fact his mistress and bastard were involved.

“I can’t say that I’m dreadfully sorry, William, but you did deserve to know what became of them. I was determined to help. Now you know.”

Published book’s opening:
Caleb Cash stared upward, panic seizing him as the huge blob of frozen matter exploded. Swirling crystals showered down. Icicles stabbed the snow, gouging the earth, piercing it like daggers. Blinding snow raged. Stinging needles slashed the army-issued blanket with a relentless rain of spikes. Pulling his coat off, he threw it over his head. Ablaze, a bright green light flashed, its blast rocketing it toward the cave. The red hot ball of flaming ash surged from the sky, prepared to claim the landscape. He turned and ran inside the cave. Sizzling heat crackled in his ears, and exploded through the opening, bent on destruction.

One starts with his father when Caleb is a child. The second one starts with action when Caleb is an adult—the action that takes Caleb on his journey. Do you see the difference? I’d love to hear your stories about losing the doo-doo, uh, I mean backstory.

Bobbye Terry writes mystery/suspense, romance, fantasies and dystopian fiction. The Shadow Knows, the sequel to Buried in Briny Bay was released a month ago. For more about Bobbye, visit her at, and .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wendy Corsi Staub Tells It All Today

Please welcome NYT Bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub. If you haven;t read her books yet, run to your virtual bookstore and start shopping. Be sure to visit Wendy's Author page at for more information!

Q: I know everyone asks this but we never tire of hearing the answer. What  started you writing in the first place? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

A: I’ve known since I was in third grade that I wanted to become an author. I’d just completed my first writing assignment, an essay on Abraham Lincoln, and my teacher, Mrs. Pizzolanti, told me I had talent. I went home from school that day and told my parents I was going to write books when I grew up. From that moment on—literally—it was my goal, and I never allowed myself to lose sight of it until it became a reality.

Q: How did you decide which genre you wanted to write it? Were there other authors who inspired you?

A: I’ve written in just about every genre there is, reinventing myself constantly as the market changed over the years. Romance, chick lit, young adult, paranormal, horror, historical, pop culture nonfiction, even screenplays. I’ve done it all. But suspense fiction has always been my first love, ever since I read Mary Higgins Clark’s WHERE ARE  THE CHILDREN in sixth grade. Two highlights of my career: a cover quote from fellow suspense author Lisa Jackson—“If you like Mary Higgins Clark, you’ll love Wendy Corsi Staub!”—and being a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award at the 2011 MWA Edgar Awards. I’d had the pleasure of meeting Mary a few times at industry events, but on that night we had a lengthy chat about juggling motherhood with deadlines—and Mary told me how much she’d loved my latest book. It was a pinch-me moment I’ll never forget. Both Lisa Jackson and Mary Higgins Clark are not only mega-talented, but gracious class acts!

Q: Do you have a favorite character that you’ve created? And if you could be any character in all of your books, which one would you choose?

A: My favorite character at the moment is Allison Taylor, the heroine of my new trilogy. She’s in her early twenties, single, and working at a glamorous Manhattan fashion magazine when we meet her on September 10, 2001, in the opening chapter of NIGHTWATCHER, the first book. But the events that will unfold the next day not only change Allison’s world forever, but they place her squarely in the path of an opportunistic, cold-blooded serial killer. By the time book three, SHADOWKILLER, wraps up, Allison is a married mother of three, living in the suburbs and ready to face the troubled past she’s never managed to leave behind. Not only do we see Allison evolve from troubled girl to resourceful and mature woman, but we see her priorities change as she resolves issues that have haunted her for a lifetime. To answer the second part of your question—I wouldn’t trade places with any of my characters, particularly in my suspense novels. I put them through hell—something I’m not necessarily eager to embrace in my personal life! 

Q: Where do your ideas for plots come from?

A: I’ve never met a writer who wouldn’t answer this question the way I will: I get my ideas everywhere, all day, every day. I just never know when I’m going to stumble across some interesting tidbit in an article or overhear a snippet of conversation between strangers that will trip the “What If” mechanism in my brain into high gear. The premise of NIGHTWATCHER (Harper, on sale 8/28), SLEEPWALKER (Harper, 9/25), and SHADOWKILLER (Harper, 1/27) stemmed from provocative information in  two different news reports I saw in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The plot for the trilogy came to me right away. But I’m a New Yorker, and it was much too raw  to work on at the time. I back-burnered the idea and waited a decade, until the time felt right to revisit it.

Q: Are any of your characters based on real people?

A: Maybe a few, here and there, over the years. But I’d never reveal which ones, other than to say they’re almost NEVER the people who think they recognize themselves—or others—in my work!

Q: Who do you think has been the greatest influence on your writing? Your career?

A: If you were to ask me who has been the greatest inspiration, as opposed to influence, I’d have a nice long list for you. But influence? To be perfectly honest: I have been the greatest influence on my own writing. I’ve always been, for better and worse, driven by ambition and self-discipline; always been an independent thinker not easily influenced by others’ opinions. I’m quite comfortable operating by gut instinct when making professional decisions. The only people I consult for career advice are my husband, my agent, and my editor—though God knows plenty of people, including strangers, are willing to offer it, unsolicited.

Q: What’s your daily writing routine?

A: I trained myself—back when my children were newborns as I was building a writing career with tight deadlines--to go straight to the computer instead of back to bed after the last wee-hour feeding. It was the only way I could find uninterrupted writing time. To this day, I get up very early, usually well before dawn, and I tend to stay at the keyboard for a solid twelve to fourteen hours a day, which allows me to really inhabit my work in progress—I live and breathe the characters, plot and setting all day, every day. I eat breakfast and lunch at my desk, but I take quick breaks to see my kids before and after school, and I exercise outdoors for about 45 minutes every afternoon. This basically is my routine seven days a week, unless I’m traveling. According to my frequent-hotel-stay statements, I spend almost a third of my life on the road these days, which makes meeting my deadlines more challenging. But I’m proud to say that of nearly 80 published manuscripts, I’ve only delivered a book late twice that I can recall, both when I hit an emotional rough spot and lost my momentum for a few months after my mom passed away.
Q: What’s next up on your schedule?

A: I’m about to hit the road to promote the launch of the new suspense trilogy, NIGHTWATCHER, SLEEPWALKER, AND SHADOWKILLER, and e-book debuts of my first six thrillers, all from Harpercollins: DEARLY BELOVED, ALL THE WAY HOME, FADE TO BLACK, IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, THE LAST TO KNOW, and SHE LOVES ME NOT. I also have an upcoming paperback reissue of LULLABYE AND GOONIGHT, a backlist title from Kensington, and just found out that LOVE, SUBURBAN STYLE, a contemporary romance I wrote as Wendy Markham, will soon be issued in ebook format by Grand Central Publishing. I’ll be basically traveling weekly from August through November, so check my schedule on my website at for updates. Between appearances, I’m working on a trio of tight deadlines for another suspense trilogy, having just signed another three-book contract with Harper.

Favorite movie:  I love those Nora Ephron romantic comedies from the ‘90s, and anything suspenseful with a twist: THE SIXTH SENSE, THE OTHERS, THE ORPHAN…

Favorite song: Anything by U2—I’m pretty much a groupie; I saw their 360 concert tour three times last summer in three different stadiums!

Favorite flavor of ice cream: I always feel like I should lie when I get questions like this, lest my readers conclude I’m a freak of nature, but the truth is—I don’t like ice cream! I don’t have a sweet tooth at all. But give me a bowl of anything salty-crunchy, preferably with salsa, sour cream or cream cheese dip, or guacamole, and I’m in hog heaven!

Favorite hero in movies or on television: No cowboys or rugged action heroes for me. I’ll take a funny, slightly neurotic New Yorker any day: Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld, Matthew Perry’s Chandler Bing on Friends, Jason Siegel’s Marshall on How I Met Your Mother—and on film, Billy Crystal in Harry Met Sally.

Favorite thing to do when not writing: travel or plan my next trip! I’ve been to 48 of 50 states and nearly every island in the Caribbean—plus as far north as the Yukon territory and exotic corners of Mexico and Central America. With my husband and sons along, I’m closing in on the home stretch of an ongoing 50-state book tour. It’ll conclude in 2013 with signings in Wyoming and Hawaii.

Monday, September 24, 2012



It’s September. That means, sadly, that summer is over. I love summer and I’m always in a blue funk when it ends. Fall can be beautiful with much to recommend it, but it’s not as much fun as summer.

Here are the top ten things I love about autumn, in order of importance.

10. I get to wear cool boots.
9.  Leaves crunching under my feet.
8.  No humidity which means my hair doesn’t fall flat like it does in the summer.
7.  Good time to travel. With the kids in school, the tourist places aren’t as crowded.
6.  The new TV season. I’m a TV junkie who studies TV Guide’s Fall Preview Issue every year.
5.  The beautiful autumn foliage.
4.  The clear, crisp air.
3.  Pumpkin. I love pumpkin. I make pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin squares, and pumpkin bread. I drink pumpkin coffee and slather my English muffins with pumpkin butter. Pumpkin ice cream is a real treat that is only available in autumn. Yum, Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream. As soon as I hear TJ’s has this seasonal favorite in, I run out and buy it. They sell out quickly. I have a great recipe for pumpkin gingersnap ice cream.
2. My birthday is in the fall.


1.  Romance stories set in the fall. I love to write stories set in autumn. There’s something romantic about couples falling in love amid the bright foliage and the crisp air. My very first short story sale to the confession magazines was titled “The Thanksgiving Dance,” and was in the November 2009 issue of True Experience. In the opening lines I mention the leaves blowing across the parking lot right before h/h meet. My romantic suspense, “Logan’s Redemption,” starts off in early November. I describe Logan as he puts up the collar of his black leather jacket against the autumn chill that sweeps down the Philadelphia streets. I’ve written several other short stories set in autumn. The beauty at that time of year sings to the poet in me.

Things I don’t like about autumn:

10.  I can’t wear sandals. I love sandals.
 9.  No fresh corn-on-the cob.
 8.  No locally-grown fruit and vegetables.
 7.  Not much sunshine.
 6.  Popular restaurants are more crowded than in the summer.  
  5. TV viewing cuts into my writing time.
  4. Dead leaves all over our lawn.
  3. School buses clogging the roads.
  2. Have to wear more clothes.


  1. Winter follows
Please tell me. What are your favorite things about autumn? What don’t you like about the season?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guest Blog: Nicole Morgan: I Finished Another Book!

Don’t we all want to scream that from the top of our lungs after we type in those magical words, The End? After all, we’ve put our heart and soul into this latest work. So, why wouldn’t we want to tell the world? Some people might think that once a book is finished our work is done and it’s time for the author to sit back and reap the rewards of their hard work.  But, oh how wrong they are. My fellow authors know how true this is.  We may have finished our manuscript but we also have to edit and polish it up before we submit it to a publisher. Once that is done, there is the inevitable waiting game. Days will tick by, and then weeks. In some cases it can take some publishers as long as two months to get back with you. When we finally receive that response email from our publisher of choice we can only hope that it holds good news.

Let’s assume it does, this is a huge celebration and a moment of pride for an author. Our work however isn’t done there though. Next comes a questionnaire for the book cover, preparing blurbs of different lengths for various promotional materials, and of course edits! Oh sure, we edited our book before we submitted it, but we are only human and there are bound to be mistakes. There are a minimum of two rounds of edits with most publishers, however when creative differences come into play the amount of edits can go on and on until all parties are convinced it is the best possible story for the reader.

Fast forward just a little bit. We’ve finished our edits, the cover is pretty and the book is set for release… we can finally breathe a sigh of relief that the hard work is done, right? Wrong again! Now it’s time to promote the book. With promotion comes a lot of hard work and tireless hours of chatting in yahoo groups, posting on facebook and twitter in hopes that with all of the wonderful books out there available to readers we are able to grab someone’s attention.

What is my point to all of this, you ask? Well, there are many authors out there, many talented authors that is, who write some pretty spectacular novels. There are authors with one book released, and there are authors with dozens released. Each and every story woven by an author is special. Whether it is your cup of tea or something you normally wouldn’t choose, it is a story that a lot of hard work went into.

So, the next time you’re looking for a book look for a new author, one you’ve never read before. Or maybe even try a genre completely different and broaden your horizons. At the end of the day you never know what you may discover about yourself. After all, books are meant to take us to another time and place. So go on… what are you waiting for… go get lost! Well, in a book that is. ;)

Nicole Morgan is an avid reader who kept having one recurring problem. Ideas of stories kept popping into her head. She ignored her desire to write until her curiosity got the better of her and she decided to research what steps she would have to take if she truly wanted to take a chance and write.

Nicole took a chance and followed her dream. She has been blessed with some fabulous opportunities and has met some wonderful people along the way. Writing is a true love to her and has brought her a new and profound happiness with every step she’s taken along the way.

Jace Walker served his country for ten years in the Army. Years of combat and war left him with invisible wounds which bring him to the lowest point in his life. In a moment of crisis, he meets his angel.
After years of being an attentive and loyal wife, Alexis Foster catches her husband’s infidelity. Her life changes as she gets divorced and becomes a single parent.

Years pass and Jace finds his angel once again. Only this time she’s no longer married. He vows to do anything in his power to sweep her off her feet and make the angel he remembered from all those years before become his. Despite her insecurities, the two find an attraction stronger than either of them anticipated.

Will he entice her into letting down her walls? Or will she entice him into finding a true and unrelenting love?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Banned By Amazon!

When I wrote Collision Course, my latest erotic romantic suspense, and my friend, Nicole Austin, designed the cover, I fabulous! Apparently not to the folks at Amazon because THE BANNED IT! CAn you believe it? So the lovely Nicole designed a second cover for me. Here, for you to check out the first and second covers and a taste of the book.

He's discovered that his boss, international businessman Charles Bennett, is actually dealing in drugs and illegal arms. Killers are on his trail and Tate Buchanan needs a place to hide and use his hacking skills to get the evidence he needs. He finds it in tiny Connelly, Texas, where he also finds hotter than hot Casey McIntyre. After six years with the F.B.I. and four years in Afghanistan marked by a disastrous love affair, Casey is trying to put both her life and her shattered heart back together. Her instincts tell her that the stranger in the family restaurant has trouble on his back but her common sense tells her to stay as far away from him as possible. Of course, common sense never paid attention to combustible chemistry and it's not long before Casey and T.J. (as he now calls himself) are spending every minute together day and night. Can he find the proof he needs before the killers track him down? And when they do, can Casey use all her skills to protect him and keep him safe?
A man-in-jeopardy story for a change, where a kickass woman uses all her skills to protect the man she's come to love.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
Casey McIntyre fired the last three bullets in her Glock 17G thirteen-round clip, hitting dead in the middle. No center mass for her. All her shots went straight to the head of the silhouette with one hundred percent accuracy. She nodded her head in satisfaction.
Since she’d left the service and come home, she started most of her days the same way. She tried to tell herself it was to keep her skills sharp but in reality, anger drove her. She still had so much of it stored up inside her, along with a world of hurt.
She trudged to the backstop, nailed up another target and took a black Magic Marker from her jeans pocket. In big letters she wrote a P and an M on the head, making them as bold as possible. At the shooting table again, she reloaded her Glock and checked to verify her H&K P30 had a full clip. The two guns were her personal weapons, much like the ones she’d been issued when she’d been attached to the Special Ops unit in Afghanistan.
She adjusted her ball cap, yanking at the ponytail poking out through the opening in back. Putting on her ear protectors and safety glasses, she picked up the Glock and sighted.
Again the first shot drilled a hole in the center of the head.
Die, Paul Marsden. You asshole. Rat bastard. User.
The next three shots, in rapid succession, stitched a straight line down the torso. With defiant satisfaction, she emptied the rest of the clip into the genital area, blowing a nice round hole in his package. The act gave her the first real sense of wiping away the past and taking control of her life since she’d come home. She had to suppress an urge to lift the gun and blow on the barrel the way old-time gunfighters did.
Reloading the clip, she fired again. By the time she’d finished, she’d gone through two more and the silhouette hung in shreds and tatters. Wiping her hands on her jeans, she tore the target down and replaced it with another. Again she marked it with initial­s—A.A.S.—and drew a circle around them with a vicious stroke. Then she picked up the Heckler & Koch, settling the familiar grip into the palm of her hand.
This time when she sighted, she aimed for center mass and unloaded the entire clip without pausing between shots. Reloading with rapid speed, she fired in the same pattern, over and over again, until she’d used all the .45mm ammo and left a hole in the silhouette big enough to drive a small car through. By then her arms were quivering, her body covered with sweat. Sitting on the bench at the loading table she forced herself to slow her breathing and her racing pulse before policing her brass and packing away her gear.
Shooting the ghost of her former lover had been cathartic but not half as satisfying as destroying the target marked A.S.S.—Col. Aaron Sherman Smart.
Good initials for him. They suited bastard that he turned out to be. A sanctimonious son of a bitch.

Collision Course is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and All Romance ebooks for ONLY 99 Cents until October 15.

Visit me at,, and follow me on Twitter @desireeholt and Facebook

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guest Blog: Larriane Wills: Will Romance Ever Die?

Romance in the future. Do you think it would be any different? I don’t recall the name of the movie, but the hero got himself frozen and woke up in the future to discover romance, touching, making love, kissing even, was all done by remote control, virtual. How sad would that be, do you think? How about role reversals? Now we fight for equality. What if in the future, women became the rulers, enslaving men? That’s an idea that has fascinated me, and one of the things I love about science fiction. The ‘what if’ pops into my head, an idea is born, and a story created. When I least expect it a ‘what if’—maybe not in those words—pops, I start looking for an answer, the answers lead to more questions, forming the story as I answer them. What if a man materialized in the air over a woman’s head and dropped at her feet? What about her character and personality would determine how she responded? And the man, how would he react when he woke. Where did he come from? How did he get there? Where did this take place? What effect will the location have on what happens next? For that matter, what was the woman doing there? You see how one question leads to another and how supplying answers builds the story? It doesn’t matter where, how, or who, not even when. Romance for me is the inter-reaction between a man and a woman. I can throw all manner of obstacles at them in any time period, but the basic romance is the same. A romance is a romance, is a romance. While one is a science fiction, my next is just as likely be a historical western or a contemporary. Past, present, and future, and in my opinion, romance will never die, no more in the future than it has in written history, fiction and fact.

Larriane Wills, a multi-genre author, also writes under the name of Larion Wills. From science fiction to western romances she holds up to her tag of ‘two names, one author, thousands of stories.’

Born in Oklahoma, but raised in Arizona she feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country. In a quiet, rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness, she presents us with unique science fiction and fantasy while under Larion still produces western and contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings, all with strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought before you didn’t care for.

At her website, , you can keep abreast of releases under both pen names, keep up with new releases through various publishers, and she invites you to contact her at

Nothing saved them from Judith’s wrath when they stole Garth from her.

Judith gave up on the world long before those fools destroyed it. She didn’t run out of her forest looking for survivors, didn’t seek out those she knew of. She wanted nothing to do with any human until Garth fell out of the sky. He aroused one emotion she had left, curiosity. Where did he come from and how did he get there? Why did he have a perfect adult body and the mind of a child? What terrified him? To get the answers she must first educate him and then protect him from the survivors down the mountain, wanting a healthy, mature male to rebuild the human race.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Plantzer Checking In....

No, that is NOT a typo. I both Plot and Pantz; hence my word 'Plantz'.

When I first began writing, I'd start with a basic idea and write whatever the muse/characters whispered in my brain. My version of childhood fairy tales, English assignments, my year-long foray into Sci-Fi followed.

I soon branched into my alter-ego's series and soon discovered the issues dealing with a time-span of five years, plus the lives of six characters. Add to this confusion the fact I wrote the first four books out of order, and suddenly I had a severely mixed-up timeline. I needed a calendar of events.

On a sheet of paper (okay; four sheets!) I listed a vague, month by month outline of what issues each character was facing. Nothing specific; just a one line phrase. For example:
Aug 1985:
E: Feeling hostile about alcohol counseling
A: Matt comes home; only sees her three times in 2 week period
K: Meets Kyle
G: Nothing yet
C: Back solidly with Bryan
S: Nothing yet

I wrote Wild at Heart and my NaNo project, Teacher's Pet, off the top of my head. I let the characters lead me.

Appetite For Desire and All She Ever Wanted were inspired by a cooking muse (can you tell I was watching waaaaay too much Food Network in 2008, lol?) and started with snippets of conversations and some of my favorite recipes. I knew how each would end; what I didn't know was HOW they would get from sexual tension to HEA.

Three years ago, I began six wips with nothing more than a slight character sketch. Guess what? They all stalled out on Ch 2, because I didn't have a clue where they were going and the characters refused to talk to me.

Edits and marketing for ASEW took over; writing took a back seat.

Off The Clock was a nice surprise, as was the morning a disgruntled worker demanded I write down his words. Model Behavior came to me during an insomniatic night (insomniac??), fully formed: The beginning, Chapters 2-5, and the ending. But before I could finish Ch 3, Class Reunion took over. I knew exactly where the plot was heading, but the details were fuzzy until they showed up at my fingertips. So is it considered to be 'plotted out'? I don't think so, since I didn't know everything my characters would do in order to get to the HEA.   And now I'm having the same issues with my 1st attempt at a paranormal.  The guidelines have been laid down; they have a week to fall in love or be forever separated.  But now the hero has me bogged down with his family issues.  I have no idea when my muse will return to sort it all out!  

Same for my Zombie story; a character literally threw me a curve ball and now I have to deal with a surprise twist in their relationship.  Why can't characters behave?  Because then the story would be too boring and predictable?  Geez.....

Detailed outline= Plotter
Vague idea= Pantzer

Vague outline+ Vague idea= Plantzer

That's my story and I'm sticking to it:)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Guest Blog: Susannah Sandlin: Battle of the Sexes, Author-Style

I realize this is a blog for readers and writers of romance, and most readers and writers of romance are women, but bear with me a moment.

I’m sort of astounded, you see. On my book blog, I recently came across an urban fantasy title by a debut author who respectfully requested, on behalf of her publisher, that her gender not be revealed. In other words, by remaining “gender-neutral,” she is in essence posing as a guy in order to appeal to a broader readership. I went along with her wishes, of course, but it really made me think.

On one hand, I understand the rationale. Survey after survey, blog discussion after blog discussion, male readers have said they are unlikely to read books written by women—or at least are more hesitant to do so. The reasoning? Books written by women are more likely to have that objectionable emotional stuff in them, they say. They can’t identify with the heroines, and the heroes are unbelievable. (I recently wrote a post for this on the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog if you’d like to check it out.)’

On the other hand, I’m kind of outraged, and the more I think about it, the more bothered I am. What does it say about our society, and our industry, if the only way a woman can publish a non-romance title and be accepted by a broad audience of both genders, at least in certain genres, is to pretend to be male or hide behind a “gender-neutral” pen name? By following this marketing rationale, is the publisher being smart, realistic, or perpetuating a cultural stereotype we should be well past?

George Eliot, anyone? George, aka Mary Anne Evans, was one of the most respected of Victorian novelists, who assumed a male pen name so her work would be taken seriously and not lumped in with the romance-driven (and thus not serious) work being written by women. Had she written Middlemarch or Silas Marner under the name Mary Anne Evans, would those books still be considered among the best novels of their time or would they have been dismissed and fallen into obscurity?

Seriously, have we not moved beyond the Victorian age?

(To be fair, this works both ways. The fabulous fantasy author Daniel Abraham writes urban fantasy under the gender-neutral MLN Hanover name, although he’s been open about it. But if you’re scanning book jackets and look at the covers of his Black Sun’s Daughter series, you’d assume the books were written by a woman because of the kickass heroine on the cover, a la urban fantasy.)

It’s a real issue. I’ve had guys—quite a few of them—admit somewhat sheepishly that they liked the first book in my urban fantasy series (under the Suzanne Johnson name), much to their surprise, although a couple wanted assurance that the light romantic element wouldn’t get out of hand in future books. If the series were being written by S.M. Johnson, would it have gotten a bigger male readership? Probably not, because the cover screams GIRL. Gender-neutral’s cover was very, um, gender-neutral, so this was a carefully designed marketing plan on her publisher’s part.

Would guys like the paranormal romance series I write under the Susannah Sandlin name if it were written by S.M. Sandlin? Would my readership double by tricking guys into reading a book written by a woman?

Conversely, am I more likely to read a book written by another women than by a male author? I honestly don’t care. Looking at my shelves of favorite series, it’s about a 60-40 female-to-male ratio.

Maybe instead of trickery I should just look at “gender-neutral” as savvy marketing.

I’ve spent more brain cells than it was probably worth, wondering if I would have gone along with my urban fantasy publisher had they asked me to keep all my blogs, email addresses, Twitter ID, Facebook profile, etc., “gender-neutral.” I don’t know. (I mean, what a pain in the bohonkus. I have enough trouble keeping track of myself without attempting to also create a “gender-neutral” identity!)

What are your thoughts on this? Am I being na├»ve to wish we’d gone beyond the marginalization of female authors? Would you (or do you) write as a “gender-neutral” author, and has it broadened your market? Are there guys writing romance under women’s pen names for the very same reason?

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night! A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch, and always fancied herself living in Cornwall (although she’s never actually been there). Details, details. She also is a fan of Stephen King. The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana. Her novel Redemption won the paranormal romance category in the 2011 Chicago North RWA Fire and Ice contest, and is the first of three in a series that debuts this year. Book two, Absolution, will be released September 18 and book three, Omega, on December 18.
BLURB: ABSOLUTION (The Penton Legacy, Book 2)
Release date: October 9, 2012 -Publisher: Montlake Romance

With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal. When the descendant of a powerful shaman is sent to bring Penton's second-in-command back under Tribunal control, will Glory Cummings help Mirren Kincaid find absolution for his ruthless past, or will she turn him back into the Tribunal's killing machine?

 It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and the power of one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Punographics and more

The world and its problems suddenly leave me wanting to escape from all the bombastic political stuff going on right now. I’ll be a good girl and vote, of course, but nothing is likely to change my mind at this late date. So I’m putting it aside and going to give some punographics.
1. I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

2. I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

3. PMS jokes aren’t funny. Period. 

4. When chemists die, they barium. 

5. Broken pencils are pointless.

6. Velcro---what a rip off! 

7. The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government’s fault. 

Don’t you feel better now? Courtesy of John Milosh, I have a bunch more if everybody clamors to read more.Just let me know.
And naturally I’ve got to, just gotta get in a plug for my newest release from Ellora’s Cave. Stormy Pursuit made its debut TODAY, and I’m thrilled to see it published. Release day is always so special. This is the second in what I hope will be a series of eight on my sexy, pointed ear elves.

Blurb for Stormy:

How can the twin daughters of Lars, that powerful elf, manage to get in so much trouble? Both of them falling in love at the same time with men who they think they can never have! When Lars sets out to bring down a villainous enemy will he manage to save his daughters? Or lose them and their loves in a fiery death engineered by the villain? 

“I’m happy to see you, Chief Inspector,” she murmured. “How nice of you to call.”

He shot her a disgusted look. “Don’t be coy, Lady Quinby. You know very well this is not a nice call.”

Quinn’s heart skipped a beat. Nothing underhanded about this man. She raised her eyes and looked into his, almost staggering with the impact as his dark eyes met her green ones. She knew she should trust him with all her secrets, but she didn’t quite have the courage. However, she’d make a start. She couldn’t bear to let this animosity continue when she longed for him to wrap her in his arms and kiss her problems away. Why did she have to fall in love with the one man she couldn’t have?

Even as the thought reverberated in her brain, she realized with a shock she’d done exactly that. She’d fallen irrevocably in love with a man who’d hate her if he knew who she was. She took a few steps closer, her eyes pleading and touched his chest with both hands.

The response was instant. Swept up in strong arms, he captured her lips with a deep kiss. Plunging an expert tongue into her mouth that swept around and then settled into a plunging motion that had her clinging to him. He seemed to relish the taste of her. He acted as if he could not get enough of kissing her in this new but welcome matter. He had her not only clinging, but trying to get every inch of her against his solid frame. She squirmed against him, loving his strong body and perfectly agreeable to anything he wanted to teach her.

Instead he put his hands on her shoulders and pushed her away. Not roughly, thank the gods above, but still he set her from him.

“Quinby. You’ve got me at a disadvantage here. How can you kiss me like that if you’ve taken Phillips as your lover? I didn’t think you that depraved.”

She almost slapped him. How could he say such things?

Because to him the facts are the facts, and he’s seen you twice coming for Lawful Progression office, early and with no reason for being there.

“I resent that. He’s not my lover. You insult me by the implications of that remark.”

She deliberately raised her elfin ears so they were more visible. To make sure he understood, she swept her blonde hair from her face.

Max stared at her in fascination. “You’re an elf as well as your father. Do you know those ears only add to your beauty? May I touch one?”

His reverent tone destroyed any resistance she had, and she moved to his arms. He seemed consumed with wonder as he kissed the tip of each ear, gently as if they were jewels beyond compare.

“I was so afraid they’d repel you,” she muttered against his strong chest.

 He shook his head, fingering her hair and ears with a sweetly reverent touch. Then the attraction between them caught fire in relentless passion and they both exploded. He captured her lips with possessive greed as they clung to the other and learned the glories of each other’s body. His hands trembled as they roamed over her, cupping her breasts first, then moving down her as if he seemed to want to savor every curve. He explored her body quickly but thoroughly, lingering over her curved hips, then moving his large hands over to her stomach. Quinn’s body quivered beneath his touch." 

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