Friday, April 30, 2010

Change is a constant in life

Happy Friday everyone. I'm blogging in place of Joann today since Joann's at the Romantic Times convention.

Have you ever noticed that life is ever-changing, ever-evolving?

"To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together..."
The Byrds

Every once in awhile, I'm aware of different aspects of my life changing, growing. It's much like shedding a skin, moving up a staircase, changing my clothes.

We outgrow behaviors, people, things, or in my case the way I write. When I first started seriously writing 2 years ago, my writing was weak. Now, it's much stronger, and it's constantly evolving. And this isn't a bad thing. Our world is constantly changing and really, if we are to survive, we must change as well.

Change or die. Incidentally, that was the theme of my last book. I guess it's been on my mind.

When you come to a crossroads in your life and you know you must leave a relationship, change a career, make a difficult choice, how do you handle it? Do you prefer to make the change quickly, like tearing off a Band-aid or do you let it eek out over the course of days or weeks?

Do you resist change with all your might or do you embrace it openly and without fear?

What's my point? I'm not sure. I just have a feeling change is in the wind and I think I like it...

Today is April 30th, which means Blogmania is going on. Over 100 blogs are involved and each one is giving away a prize. I'm participating with my Believing is Seeing blog. Rules of my giveaway are on my post, but to sweeten the pot for readers of the Paranormal Romantics blog, if you leave a comment, you'll be entered in a second contest for a different prize. Just mention on your comment you linked there from Paranormal Romantics. http://sandrasookoo.wordpress.com/

Good luck and have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Big 'D'

Hey Y’All!

When I sat down to write my current Work In Progress I thought it was going to be a little short story for an open call. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do. I know that must sound funny to non-writers, or maybe to some writers too, but the truth is that while I love all of my work, I love them all differently.

Sometimes I write something that I just fall in love with, body and soul. I think about it constantly, I almost can’t sleep because of it; I wake up wanting to write it. That’s this Work In Progress, which is wonderful. Except that now the crazy doubt that comes when I write something I’m this invested in has started to rear its ugly head.

If my critique partner doesn’t seem to love it as much as I do, I doubt. If I struggle through a scene, I doubt. I suddenly start to wonder if it’s too dumb, too clichéd, too over the top.

This time, however, and I’m going to attribute it to growth, because, hey, why not? I didn’t stop writing for even a second because of the doubt. That has to count for something, right?

How about all of you? When it comes to your writing, do you ever have a confidence problem?

On that note—I’d always like to invite you to join me all week at the Love Those Shifters blog. If you leave a comment, you will be entered to win a t-shirt and a download of one of my Westervelt Books.

Best To All of You!

Rebecca

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Good, Bad and Scary of my Muse...

...so, this week I've been doing nothing--well writing wise that is. I finished my dragon novel a few weeks ago and spent last weekend editing it up for the umpteenth time. I finished a short story last week, also featuring a dragon.

Apparently dragons are on my mind.

So, I vowed for this week I'd do nothing but catch up on housework I let slide during the writing process.

All was going well until (cue dramatic music here) my Muse got involved.

She doesn't like sitting around, cooling her heels, and she hates folding clothes so I suppose it was only natural she'd dig in deep and slap me upside the head with a new shiny idea for a full length book. I think we're going to shoot for 90K with this one too.

The premise this time? Straight up fantasy, old school style, except I plan to put my own personal spin on it by adding a liberal sprinkling of funny and snark. Yeah, I can't help it. And neither can my heroine. I can already feel it...

Anyway, the book is still in the planning stages and yes, I am a plotter and proud of it :-) I've got in a basic plot and have been filling it in here and there. I know alot of the secondary players, and boy are they larger than life. There's a twist and a secret. There's a villain and there will be a love story in there along the way. Just waiting for the h/h to talk to me a little bit more and reveal their histories, motivations, etc.

This is going to be fun. Why? Because the Muse showed up for work today clad in long skirts, a chain metal shirt and a sword belt slung around her hips.

Needless to say, it's on. I've never attempted a fantasy like this. It's a bit intimidating but it's exciting as all get out. I'm up for the challenge.

My question to you? If you're reading a fantasy novel, would humor distract you or would you find it a refreshing change to the genre? I'd love to know your thoughts.

I wanted to remind you all that I'll be participating in the BlogMania event on April 30th. I'm offering an awesome prize pack so drop by my Believing is Seeing blog for more details. The link is on the sidebar here.

And keep an eye peeled. Starting next week I'm kicking off my Fangs, Fur and Boys with Fast Toys Summer Blog Tour to showcase new book releases. I'll be giving away prizes with each stop. :-)

Until then, happy reading!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Paranormal Romantics Update



Happy Tuesday Everyone.

So we've added to Paranormal Romantics family. Stacey Kennedy introduced herself yesterday. We'll also be joined by D.L. Jackson on Saturdays and Sara Brookes on Thursdays starting in May.



That means Paranormal Romantics will be a 7 days a week blog.


Guest bloggers and interviews will still be part of the fun we have.

 
After spending a weekend spring cleaning and packing for Romantic Times Conference, I'm ready for some R&R. I'm a little nervous about the red dress I bought for the Ellora's Cave red party. It's not my ususal jeans and t-shirt. While my hands were busy, my mind was else where wondering who would you like to hear from? What authors, editors, and agents would you be interested in having a visit from? How about some cover models or artists?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paranormal Theology

Thank you Rebecca, Annie, and the rest of the gang here at Paranormal Romantics for having me over! Today, I’m going to talk about a topic that even sometimes makes me squirm – religion.

A few months ago, I blogged about paranormal work that was almost too religious for my liking. I dubbed it inspirational erotic joked that I didn’t like my kink with a side of “come to Jesus.” But when I step back, just about all of the paranormal stories out there have their roots in religion.

First, there’s the latest fad, angels and demons. When researching my upcoming Samhain release, Angelic Surrender, I did tons of research on Fallen Angels and the different types of demons. It was amazing to learn that angels and demons are not just confined to Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology, but are parts of the folklore of India, Japan, and Polynesia. It was fun to take bits and pieces from each religion and form my own mythology for the story.

Then there are shape-shifters. Different Native American tribes talk about men with the souls of animals living inside them or warriors who embody the spirits of their totem or clan. Sometimes the connection was so strong, warriors could become that animal. Then there are the Greek myths where Zeus became the ultimate shape-shifter to seduce his human lovers, taking forms of swans and bulls. Again, another paranormal element with religious roots.

And what about vampires? In the original Dracula, two of the seductive blood-drinker’s weaknesses were crosses and holy water. Some literary professors even postulate that vampires were the embodiment of some of the “deadly sins” – gluttony, wrath, greed, and above all, lust. Today’s vampires may not have the same weaknesses, but they still carry some of their original roots with the intimate embraces when they feed, the blood-tinged lips, and the seductive charm.

And lastly, there are witches. Wicca is a form of modern-day witchcraft, but its roots are centuries old with ties to the Druids, Celts, and Ancient Egyptians. Magic ritual and spells were important parts of these ancient religions, and their presence is still seen in the casting of spells and the calling of the five elements.

What are some of the most memorable ways you’ve seen a religion incorporated into a paranormal story? Was it a retelling of a myth? A revival of an unfamiliar religion?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cliff-hangers – Love em’ or hate em’????

First, I’d just like to say that I’m excited to join the Paranormal Romantics team and can’t wait to chat with fellow readers.

A little about me...

I love the paranormal romance genre and love a series more!! Nothing can hook me in more than an adventure and one that keeps on going. I love a page turner, one where I’m up at a ridiculous time and my eyes burn because I can’t stop reading. Witty characters, dominant men, danger, action, romance and hot sex―oh my!

My novels are heavy in fantasy, heart squeezing, thigh-clenching romance, and even give a good chuckle every now and again. I’m not a planner. I don’t write with a set idea because no matter what I plan, the characters’ voices always come through and demand I listen to them. So, I gave up trying to fight it!

The journey as a writer all began when I was a teen and wrote poetry, which still to this day I pull out to have a good laugh. Later on, I tried a couple of times to put a book together with no such luck. Couldn’t ever get past the first few chapters. But once I was exposed to the paranormal world, ideas came quickly.

At first, it was a way to keep my brain alive since being a stay at home mom can be a little let’s say―numbing. It was an escape from screaming kids, dirty diapers and plain old mom duty. It started as a hobby, but as the stories progressed it became a passion. Now, I indulge at nap time, especially the juicy bits! Every mom needs a good thrill!

So here in Kitchener, Ontario, I am a thirty one year old wife, mom, house cleaner, cook, teacher, play-doh extraordinaire, swing pusher, toddler chaser after – who loves the outdoors, curling up with the latest flick, and if I’m not plugging away at a new novel, I’ve got my nose buried deep in a good book. So there it is―my life!

My thought for the day...

Wrapping up the current novel I’m working on “A Deadly Whisper,” a conversation came up about cliff-hangers. Should I do one or wrap it up―that was the question. Well, of course the choice wasn’t mine. The characters demanded that I close off their story so that was that.

But this isn’t to say that I don’t love a cliff-hanger and haven’t used them before. In my Magical Sword Series, “The Devils Kiss,” has a wicked cliff-hanger that I am sure is going to cause a rumble. Sometimes, it needs it―sometimes it’s just cruel to do it.

What is your take on the matter?

Friday, April 23, 2010

ACE OF SPADES

I usually try to do something out of the ordinary for Friday but today I thought I'd give you a peek at my newest release, ACE OF SPADES which is a story that grew out of my love for the Poker After Dark program. (I'm in lust with Chris Ferguson...he does ballroom dancing including the tango!) ACE is available through Ellora's Cave and it is my second contemporary erotic story. I enjoyed writing it, who knows--there may be a followup in the works.

Enjoy!


An Excerpt From: ACE OF SPADES
Copyright © J.HALI STEELE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

The dealer never looked up. Cards deftly flipped through her hands and slipped between each other with only a whisper of sound against the red felt. A professional who didn’t even bat an eye, she shuffled, cut and placed the deck in front of him. He had been suckered into the stupidest bet of his life. One he’d be sorry for if the right card wasn’t pulled.

Aldan ”Ace” Spade and his three friends were regular high rollers at the Coral Sea Casino. The pit boss had allowed the dealer to veer from the game of blackjack because no one else sat at the table with them.

He’d arrived late and missed drinks with his buddies at the gentlemen’s club located in the building next to the casino. The bet was whether or not he could take home the new hostess. This time Ace played blind.

He didn’t mind taking a girl to his place but damn, he hated not knowing what she was like. The manager hired the shallowest women in the world. They all seemed to care about one thing—hanging around long enough to hook a winner with deep pockets. He could count on one hand those who had survived long enough to accomplish that feat.

He pulled a card from the deck. The dealer took hers and faced it up. Eight of diamonds. His chances of turning over a higher card were fifty-fifty. Lower and he’d be stuck with the new girl.

Ace had grown tired of his lifestyle. Weary of the nameless women traipsing through his life. Shit, he was getting soft. And knocking on forty. The thought of settling down crossed his mind a lot lately. Problem was he avoided nice girls like the plague. Too many went bad in his business. He wasn’t interested in picking up the pieces anymore. Most of his life he’d played the field, and scored more often than a dollar hooker.

He flipped his card over. Five of hearts.

“Fuck me to tears,” he groaned. “I don’t feel like company tonight.”

His friends laughed at him. Ren said, “Hope you brought cash. I don’t take checks or IOUs and I got a feeling we might win the bet tonight.”

“Christ. Is she blonde?” He hoped she wasn’t. “Come on, let’s get this shit over with. Nobody told her about me, right?”

Trace still grinned. “Tell her what? You’re filthy rich or you’re just filthy?”

He glared hard at his friends. “She can’t be any worse than keeping company with you sorry bastards. Closing time she’ll be on my arm and I don’t take IOUs either.” Wasn’t often he was turned down.

They exited the casino using the boardwalk entrance and made their way to the club. There was a nice crowd and they waited a bit before the manger approached. “Your regular table’s empty, gentlemen. I’ll send a waiter over.”

After they’d been seated a while, Ace peered around, trying to catch sight of the new hostess. Not a sign of her. Aside from the woman on stage, she’d be the only female employee. The servers were all male and two bouncers flanked the stage to make sure no touching went on there.

“Hell, maybe she didn’t make it a day.” He continued to peruse the crowded room.

“Not to worry, she’ll probably be here longer than most.” Ren’s toothy grin made him wonder. No way she wouldn’t be a knockout. So what was up?

“Just wait.” Trace’s cryptic reply didn’t help Ace any. For some reason the guys were evasive.

The dancers treated what they did like a profession. One many sneered at, but a job nonetheless. Quite a few of those he employed attended the local college. They performed here to make a buck—and the tips were phenomenal.

The Shell was known by other names—titty bar, topless bar—but it was one of the cleanest run and safest in the county. The dancers were the best and if any of them tried to handle private business on the side, they were sent packing immediately.

Ace would have it no other way.

No one knew he owned the place except his friends. Even the manager didn’t. Everything got handled through his attorney.

The only problem here existed with the damn hostesses. Most were let go for outrageously coming on to the patrons. Others just couldn’t take the rowdy men who frequented the club. He kept hoping they’d find a lady who, with finesse, would stand up to the angry, rude sons of bitches. Ace made it a point not to interfere, but if that woman ever turned up, he’d make sure she stayed.

And you knew there was a video right?

Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some Thoughts...

My Kindle Broke…

And other quasi-unimportant tragedies that have made my week so darn busy.

I’d like to start out by thanking Amazon.com. I am told that my replacement Kindle is on the way. WOO HOO.

I am, admittedly, a book-addict. It’s very hard for me to not read. It’s actually a punishment for me to go a whole day without doing any reading. So, since I read almost entirely on the Kindle now, it’s been very hard for me to go cold turkey on this problem.

Consequently, I’ve been trying to keep myself out of the house so I don’t notice that I’m not reading. What does this mean? It also means I’m not writing as much because I’m not at home to do the actual work.

So to compound my lack of reading, I am now going through writing withdrawals.

I know that Sandra Sookoo always leads us in great discussions on this blog that gets everyone really fired up. I sometimes think, as I sit down to do this, that I’d like to come up with topics like that but the truth is that I’m pretty dull in real life.

I have three children, less than five years old, all boys actually. I go to soccer games, and most recently T-Ball, I run errands, and drive children around. Yesterday was kind of exciting because I got the baby’s six-month photos done. I like to go out to eat and to watch television at night with my husband…

But in my mind I’m always on grand adventures. Outside of my writing, it’s very difficult for me to expression controversial things that might keep you all interested enough to run out here to read what I’ve written.

So I guess I’m not much of a blogger…

Truth is, I’m pretty bloodthirsty in my mind. My characters have grand adventures, huge love stories, and destinies they need to fulfill. Sometimes the bad guys win. Sometimes whom the reader initially thinks is the bad guy, is actually the good guy and ‘good’ is not always interesting in my worlds.

I’m going to continue to dream up the paranormal, I can’t seem to stop myself and I’m immensely grateful that you read them.

Gotta get back to my writing now. My heroine is about to become a vampire….

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Road Less Traveled or the Well Traveled Path?

This issue has been circling around in my brain for a few weeks now. As most of you know, a lot of my work is loaded with humor and for those that are new to my work, I urge you to check out my website http://www.sandrasookoo.com. Add to that, I like to write in whatever genre the mood strikes: paranormal, contemporary or historical with heat but not at an erotic level.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I’m not writing for the trends.

Now I realize it’s the only way to make cash in this game but I can’t help but wonder if that’s doing things the easy way. Right now, I’m not interested in writing for the trends and have always been told to write something that interests me as a reader. I’m darned proud of the books I’ve put out, just wish more people would take a chance on them.

Funny vampires? I have 'em. (Recently got my print copies of Fang Shui in the mail and they're oh so pretty) Historicals with heat and heart? Yup those to. Contemporary books that'll make you snort your drink out of your nose? They're in stock now LOL Yes, my early work doesn't have sex in it. My 2010 work does. I've evolved, in this it was a change or die kind of thing and I'm okay with it. Pretty darned comfortable writing it, but that doesn't mean I won't go back to "sweet" romance if the urge strikes. So, take a chance on me. I've got everything you're looking for. LOL

(Yeah, shameless plug but that's what the world has come to, right?) LOL

But, they're not the trends.

Depending on which publisher you look at, you'll find the trending topics to be wolves, menages, category romance, Amish romances, dom/sub stuff or M/M stories.

None of which my books fall into. That's the sad truth. It takes a village to make the publishing industry go 'round and I'm not trashing those things, I'm merely saying I don't write in them.

Yet, I continue to write what I love, what interests me, what makes me laugh, hoping someone out there will love it, too, hoping the current trends will shift and my stuff will become popular. Please God. I can entertain the crap out of you, but first, someone needs to make the trends shift and demand different stuff. :-)

So, here’s today’s question.

1. Writers—how do you tackle this conundrum? Do you write for the trends, hoping to make it big or do you throw caution to the wind and write what you love even though it probably won’t sell well at the moment?

2. Readers—are you contend to read what everyone else is reading? Do you tend to pick up a book in the same genre over and over again, or are you willing to take a chance on something different?

Can’t wait to hear what you think. Good, bad, ugly, supportive, I wanna hear it all. :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Werewolf or Vampire?

It seems that werewolves and vampires are still the biggest genres for paranormal romance. I know I love books about them. There is just something about a big gorgeous hunk of a man who can go wolf when the urge takes him, or one whose bite can bring even greater pleasure.







My two werewolf series at Liquid Silver Books have done well for me, and I must admit I love writing them. I have my Wulf’s Den series and the new spin off series, Roxie’s Protectors. All of them have the same werewolf theme with a little bit of humor thrown in. I recently had the first book of a new werewolf series published at Noble Romance, Wolves of East Anglia-Mate for a King. These wolves are a little different from my other series, but I had just as much fun writing about them.





I also have the first book in my first vampire series, Ra’s Chosen-Soul Hunger, coming out at the end of May at Ellora’s Cave. With this series I combined my love for vampires and Egyptian mythology. I finished the edits for the second book of this series the other day. I have to admit that I fell in love with reading vampire romances first before werewolf romances.

You can read excerpts for my wolves and vampires on my website HERE.

So out of these two genres, which one do you love the best? Or are you like me and love both of them?


Marisa Chenery
www.marisachenery.com







Monday, April 19, 2010

Why do you read?



A long, long time ago in a land far, far away four children climbed into a wardrobe to hide from a mean governess and fell into a new world.


I was HOOKED.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book I read from cover to cover without being told to do it by either parent or teacher. Something clicked during this journey through Narnia. I finished the book and thought, ‘So this is why people read.’ It was an important AHA moment in my life.

I think many people miss or by pass this moment, which is sad. I know more people who don’t read than do.

For me, reading is a chance of adventure. To be someone else. When I read my focus narrows and all around me tends to fade. It drives my husband crazy when I sit in my chair and laugh or cry at what I’m reading.

Why do you read?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Musical Chairs

EVERYONE knows I surf YouTube for music. Usually starts when I'm writing and I look for something to listen to. It ended up with me having songs I associated with books and with various characters. When I come upon a piece I like, I will most often listen to the myriad of renditions, or covers, of the song. It's interesting to me the different sounds and ways an artist will interpret another artist's work.

See where I'm going with this? Today I've compiled a video collage of songs and the variety of ways they have been done--and redone.

This is WHATEVER LOLA WANTS by Sarah Vaughan.


Same song by Gotan Project (with Sarah Vaughan vocals) This piece has been used often on Dancing With the Stars and other shows for tango routines. We all know how I love tango *grins* think RHYTHM OF LOVE available now at Ellora's Cave.


Here's one with a Middle Eastern flavor--I want to SEE the Nabil Ayouch movie after watching the video trailer:


Here's a song I've always enjoyed listening to, LA VIE EN ROSE. First up, the awesome Edith Piaf whose name is synonymous with this song.


Then we have Louis Armstrong's version.


Cyndi Lauper did one too! Has anyone seen her on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice?

And then there's MACK THE KNIFE by Bobby Darin...but we'll leave that for another time.

Hope you enjoyed the musical stroll. Until next time: Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sort of letting the team down today...

I’m supposed to blog today and I’ve got nothing.

Sorry guys and gals, I’m failing you today.

It’s just that my writing has me all over the place. My muse is half-asleep and not on her game. The kids are pulling me in ten different directions and I’m not doing anything all that well this week.

I will leave you with this quote:

“I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it through not dying." Woody Allan

Anne Rice started writing her Vampire novels after suffering through a tragic death in the family. The idea of the undead, never dying.

Why is it so appealing to you?


RR

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Sweet Taste of Success

No, I'm not talking about making piles of money or getting critical acclaim through reviews. I've not experienced either.

What I mean is I'm at a sweet spot in my writing, and one of my favorite times as a writer. Monday night, I finished the first draft of my dragon book and it came in at 91K. What's more, I don't hate it. It's one of the those scary good moments and I'm excited about it.

Why is this a good time? Because it means I'm in between projects, when I'm hovering on the edge of what to do now and new projects clamor for my attention.

I can't wait to see what my Muse decides for my to work on next.

So anyway, I'm off of new writing for a couple of days while I wrap up other projects I'm way behind on, like revising manuscripts and subbing them, making book videos, cleaning house LOL

Happy writing!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nothing Abnormal about the Paranormal


Happy Tuesday! I’m guest blogging today, at the invitation of Rebecca Royce, even though I’m not thought of as a paranormal author. As I thought about what topic to blog about, I came to realize that maybe I've got some paranormal in me after all! 

What is paranormal? Anything outside the norm? Websters says it’s anything “unable to be explained or understood in terms of scientific knowledge”. In that case, we live in a paranormal world. Who can explain a man’s superhuman strength when he lifts a vehicle off of a trapped child?

What about the church explosion that should have killed the usually punctual choir members, but no one was injured, when each of them was late to practice that day due to varying reasons?

So many things in life can’t be explained. How did my mother know to show up at the hospital when I was in labor with my third child, before I called her? She said she just knew she had to be there, and so she went. (This also explains why I never got away with anything growing up, but that’s another post.)

My book Préjà Vu could be called a paranormal story. Although I don’t have any shifters or vamps, the heroine Ryann is a psychic, who sees glimpses of future events each night. Then she has to make sense of it, and live with the consequences. Here's a little excerpt:

Ryann grabbed her purse and the folder with the sketches she’d done the night before, then hurried out the door and into the waiting car.

“You look like shit.”

Ryann looked at her friend, who was steering back into early morning traffic. “Thanks a lot, Ashley. I know I can always count on my best friend for some encouraging words.”

“You also know that you can count on me to tell you the truth.” She shot another appraising glance at Ryann who had flipped the visor down to check the truthfulness. “Did you stay up all night working on those drawings?”

“No, actually they came together surprisingly fast. I was done by ten. Wait ’til you see them; I added an atrium on the south facing entrance. Remember how Mr. Brackus wanted to bring the outdoors in?”

“Yeah, I can’t wait to see them. Your architectural genius never ceases to amaze. Now, tell me what’s up. You had a dream, didn’t you.” It wasn’t a question.

Ryann sighed, and pressed three fingers against her forehead, as if that would keep the vision from beginning again. “I had a dream,” she said simply.

Ashley kept silent throughout the remainder of their commute. Ryann was glad for it; Ashley seemed to know when to push and when to back off. Soon she drove the little four-cylinder hatchback into the covered parking garage and parked. It took a moment for them to adjust their eyes to their dim surroundings. Ashley cut the engine and turned toward her friend. “So do you want to tell me about it? I assume it was a death dream this time, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking like a corpse yourself.”

Ryann’s dreams had been a daily discussion since the two met in college. Ashley was the first person Ryann trusted enough with her secret, and since she believed Ryann without question, she’d become more than just a confidante.

Ryann met her best friend’s gaze. “Yes, it was a death. A murder.”

“Oh, God.” Ashley groaned.

“I know.”

A murder meant that Ryann and Ashley would spend the next few days trying to find the victim before the event. The possibility that the complete stranger would be found before being murdered was practically impossible, but Ryann couldn’t pretend that she didn’t know about it. If there was any way she could save a life, she would.

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two positions you can take. Either you believe that nothing in life is a miracle or you believe that everything in life is a miracle.” Makes sense, huh? The next time I credit good luck, coincidence, or a crazy dream...I'm going to think twice.

Thanks to the ladies at Paranormal Romantics for allowing me to meet you all. Take a moment today to appreciate the paranormal in your lives.

~Alanna Coca

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Happily Do You Like Your After?

Happy Manic Monday. Pull up a chair and pour a cup of coffee. I’ve got some Jamaican Blue Mountain brewing.


Anyone who knows me or follows me knows I’ve been struggling ALL weekend with a plot to my next work in progress. This story came to me in a dream of all places and has taken over my brain. The characters are all developed and the world building has begun but I can’t move forward until I know how it’s going to end.

I can’t find a happily ever after. My poor characters are put in a situation where they need to find happiness in what they have. Is that good enough?

A-Happy-For-Now is slim possibility. How disappointed would you be as reader if a heroine/hero can find a sort of happy ending? What do you NEED to be satisfied and not stomp on the book when done?

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's Furday...

err...Friday!

I haven't done furry creatures for a long time. So I went hunting around the web yesterday for some baby fur balls. Boy, I love looking at little animals! They're cute, cuddly and carefree. At least those who haven't come up against the real world yet.

This thought was on my mind because I'm close to finishing the next book in the Extra Cream series. Zader's Menagerie is a little different in that it is about the Kind species, but this time--I'm bringing out the big dogs. Yes, there are wolves infected with the vampyre curse. Talk about howling at the moon! I think the title gives away the fact that it's a menage. It's been tricky mating a mountain lion with a wolf who is the pack alpha's mate! Hey, that's the fun of creating new worlds.

Here's an unofficial blurb:
Zader Montana is Sovereign Kind. A cougar infected with vampyre blood, he refuses to embrace his undead half but it’s that part of him who prowls the night looking for the she-wolf he desires. His problem--she’s mated to the alpha of the pack sharing his mountaintop.

Skye wants a taste of the cat who trails her every night. Will her mate, Leaf, let her have a bite? They’re infected with the vampyre curse too but the wolves aren’t finicky. Skye’s willing to be shared by both leaders--as long as she gets what she wants!

Zader’s Menagerie: This cat will learn to howl at the moon--and like it!

Stay tuned for more information.

In the meantime, aren't these little critters beautiful?

Don't mess with a Tasmanian Devil's babies!
Yes, I 'm a Meerkat Manor fan.
                                                                                                                        This is one determined Snow Fox.



Don't worry, Momma cougar will reach him!


A baby Tapir

Meet Lord Greystoke who appeared in With Extra Cream as 'Big Guy'. This is my baby.









Until next time: Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'll read it if you tell me to

Oh god I have to blog tomorrow…

This has been a very good week for me, reading wise. You see, Lora Leigh’s book Lion’s Heat came out and Juliana Stone released His Darkest Hunger. It’s been hard to write because all I want to do is lose myself in their stories.

So, I forgot to Blog. So forgive me if I’m a little crazed.

But here is my blog for today and it’s not a copout, I really want to know.

Whose books are you anticipating coming out? You can’t wait to read them?

I’ve just told you about how much I loved Lora Leigh’s book (JONAS and it was so worth the wait) and how much I just fell in love with Juliana Stone’s work. She’s a brand new author and so talented.

How about you guys out there? Tell me, tell me. I read all the time. I’ll read it if you tell me to!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A contest within a contest

Today is your lucky day--well hopefully!

I'm having a contest. It's more like a contest within a contest, actually. You see, I have a few book releases happening this summer and I'm searching for a really cool contest idea to promote them all.

I'll call it the Summer of Fangs, Fur and Bad Boys with Fast Toys.

You'll find out a little more later with the first release in May. And no, I'm not gonna say any more about it until then.

So, here's what I'd like to ask you. What do you want to see in a contest? Free book, swag bag filled with stuff, edible prizes? Do you want to blog hop, look answers up on websites? What will make a contest fun for you?

Now here's where today's contest comes in. I'll pick the best idea from the comments and you'll get to pick one of my 2009 backlist of e-books.

So, wrack your brain and give me your best shot. You may just win!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The unusual suspect a.c.Mason. Sweet tooth and all.

Thank you Paranormal Romantics for having me over for visit. I don’t often leave the evil mastermind lair and mingle. Please call me Mason. I'm happy to be joining all of you.

Why the unusual suspect? One I didn’t want to take from the movies and two I’m not very romantic. Though when I tell fellow writers who’ve read my work about my lack of romance they usually start to list of the all the romantic stuff in my writing. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to write romance but when I write that isn’t what comes out of my brain. lol.I do write romantic and erotic element. Parts of the story involve a romance and hot love scenes.

My stories usually involve a oh so hot man and a woman. She’s probably not someone you want to annoy or be on the other side a battle with. My writing voice is described as a unique mélange of complex characters, well-crafted suspense, and mesmerizing visceral erotica. My stories are the place where darkness meets human desire and fairytales endings are not promised but earned. Oh and I really like leaving the reader hanging. Don't let that get out. lol.

I’m mischievous and blunt which makes for a spicy mix. At least that's what I tell my friends. I do have a book out called Aequitas I Betrayal and just finished the sequel Aequitas II Punishment. What took so long? I was writing another book at the same time CHOCOLATE DAMSEL a historical and really it wasn't that long.

What are Aequitas?
The Aequitas, part angel and demon, have kept the balance between the forces of good and evil-until now.

Yes, there is a oh so hot man. His name is Etienne Grant but I’d watch out for him. There are others but you’ll have to read the book to meet them.

When I was asked to come over and visit Rebecca gave me some ideas about what to write about. One of the topics was writing. My favorite activity in the world aside from eating ice cream. I love ice cream. Maybe I should write about eating ice cream. Ice cream with pie. Butter tars or sugar pie go nicely with vanilla ice cream. Mint chocolate is another good choice to cool down with. All those candy bar flavors are heavenly.

I’m getting a little pit in my tummy. Aren’t you?? I know just the thing….sh sh don’t tell anyone I skipped out to get myself a heaping bowl of delicious icy confection. I do hope they have me back. I have a sweet tooth.

Mason
a.c.Mason
Darkness ♀♂ Desires http://www.acmason.com/
Monday and Thursday blog contributor and author interviewer: http://nightsofpassion.wordpress.com/

Going to the Dark Side

Happy Manic Monday! Grab a cup of virtual coffee and pull up a comfy chair. There’s some Easter chocolate on the table. Please have some or I’ll eat it all. What out though, some of those foil covered eggs are dark chocolate.


You gotta watch out for the dark ones. They look harmless and tasty yet once you taste some it’s hard to stop. Next thing you know you’re writing becomes darker and you’ve penned ‘the end’ to a piece of work from a dark side of your soul.


All from chocolate? No, I guess not but where did it come from?

The things I’ve put my heroine through. Heck, the things I put myself through since I’m there every step of the way with her. This is the darkest thing I’ve ever written and it makes me wonder who I am. My outer shell isn’t something that corresponds to this type of story. I’m a soccer mom. What shadows lie within? Well, wait until the PTA gets their hands on this book. LOL


I know most paranormals have a touch of murky gloom but when is it too much? I love suspense and when a writer sends chills down my back. I can’t read horror anymore since I’m alone at night sometimes, left with my imagination is more than enough. Sometimes following a character to the pits of personal hell and accompanying them on their journey to salvation just hits the spot. Maybe they remind me how good I really have it.


How dark do like your stories?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Welcome Charisma Knight

It’s Friday and you know me--J. Hali. Today, I’m doing something I haven’t done for a while—an interview with an author who brought along a friend. You never know how these things will turn out but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk with Charisma Knight, who happens to have a release today, Just An Average Vampire, at Amira Press.
Hi, Charisma, I’d like to welcome you to Paranormal Romantics and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I know how busy release day can be.

CK: Thank you for inviting me, it’s good to be here.

Can you tell us a little about who you have with you? I’m trying really hard not to stare.

CK: This is Cecil McKagan, vampire and mate of Trina Jones. Cecil lives in the Edison, New Jersey area with Trina. Isn’t he hot?

Uhh, yeah. He’s gorgeous, all six feet of him. And I do have a thing for long, black hair! Shoot, wonder if he can read my mind?

Cecil: Well, Ms. Steele, I never suspected I would find love again. Love can be quite painful, and after my wife and child were murdered, I swore I would never allow myself to feel that emotion again. I wished for death after that startling discovery. I was 'sired' by Nydia, she-demon from hell, and now that I’ve discovered love once more, Nydia has threatened to destroy what Trina and I have. So…I must take matters into my own hands.

Please, call me Joann. OK, that was intense. I’ll be keeping my eyes on him! Charisma, can you tell us a little about yourself?

CK: I reside in the Maryland area with my two daughters and truly enjoy writing, especially for the paranormal erotic genre. I possess a love for vampires and anything that goes bump in the night. Writing makes me happy.

How long have you been writing, and is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

CK: I started freelance writing for virtual assistant clients in July 2007, so this July will be three years. It wasn’t until March 2009 that I decided to write erotica.

Things have been moving pretty fast for you then. I know you have other books out, can you tell us a little about your favorite character? Is there one you prefer or like better than the others? Not sure I like the look in Cecil’s eyes…

CK: My favorite character is Cecil McKagan from my new release, Just an Average Vampire. Cecil was a knight who fought in the Crusades for King Richard. Upon his return, he was ‘sired’ by Nydia, a blood-thirsty, yet beautiful vampire. In the story, he exists in modern times and is a dear friend to Trina Jones. Actually, he wants to be more than just a friend. Cecil worries he’ll emotionally damage Trina since she came from an abusive relationship. As a vampire, he’s afraid he may hurt her physically if he can’t control his bloodlust. He’s the epitome of a woman’s white knight in shining armor. He has nothing but unconditional love for Trina and he gives her strength and encouragement. That is a trait I find sexy in a man.

That’s good news because it was a little tense in here earlier. Who inspires your writing most?

Cecil: I’m your inspiration, correct? I don’t mean to be blunt, however, you have a knack for loving alpha males.

Did he just wink? Maybe he’s not as bad as I thought. Cecil, I can see you’re inspiring but I meant other writers who inspire Charisma.

CK: True, Cecil, you are the epitome of a loving man, every woman’s dream because of the unconditional love you provide Trina. Now you know it’s not within your nature to be cocky, Cecil. What’s wrong with you? Have you been hitting the pubs with your buddy, Izzy, again? Please, don’t be so full of yourself. It does not suit you.

Cecil: My bad, C. Please, forgive me.

Umm, it sounds like Trina’s a lucky girl, Cecil. Dang, he’s breathtaking when he smiles!

CK: No worries. Many authors have inspired me. Joann, you are one of them. I need to say, you have been a great inspiration to me as a new author. In my time with Eirelander Publishing, I have really seen you grow and put out some pretty awesome titles. You are one of my favorite authors.

Thanks very much, Charisma! That’s always really great to hear, and Eirelander was a true help in improving my skills as a writer. When you’re not writing, what are some of your favorite things to do? Do you ever hang out with your characters?

CK: Reading! I love to read in my spare time. I have actually been making time for my reading. There is so much talent, and sometimes not enough time to cover all that talent, but I try. I have two beautiful daughters and of course I must goof off with them. I’m like a big kid myself, so I can be found watching movies with them, going shopping, visiting Chuck E Cheese’s. The weather has broken, so we won’t let any grass grow beneath our feet! I also love to go shopping! My characters do hang out with me in my head, especially the ones in my WIPs. They visit with me and jam to my favorite music. I find they enjoy heavy metal. ; )

I’m with you on the shopping! Sounds like the girls keep you busy. Are there any genres you’d like to try writing in?

CK: Yes, I have a ménage on the back burner. The cowboy scene is looking rather inviting! I have a few werewolf shifter stories in the making too.

Tell us a bit about what you’re working on without giving away too much.

CK: I’ve been adding to a few of my WIPs. The titles are Gunnarr The Ancient, The Ache, Under a Native Moon, and Forbidden.

Great titles, sounds like we’re going to be hearing a lot from you. Of the books you have out now, which has your favorite cover, and tell us a little about the artist?

CK: I’m quite taken with the cover of Daywalker, I truly love the colors, not to mention the hottie with the long hair, Lord Daegan.

I read Daywalker, and I have to say, the story was HOT! Let’s show the cover:

CK: Anastasia Rabiyah created the cover for Just An Average VampireDaywalker, and a few of my other titles. Both cover artists are talented women.


Rae Lori created my cover for Soul Seduction.
You’re right, they’ve both done good work. Do you have any advice for new writers?

CK: Definitely! If you truly want to pursue writing, read up on the industry. Never give up and strive to write a little each day. With each story, your craft becomes stronger. Also, don’t be afraid to approach your favorite authors. Talk to them. Fellow authors will give you much inspiration. Another important fact: Look out for each other. Authors give one another support. That is very important.

Charisma, I like that advice, and it’s so true. How can readers get in touch with you, and where can they find your books?

CK: Readers can find me at: http://www.amirapress.com/ and they can read more and contact me at http://www.charismaknight.blogspot.com/ or http://www.charismaknight.webs.com/

Here’s a Blurb for Charisma’s newest release, Just An Average Vampire:

After discovering the courage to divorce her abusive husband, Trina Jones rises from her ashes like the legendary Phoenix. Strong-willed and determined, she rebuilds her independence. After her divorce, a string of bad luck sets her back tremendously. Faced with eviction and repossession, Trina becomes frustrated. To make matters worse, she is laid off from her job.

Vampire Cecil McKagan graciously accepts Trina into his home once he discovers her hardship. The bond between them ultimately strengthens, and the pair become lovers. However, past negativities threaten to tear the couple apart...

Readers love to find out new things about their favorite authors, before you leave, can you tell us one thing about you that no one knows?

CK: I love to create silk flower arrangements. At one point in time, that was going to be my business. It’s very time consuming, and I rarely make them anymore.

Just for fun, I found out some other things about Charisma:

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Ocean City, Maryland and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I love them both!!

If you could own any car you wanted what would it be? Lexus

If you could do it all over again, is there anything you’d change about your life? Yes, I wouldn’t have married at the age of nineteen.

What’s your favorite food? Seafood and Italian

Where would you like to live if you had a choice? San Diego California!

What’s your favorite color? Black!

Who’s your favorite actor/TV show? Hugh Jackman, quite the hottie!/True Blood! Geez, I like Stephen Moyer too!

Charisma, and Cecil, thanks for stopping by and sharing with the readers. Keep us posted on your new works and congratulations on your newest release.

CK: Joann, it was my pleasure and an honor. Thank you for having us!

Hey, everyone stop by next Friday. I’ll see what new things I can dig up. In the meantime:
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Flight Down

Hi everyone, its Rebecca here. As some of you know--and if you don't you will soon know if you read this--I am on vacation with my family. We left the rather cold, rainy north for warmer climate (although my parents and grandparents think it is chilly, but that is just because they have not been where we have and don't know that this is extremely pleasant!)

What you may not know is the degree to which I hate flying. And before you tell me that I'll just get used to it you should know that I fly a lot and have flown a lot since I was a very small child. I've flown overseas, I've flown over the country, for a while there I was flying every month back and forth from where we were living while my then fiance was in school to where we would be moving to right after his graduation.

I have never, ever, ever gotten used to it.

Except once....

A few years ago, my husband and I took a vacation by ourselves, meaning without our then two children (now there are three.) We took a week by ourselves on Martha's Vineyard, which is an island off the coast of Massachusetts. To get there, we ended up going on this private airline that flies during the summer solely back and forth from various destinations to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Approaching this plane, I was very very nervous.

It was small. In fact, you and and the fourteen other passengers (if its full) are sitting with the pilots. We took off and the most surprising thing happened to me-- I LOVED IT. Sitting with the pilots, seeing what they witness from the cockpit, watching the coastline on the perfect clear morning as we travelled to our destination, I finally "got it." That was why people love to fly. The whole world was spread out in front of them. Later, on the return trip, we would come out of a cloud with Manhattan at night spread out in front of us. That, and granted I love NYC, was almost a spiritual experience for me. The lights seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time....It was incredible.

How does this relate to my writing? Well, I guess for me it always reminds me not to take the hard or scary for granted, sometimes life's most gifted moments come when you expect something to be really horrible. As I struggled to edit a monumental full length book where my editor-gasp-wanted massive rewrites, I never could have known that at the end I would read the book and feel that it was so good I couldn't wait to read it again.

I try to remind myself of this when I'm writing. Just because it scares me doesn't mean that I shouldn't be doing it.

This is not to say that I have enjoyed flying since my trip to MV. No, in fact, every time the planes bounces in the air I hate it. I grip the seat and hope that I'm not making my kids afraid of flying. Because I don't want them to be. Some day I want them to see NYC when they fly out of a cloud with the lights spread out like angels in the nighttime sky welcoming them home.

RR