Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Living in the Past

Well, it's June 30th, the last day of this month of birthday celebrations. Can you believe it? Seems just like yesterday when we were putting together this party and now it's over.

So, consider this the last call. Your last chance to party and get your name in the running for the grand prize drawing.

Now, for my blog. I'm talking about historical writing today.

I’m a historical author deep down in my soul. It’s the sub-genre of romance I’m particularly good at and I love being able transport not only myself back in time but also my readers. I love the old, formal language, the pageantry of different eras, the courtliness of manners and the wealth of history and the clothes--oh heavens the clothes--that serves as backdrops for my stories.

At this time, I have three and let’s say one half published historical books to my credit with two more to come later this year. All but one of those books also have paranormal elements added in. Why? I think it’s because I can’t manage to tear myself away from telling a story from back in the past or adding a bit of magic.

There’s so much depth, I think, when I write a hundred years or so ago. People were nicer, times were gentler, they lived for honorable things (or decidedly less honorable things as the case may be) and had less, well stuff to distract them from spending quality time together. I like this aspect because the interaction between a hero and heroine can be explosive and oftentimes powerful simply because they're forced to...well talk.

In my debut historical WINNER TAKES ALL I told the story with a lot of humor. My next stab in the historical world came in my novella THE HAUNTING OF AMELIA PRITCHART in which half of the story is told from a historical perspective with high emotion. There is also a ghost in that book. In my novella ANGEL’S MASTER as well as my next full length book UNRAVELED SOULS I didn’t use humor so much but went for the emotionally gritty undercurrents of society in those times.

In all of these books, the characters drove the plot which allows the reader to really connect with the main players on a base level in order to understand them. Of course, with the last two, I put fully realized love scenes (okay let's just say sometimes graphic love scenes) in them as well. I have readers regularly tell they’re breathless and tired after reading my books, and that’s a very good thing.

I connected with them. Made them think.

And sometimes I think that’s a big key of writing in the historical genre. Making the characters come alive so the history can have new life. Please enjoy the opening paragraphs from some of these works.

Opening of Winner Takes All
Southern Indiana 1904


Zelma Farnsworth cackled with glee as she folded the thick ivory vellum letter she had just finished reading. “As that famous detective once said, ‘the game is afoot’!” She thumped the silver handle of her cane against the headboard of her massive four-poster bed. “Chrissy!” She waited on a cloud of impatience as her maid scampered into the room. “I need you to transcribe a letter for me. We must word it carefully so the players in my game will not be the wiser.”

A petite young woman in a serviceable gray dress and white apron quickly sat behind the delicate desk. “You may begin, ma’am. I’m ready.” She drew a sheet of jasmine scented stationery toward her and took up a pen.

“Let me gather my thoughts.” Zelma drummed her wrinkled fingers on the quilt. “Dear
Cynthia. While I was alarmed to hear about your recent flare of bursitis, I know you will not let it overcome your dedication to the pursuit of your doctorate. However, the most recent escapade of your great niece concerns me. I’ve heard enough stories of police treatment of suffragettes to know it couldn’t be a pleasant experience to be arrested — or almost, as in your great-niece’s case.”

Zelma tapped a fingernail against the metal cap of the cane. “I think the best thing for her would be a change of scenery. I’ll issue her family an invitation to my estate here in the country. In order to keep her company, I’ll also invite my nephew and a few of his military friends out here. Please be sure to convince your dear Michael to finagle an invitation for dinner for my boy. The young people will need to meet before they travel down to me. And besides, it’s high time I had youth about me once more. Until we speak again, I remain your faithful friend, Zelma.”

“Will you want this mailed today?”

“Of course girl! No time like the present.” A smile snaked across Zelma’s thin lips. “Watch carefully, Chrissy. Consider this an experiment in human nature—high emotions and higher intelligence. Life is about to get interesting.”


Opening from Angel’s Master
Three days before Christmas, 1822—Florida Keys


With a swipe of a soft cloth along the dark, well-oiled wood of the counter, Jacqueline Massey gave the occupants of the bar another glance. The usual men congregated around scarred and pitted tables as they played cards or drank away their sorrows in mugs of ale or bottles of rum. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and wondered if anything would ever change in the God-forsaken coastal village. The locals called it Nube Voladora, or Flying Cloud, because of the mists that obscured it in the evenings.

“What’s the news of the evening, Miss Massey?” The owner of the deep voice slipped up to her counter and sat on a stool.

“Alexander.” Jacqueline frowned. She wished he would leave her to work alone. “Why are you here?” With an eyebrow cocked, she studied the man her father wanted her to marry.

Tall, nearly six feet, and broad shouldered, Captain Alexander Caruthers had toiled his whole adult life in the Navy and carried himself as straight as one of the masts on his ship. He possessed eyes the color of an angry blue-gray sea, and wore his blond hair cut in short waves that clung to a high collar. His chin jutted out in an imposing way, but his manners were impeccable, and he’d never been less than pleasant and solicitous in her company.

Jacqueline couldn’t envision being tied to such a dull, conservative man, regardless of his looks. But he demanded an answer as his eyes bored into hers. “Nothing new to report. It’s been quiet all evening. The same as it has been for the last week.”

“Hopefully, it will stay that way.”

“Perhaps the pirates have been warned of your identity or my deception.”

“Perhaps, but it does not matter.” He accepted a pint of ale, then took a deep draw of the amber-colored brew before continuing. “The newly formed Mosquito Fleet will be down here by April at the latest. We will run the sea rats out of the water.”


Opening from Unraveled Souls

Blood everywhere.

The abstract splatter from the violent spray dotted the rose-patterned paper of an unfamiliar drawing room, blending a macabre design with the sedate ordinary. A thick pool of ruby liquid collected under the body of a blond-haired man, a dagger buried to the hilt in his chest, the inlaid jewels on the handle winked in the soft candlelight.

Dead.

Noelle Radliffe woke up, gasping for breath, as sweat drenched her body and molded her white cotton nightgown to her chest. Another dream, another death. She pushed the mop of brown curls out of her face and swung her legs over the side of the bed as her heart pounded. Not for the first time did she wonder why the visions came to her. Every night there was a new scene and a new body. When would it end?

At least she didn't see a ghost, which is what usually followed such a dream. To make sure, she cast a wary glance around her darkened bedroom. Nothing but shadow-drenched furniture met her gaze. Relief chilled her skin as adrenaline spiked through her veins.

As her breathing returned to normal, she left her bed to pad across the room, grabbing a lace-trimmed robe of deep purple silk. Coolness seeped into her bare feet from the polished wooden floor. Even for early May, it seemed spring couldn't quite gain a foothold and shake off the cloying mantle of winter. She threw open the heavy drapes of gold brocade, yanked apart the lace panels, and opened the French doors that led to a tiny patio.

In times of extreme stress, she always sought solace from the garden she lovingly planted each year. Too early in the season for anything but crocuses and the occasional daffodil to survive, it was only a matter of time before she would be able to manipulate the rich soil and create a living work of art. But for now, the darkened patch of green space imparted the necessary calm she needed to continue to live another day, put the horrors of the night behind her. Wrapping the robe about her body, she cinched the sash tight at her waist. A slight sound, no more than a pebble being disturbed against the cobblestone bricks, alerted her to another presence in the garden.

"Elle, are you sick? The sun will not rise for an hour yet. Go to bed."

Noelle smiled, and turned to gaze at her cousin, Kitty. "Unfortunately, my body is in the top of health. It is my mind that refuses to conform to normalcy."

And as a special treat, here’s the opening for my current work in progress. I won’t give you the title because in the past, I’ve had a title for a WIP stolen before it could be published.

Work in Progress
Indianapolis, Indiana September 10, 1900


“Damn it, Kitty. Stop the babble. Get over here and clean this mess up!” The bellow resounded through the cramped quarters of the newsroom of The Indianapolis Sentinel office. Loud enough to cut through the frantic clacking of typewriter keys, the command demanded to be obeyed.

Kitty LaSalle blew out an irritated breath as her current stream of conversation died away. “It is quite unfair that you expect me to trail behind you and your sycophant pups simply because I am the only woman in this office.” Tendrils of strawberry-blonde hair escaped from her chignon and she tucked them back into place.

A barrel-chested man with a bristle-brush mustache shot up from behind his massive desk—her Uncle George, the junior editor of the paper. The quick movement dislodged even more paperwork from the precarious piles scattered across the top and they fell down in a raspy avalanche to add to the accumulation on the floor. “At least the pups bring in interestin’ stories. You, on the other hand, give me drivel about the latest fashions or the newest thing in home goods. Who the hell wants to read about that?” A marked Southern drawl trailed every sentence and well it should since her father and his brother came from the Atlanta area. They migrated to Indiana after the Reconstruction when she was a tike of five, but she’d never forget the journey.

A chorus of raucous male laughter erupted around the office.

Kitty’s cheeks burned at the insult. “Yes, but—” She sputtered to a halt when he put up his hand, palm outward.

“Spare me the excuses.” He came around the desk, and dropped a heavy arm around her shoulders. “Look, sweetness, I appreciate your efforts, but right now, we have real news to deal with. The hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas a couple days ago killed a bunch of people and—“

“If you would just listen—“

Uncle George’s bushy brown brows crashed low and his blue eyes glittered with barely controlled anger. “Damn, Kitty, if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, you must remember to stop interruptin’. Otherwise, you’ll never learn enough information to dig into the good parts. You have to let people talk because there’s nothin’ folks like better than to brag about themselves.”

I hope you enjoyed the brief jaunts into my worlds. If you want more information on where you can purchase these books, please feel free to hop on over to my website http://www.sandrasookoo.com and take a look. All links are provided there.

Thanks for reading and have a great day! Remember to leave a comment and your email address to win the last single-day prize of the month.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Outsiders



Hi There. In honor of my book Love Beyond Sanity, the second book in my Outsiders series, coming out August 6th, 2010 I am going to give away a copy of Love Beyond Time, the first book in the series.

Check out the two covers:

Aren't they cool?

Anyway, leave me a comment with your e-mail address to win Love Beyond Time.

Also, because this is the very last week of this, I'm going to tell you what you will from ME in the big basket that every person who commented this month was entered to win. From me, you will win a Love Beyond Time t-shirt and a poster of the Simon's Fate cover, which is my next release. What did everyone else enter into the basket? I have no idea. LOL. I guess you're going to have to win it to find out and let me know. Okay?

Thanks for celebrating our month-long celebration with us. I have had a blast getting to know so many of you and talking through comments and e-mails. Everyone at Paranormal Romantics thanks you!

Best
RR

Monday, June 28, 2010



What is the void? A little deep for Monday, you may wonder. Pull up a chair, sip your coffee, and contemplate this question. It’s an empty place. Be it in your heart, soul, or life. It affects everyone at some point or another. Sad but true, there is a silver lining. Without the void we wouldn’t appreciate the things that fill our existence.


Why am I writing on such a dark topic?

1. This is Paranormal Romantics. LOL

2. I’m in a void.

What??

That spot writers find themselves between books. Not a block, I know what I’m going to write next. The dead space between when you’ve finished one work and stretch and say, “Am I ready to start again? “ I’m not. My brain hurts and needs to sit back to relax for a few days. The last time I went through this, it took me a month before I could commit to a character and her story. My next manuscript will be long and soul searching so I hide in my void. Once my courage has gathered enough I will venture into a new place and get sucked back into writing again. Then the sleepless nights of typing will start but truly, I’ll be happy.

Am I the only nut on this crazy train?

I wrote this after I finished my first novel and was shopping it around. Odd but a year later I find myself in the same spot. It's not a bad thing. More like a mental holiday. I plan on hanging out here for about a week and then start something new. That's if I can figure out how to type only with my left hand. LOL

Our anniversary celebration is coming to a close. We'll be announcing our grand prize winner June 1 on the side bar. Today is winner's choice. The lucky commentor chosen can pick any of my books.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

The horrid skip through...


I’m a bit sad to see the celebration go! It’s been fun month!! The final giveaway is my debut novel, “The Willow – The Magical Sword Book One”. Leave me a comment with your email address and I’ll enter you in to win a copy. The winner will be drawn Monday at 8:00 A.M. EST.
So, let’s get to it :)

The other night I was reading a mass-market novel and found myself skimming over the pages. I have to admit, I’m guilty of never reading descriptive parts. I find them unbelievably boring, and even though, I feel like I rippin’ the writer off, I just can’t commit to each word.

Sometimes I wonder why they are even there. Why the need to explain each and every detail is necessary―where they sat, how the chair felt, minuet details of the table cloth. For me, I just want dialogue, action and thoughts!! Tell me they’re at a cafe and sitting at a lone table in the corner, then go right into dialogue and I’m happy!!

I’ve always thought I write more like a “reader” then “a writer”. My books are fast paced with enough descriptions for you to imagine the world the character is in, but not enough to make you do the horrid skip through. Is it proper? Probably not. But it’s the way I like to read and ends up being the way I write.

Alright, lay it on me...how many of you are guilty of the same offense??? Or how many of you are shaking their head at me :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chapter 4, Part 2




Time for an awwwww moment. My youngest son and my new grandbaby JJ, Jade Alexandria. Unfortunately my camera broke so I don't have pictures of daddy and the baby. :(
But, I should be getting some from the other grandmother.

Okay, I'll keep my comments short this morning and just get to the story. Happy Saturday, all.

All rights are the intellectual property of the author. No part may be copied or reproduced without the permission of the author.


***Warning. The following story contains erotic elements, explicit language and violence. Read at your own risk.***

He grabbed her ass, lifting her from the floor. Tesza wrapped her legs around his hips as he backed her against the wall. He pulled his mouth free. “Are we so different, you and I?”

Physically, genetically they were almost identical. But where light resided in her people, his were only born of darkness. It wasn’t his soul that would be tainted, but hers. Murderer. “Please, we can’t do this.”

“Why?”

“It’s wrong.”

“Then why does it feel right?”

“Gods, I don’t know, Kori. But only misery will come from this.” She’d hurt Jarod and her people. One way or the other, someone would feel the pain of her actions.

“Ursus, my name is Ursus.” His lips brushed her neck sending chills racing across her skin. “I want you Tesza.” A hand slid up her body, cupping her breast. His head dropped and he drew her nipple into his mouth. Tesza moaned and arched back. He pulled his mouth away. “Give yourself to me. I don’t believe we would be damned.”

“Do you know what you’re asking?”

“I don’t have to ask. I’m bigger, stronger.”

“But you ask.”

“I’d never force you. Give me one day and I’ll take you back where I found you.”

It was Fourth Night. Tesza bit her lip and glanced at the bed. One day with the enemy. He’d free her, she’d fulfill her calling and she’d be alive to fight another star-rise. “I need something from the plaza.” If she was going to bargain like a cheap whore she might as well get everything she could. She’d give him more than he expected.

“You don’t have to have sex with me to get whatever it is you want.” His fingers traced the tattoo on her face. “I’ll give you that and a chance to walk out at star-fall. What I want to know is how you’ll spend the day?”

“You’ll keep me safe while I retrieve it? Regardless my choice?”

He stared at her through hooded eyes, steaming her on the inside. “Yes.”

Tesza nodded. “Then yes.”

“Yes what?”

She closed her eyes and tried to picture Jarod. The taste of him when he kissed her, his hands when he touched her. His promise to claim her soon. But he dodged away and was replaced with the image of another. Her heart picked up its pace. She opened her eyes and her stomach twisted into knots. Ursus.

She swallowed and nodded.

He pressed her against the cool surface of the plaster, resting his forehead against hers. “Not until you say it. Ask. I want to know this isn’t for your freedom. I want to know you desire to share your body with me.”

“Yes. I want you.” She did. Every bone in her body cried for him. Ached. He’s the enemy, Tesza. No guilt. Do it. Jarod will understand. He’ll have to understand. Infect him.

Ursus swung her around and walked her to the bed. Slowly he lowered her to the mattress, pressing his weight on top on her. Tesza closed her eyes and tried to block out images of young Kori children who played in the streets. Innocents who didn’t care that she was Kalos, or that she was different. Too young to understand hate. They ran laughed and played. No worries of war or death.

Soon they’d die. All of them. They filled the city as much as soldiers who killed. She’d seen them in passing, paused to watch them from the shadows, wishing she could be as free.

Gods she cared too much and not only about the innocents.

He pulled back to his elbows and kissed the tip of her nose. “Open your eyes, Kalos.”

“I can’t do this.” Tesza opened her eyes and they filled with tears. “I can’t.”

“Don’t you feel it?”

“Yes.” She turned her face away. She couldn’t deny there was something that lingered between them, a hunger that demanded satisfaction, but she couldn’t do this. Hurting him felt wrong, as much as killing the innocents.

Soon Jarod would claim her. He’d take her body, fill this need and settle the hunger. She’d felt lust with him, desire. But with Ursus, it was different. It pulled harder on her, demanded she sate herself. It confused her.

“Tesza.” He kissed her cheek where a tear escaped. “I can’t deny this attraction, this need I have, but if you can’t, I won’t force this.” Ursus pulled back and Tesza grabbed his arms.

She couldn’t do this, but letting him go seemed just as hard. The knots in her stomach tightened. Traitor. Infect him.

He dropped back to his elbows, pressing his body against hers. “It is a legend of my people that by the sharing of bodies, our souls collide and become one. You will always have a part of me with you, and I you. Sex isn’t taken lightly. Young single males only mate with temple girls until they find their match. When we chose another to mate, it’s someone we want for life and even after our mate’s death, we take no other.”

“Then why me, if you can’t have me?”

“Because I believe you’re the one I’ve waited my life for.”

He waited his life for this? “How can you know?”

“Because when I spotted you, I saw your aura and it moved towards me.”

Tesza laughed nervously. “You were wearing a heat-sensitive visor.” Maybe if she pushed him away the need would go with him.

“I saw you after I flipped it up. Make no mistake, you are her. Your soul called to mine.”

He lowered his mouth and softly kissed her lips. The moment they touched, she no longer doubted him. The energy he’d spoke of pulsed through her. Ursus stood and unbuckled his belt.

The Kori dropped his pants. Tesza’s eyes widened then darted back and forth between his cock and face. Why did she feel like she was betraying Jarod? He would understand. This was for the greater good of the people.

Ursus slid back on the bed beside her and leaned up on one elbow, now face to face. “You haven’t done this before?”

Tesza shook her head; her gaze remained on his cock. With trembling fingers she reached out to touch him, stroking around the darkened head and softly sweeping down the shaft. Ursus jerked, his breath caught. He was built different than Jarod. Not as big, but thicker.

She curled her fingers around it and gave a soft squeeze. Ursus groaned.

He grabbed her wrist and pulled it over her head, snagged the other and rolled onto her. “I need to give you pleasure first.” He pressed her palms against the metal rods of the headboard. “Hold these. Don’t let go unless I tell you to.”

He began to devour her mouth, sweeping his tongue against her bottom lip, nibbling it till she opened. Ursus deepened the kiss, drawing the air from her lungs. Tesza moaned and he kissed a path down her neck.

“You’re killing me, Kori.” Tesza pulled her hands free and Ursus grabbed them, placing them back on the rails.

“Don’t let go.” His hands stroked and caressed as he moved down her body, suckling her breast, kissing her stomach and blowing warm air across it. Tesza arched up into his mouth and he leaned over, nipping her hip.

She cried out, bucking up. Strong hands slid under her bottom lifting her and he progressed, nibbling down her thigh.

“Dear gods. Ursus, it’s too much.” It was every bit as intense as third night, maybe even more.

Warm breath washed over her clit. His tongue snaked out and licked her between the folds, flicking back and forth over the pink nub.

Tesza screamed and let go, grabbing his hair. Ursus latched hold of her wrists, reattaching them back on the headboard. “Relax. Let me take you to ecstasy.”

“Ecstasy? You’re torturing me. I can’t take it. Please.” If he only knew how deep the need was.

Then guilt. What was she doing? His people wanted her people erased from existence and here she was, enjoying it.

Gods. Betrayer.

Ursus looked up and grinned. “I’ve just gotten started.”

“Please.” She couldn’t be strung any tighter. Her body hummed from three days of touch. Anymore could kill her.

“You let go again and I’ll tie your hands to the posts. This will go on for hours until you’re begging me to take you.”

Hours? Jarod had left her so sensitive her skin burned with every touch. She’d already done that, another minute restrained and she’d go up like dry tender.

Tesza licked her lips and closed her eyes. Her heart jumped in her chest, skin tingled and goose bumps erupted. She shivered and nearly jumped from her body when his lips made contact again.

Tesza arched off the bed screaming out, “Oh gods.”

A hand slid up her thigh and a finger probed into her. Tesza sucked in a breath and tightened.

“Relax. Why are you so tense pretty Kalos?”

“Relax? Do you have any idea how hard it is to do that?”

Ursus looked up again. “I have some idea. The last time I had a woman, was on my twenty year naissance, before I joined the Kori military.” His head dropped to nibble her thigh.

“How old are you?”

“I’ve recently seen my thirty year naissance.”

He’d waited ten years? He’d waited for her, told her that much. She hadn’t understood how deeply he meant it until now. A heated wave of shame slammed into her. She couldn’t do this. The only reason he hadn’t killed her is that he wanted her body, believed there was some link between them.

She tried to tell herself Jarod would understand. No. He wouldn’t. Even if it was her duty to her people. He’d forbidden her the city.

Gods no. Ursus felt right and wrong all at once. If they ever found out she’d let the enemy touch her body without completing the task, they’d stone her, but to continue she’d hurt the man with her now.

“Stop.”

Ursus lifted his head. “Stop?”

“I can’t do this. You’re an enemy soldier. This isn’t right. We aren’t right. Stop.”

“I told you I wouldn’t hurt you. I believe you’re the one.”

“But I’ll hurt you. I can never be your one.” Tesza let go of the posts and shoved on his shoulders. “Get off. I’ve betrayed my clan, my family and the memories of all who died at the Kori hands in this moment. You have to get off before I change my mind.”

Ursus backed off the bed and snatched his pants off the floor. He crammed his legs in with irritation, ran a hand through his hair, giving her an icy stare. “Get out.” He fastened his pants and turned his back to her. “Get out before I remember who I am and where my duty lies.”

Tesza swallowed hard, her eyes filled with tears. It wasn’t that she didn’t want him. She ached for him. “But you said it wasn’t safe to go out in the daytime.”

“Why do you think I care?” His words bit into her.

“I need clothes.”

He threw a pile of soft silk in vibrant turquoise at her.

Tesza grabbed them and dressed. The top dropped in the style of a Kori noblewoman’s. The pants were cuffed at the ankle, slit open to the top of her thighs and rode just over the curve of her hips. The sleeveless top fastened in the front with several clasps that left open fabric between, modestly covering the female parts.

The fabric was the softest she’d ever worn. Clearly Kori, clearly wrong. She should walk out of here naked instead of insulting her family by donning this garb. Tesza fought the tears that threatened to pour. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m just not who you think I am.”

He spun around and was instantly in her face. He grabbed her, pulled her against his body and kissed her. His lips were hard and unforgiving, fierce. “I would never be mistaken about that. Leave before I revert to my murderous ways. Leave before I can’t let you go.” The last bit almost came out as a whisper. Had she heard right?

He grabbed a silken scarf and stuffed it in her hands. “Cover your hair.”

The Kori had dark hair and brown dusky skin. The Kalos were pale blonds, reds and honeys. Fair and unmistakable. Tesza’s own hair so light, it seemed like strands of star rays. She’d be identified on sight. Kori woman cloaked themselves in public. Not because their men demanded it, but rather their gender.

The Kori women were hard about the rules of decency and did not deviate from them. To do so would be to dishonor the women of the household and lose face in society. This one rule would make it easy to hide. Easy to hide all but her eyes.

As if reading her mind, Ursus shoved an overdress and veil at her. “Don’t look anyone in the eyes.”

Tesza nodded. Blue eyes were common with the Kalos and unknown among the Kori. One look and she’d be dead.

“Ursus.”

“Don’t forget what you bargained for.” His voice sounded cold, emotionless. His face, stone. “Leave. I’m letting you walk out. Go retrieve whatever it is you need. I will pull my patrols from the sector where I found you. You have one time-section and not a second more. Go.”

Tesza flinched. Did he think she felt nothing? If she stayed…

He spun on his heel and disappeared into the privy. The door slid shut behind him; the clank cut her soul in two. He was right. She already seemed to be yearning for him as though he were a dead mate.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Friday...


And we're having a heat wave! Would you mind if I add to the hotness? Lordy, a man with hair on his chest!! Talking about heat, anyone who comments today will go in a random drawing for a copy of STONE COLD, my hot new erotic release from Liquid Silver Books. I'm doing final edits on book 2, STONE DEAD, so there will be more of the Stonegars!

Remember to leave name/way to reach you in the comments!

Now for the hotness:

I'm going to cool off now!
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where It Counts

I have a feeling July is going to be a really busy month for new releases around here at Paranormal Romantics. I get to add my newest release from Liquid Silver Books into the mix on July 12th with the second book in the Rebirth series titled, Blood Fever.


I wrote this book two years ago and it contains one of my favorite scenes. Even to this day, it is one of my favorites and to be honest, it probably always will be. It's powerfully emotional and there are revelations that hit you right where it counts - the heart. Put it this way - I found myself crying when I wrote the scene. And believe it or not, despite the fact I write erotic romance, it is not one of the sex scenes that I'm talking about (but believe me, those scenes stand out all on their own - this is my first "molten" title with Liquid Silver *ahem*). While I can't share the particular scene (it's in the last 3/4's of the book and anything past halfway in this book is considered major spoiler territory) I can share the prologue and the blurb.

Blurb:

Evande walked out on her lover, Quinn, fifty years ago without looking back because he wanted too much from her. Now, after she saves a dying human by turning him into a vampire, a wanted notice shows up demanding her death and she knows Quinn is the only one who can help her.

Standing on Quinn’s doorstep with Logan, she quickly finds herself fighting her attraction to both men. Thing is, both men don’t make a secret of the fact they want her. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, she also learns she isn’t the only one the Elders are after.

Deception, secrets and corruption.

Evande’s survived worse – but this time it may just kill her.

Prologue:

He pleaded for his life.
His whimpers were thick with death and despair. I knew he could feel his soul slipping to somewhere beyond here. I shook my head forcibly, knowing I could do nothing to help him even if I wanted to.
There are strict laws we vampires adhered to and since I'd been around since the advent of those rules, I knew them well.
Kill no more than you need to survive.
Disclose nothing to humans unless you intend to make them part of your regular meals—blood servants as it were.
Humans are not allowed to be rebirthed as a vampire unless it is under the guidance of the Elders and that is only to occur once every hundred years.
Being a vampire wasn't the glamorous life that Hollywood led humans to believe. I knew that perhaps better than anyone, I pushed those thoughts aside as I tried to focus on the situation I'd unknowingly walked into.
The stagnant air in the alley was heavy with the last moments of this man's life, as his body began to fail him. The scent of his fresh blood sat in my lungs and I needed to breathe through my mouth in an effort to prevent myself from literally drooling at the scent of his death. It had been centuries since I'd been near a human in the throes of death. Longer still since I'd physically drank the liquid that gave them life.
What I needed to do was turn my back on this struggling man and let him die with his last shred of dignity intact. Come on, Evande, get a damn grip on yourself. Death happened all the time in New York City, what should make this time any different?
Tears fell to the ground under him, his brown eyes pleading silently to me as I hovered over him. Despite my best efforts, I could feel my fangs elongating and I realized with a start that I wanted him. I wanted his blood fueling me, coursing through my veins to serve as a reminder of what I was capable of.
A cat screamed a few feet away, and another hissed in response. They shrieked as they began fighting and a trashcan tipped over with a loud crash. The noise startled me and my lungs constricted tightly as the aroma of death filled them.
Oh, how I had forgotten that undeniably decadent scent.
“Please,” he pleaded again, his voice hoarse from the damage his vocal chords had sustained from the vampire who had tried to rip out this man's throat. My skin crawled as my body fought a silent war it hadn't faced in ages. I wasn't allowed to interfere, I reminded myself even as my tongue slid lazily over my lengthened teeth. I struggled against hundreds of years of ingrained instinct.
There was so much blood.
The tear in his throat gaped at me and I swallowed hard, feeling sorry that death had not come more swiftly for him. I could see the madness slowly creeping into his eyes and knew he was only seconds away from the very release he was begging for.
I made a choice in that short span of time and instead of salvation, I condemned him to eternal damnation.

~*~

So...now that you've had a taste - how about being the first one to win a copy? This will be the first time I've offered up an e-copy for download and I'll email it to you as soon as the book is released on the 12th. Just leave a comment (with your email address) to be entered and you have until midnight EST!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Hold these Truths to be Self-evident

Post originally published in February of this year.

Hello everyone. Today, I’m talking about truths and myths in writing. 2010 marks the 2nd year I’ve been writing for publication. It’s also the 2nd year that I’ve been working with editors and I have to tell you, I’ve learned some stuff.

I’m reminded of the line from Pocahontas: “If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.” Boy, I never knew I didn’t know so much about writing until I became a serious writer.

Now keep in mind, these are just things I’ve learned. Your walk might be different.

Myth 1:
“If you write about a plus-sized heroine, you’ll never get the book published.”


I find this one funny and fascinating all at once. Let’s face facts, folks. Most of us women aren’t slim. Do we wish we were? That’s debatable. Who better to write about the struggles, joys and triumphs of a chubby girl than, well, a chubby girl? Women have hips. We’ve got curves, and ya know something else? Men like it. And what’s more? These like-minded women find it refreshing to read about a curvy heroine.

Busted: A good portion of the heroines I write about have meat on their bones and I’ve found publishers for each one of them.



Myth 2:
“If you choose to go into e-publishing, you’ll shoot your career in the foot before you even start.”


Someone told me this before I’d ever signed my first contract and the advice came from a print author that’s seen pretty good success. Needless to say, I was devastated. I agonized over this conversation for weeks. In the end, I said screw it and so began my career. I may not be deemed a success by her standards, but then, the last time I checked, she wasn’t signing my paycheck. The e-pub business is a bright and shining star on the horizon. There’s never been a better time to be an e-pubbed writer.

Busted: visit my website if you don’t believe this one.



Myth 3:
“The use of ‘was’, ‘ly-words’ or ‘ing-words’ are strictly forbidden in writing today.”


Think again baby! Everything in moderation. Sure, if you have a paragraph littered with ‘ly-words’ and ‘ing-words’, it’s gonna stick out and maybe you’re weakening the impact. Reevaluate the writing. You can use these things. Don’t clog your narrative with them. Think less is more and choose your words wisely. These things are like glittering jewels. The greater frequency you use them, the gaudier your prose. Just saying.

Busted: listen to your editors. They’ll let you know when enough is enough


Myth 4:
“If you find a storyline that ‘works’, keep doing it. Just be sure to change the names and location.”

Nothing will kill a writing career or make your readers grow bored with reading your stuff faster than seeing the same thing over and over again. I know there have been plenty of times when I’ve bought a new paperback book from a best selling author or bought an e-book from big names or small that I’ve looked forward to only to get two chapters in and say “Haven’t I already read this before?” Sometimes I’ll half-heartedly scan to the end and sure enough, predictability all the way. Sometimes, I don’t finish the book. That’s sad.

Busted: Not this time. Always stay fresh in your writing. It’s vital.


Myth 5:
“Can’t figure out the plot of a story? Dump sex in it and no one will notice. You’ll sell tons!”


This may fly with some people, but readers are getting smarter about where to spend their dollars. I know I’ve been ticked off spending bucks on a book that seems to be one sex scene after the other with no “meat” in between. I need to know why the characters are doing it, what drives them, how it’s going to help or hurt their relationship, will there be something lasting afterwards. Sometimes I read a book and at the end I’m asking “What was the point of all that?”

Busted: Not this time. Think up a plot then fit the rest in accordingly. The book can still be hot, but in the end, it’s always a story. Beginning, middle, end. Period.


Myth 6:
The “you can’t do that” theory. People will tell you “you have to write darker”, “you can’t use humor in every situation”, “you can’t make your hero an xxxxx”, “if you’re not writing this way, it’s not correct”, or (my personal pet peeve) “if you read this person, you can really improve your own writing.”


My answer to this? It’s my story and I’ll write how I want to. Writing is as unique to a person as a fingerprint. You have to find your own voice and style. Don’t model someone else. Be different. Be fresh and realize truths about yourself. Sit down and find out what you really like to write. What makes you happy? For me, I’m a comedic writer. I’ll always be this way. I believe that making someone laugh can go a long way in helping through the ills of life. Can I write dark? Yes, but it doesn’t make me happy and it sounds stilted and forced. This is me. And it’s okay.

Busted: Absolutely! Don’t be someone else, because ten to one, they’re trying to be someone else, too. Find your niche and let your imagination soar. You’ll be glad you did—maybe not now but someday.


Well, thanks for reading along with me today. Do you have a myth of your own to bust or have you found a solid truth over the years? I want to hear it!

Update today: I wouldn't change a thing from this post. Everything I have up still stands. :-)

As always, if you comment you'll be entered into the daily drawing. Please check back tomorrow to see if you won.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Next Up....


Hey guys! Got some good news. My next new release will be Simon's Fate releasing with Liquid Silver Books. It is a novel of the Strange Hollow and I'm so excited about it that I'm going to give away TWO copies of my novels today.

Here's a blurb:

Moira has lived in Strange Hollow for almost a year, unable to touch anyone, lest she should see their future. Moira is a former Fate who chose to leave her job, not liking the competitive, outlandish destinies the Fates were bestowing on humanity. Always nervous, she is accepted but lonely. That is, until she stumbles upon Simon who is hiding in the basement of the Strange Hollow Visitor’s Center. A vampire, Simon is on the run from his brothers, but hampered by his blood phobia, which makes him pass out at either the sight or smell of it--a difficult situation for a vampire to find himself in.

Together, the two will discover that with just a little help from the person you love, anything is possible--especially in Strange Hollow.

Leave me a comment and tell me which of my books, found at my website Rebecca Royce . Don't forget your e-mail address!! And don't forget to check out my own personal blog which I just opened called Rebecca's Random Musings sometime. So far, I'm blogging every day. (We'll see how long that lasts. LOL!)

RR

Monday, June 21, 2010

High School Crush

Remember in high school, a long, long time ago.  Well, at least for me—when you were fifteen and fell in love from afar. A crush, we call it, but my heart still gets all aflutter when I think back to my high school infatuation. Most times nothing happens from it, yet we hear of love stories of reuniting later in life. The passion still lives on.


Sometimes that first love is the strongest one we have because we hadn’t been hurt or jaded. That ultimate trust and whole hearted love is special. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it can’t happen again in your life. Just that we can carry a flame for someone we barely knew in high school.

My new release is about such a crush. Eric, the nerd next door, worshipped his best friend’s twin sister Spice. She didn’t even acknowledge his existence except to threaten to knock his block off if he tattled on her. But Eric knew there was more to her than the tough exterior, her twin, Sugar, told him everything. When Spice returns to Chicago to reunite with her sister, Eric gets re-introduced and his world is rocked when his high school crush starts flirting with him.



BLURB:

Someone is about to get some Spice in his life.


Spice has nothing but the clothes on her back when she returns to Chicago. She's looking for a better life, and that means reuniting with her estranged twin sister, Sugar. She isn't thrilled to find out Sugar's boyfriend is a vampire. But then she meets Eric, once the bottle-cap-glasses wearing nerd next door - now grown into the kind of man she'd love to snuggle with on this cold winter night...and he’s offered her his room in Sugar’s house.


Eric can’t believe Spice has returned. He’d given up hope of ever seeing her again, let alone having her stare at him as if he’s sex on a stick. But now that all of his fantasies for them are coming true, reality rears her ugly head and Eric must tell Spice his intimate secret; he’s actually an Alpha werewolf looking for his mate and he thinks he’s found her.



Buy Now 

Excerpt

Warm yellow light streamed from behind her. “Forget your keys, Sugar?” a male voice asked from the doorway.


She stopped and glanced over her shoulder but saw only his silhouette.

“Oh my God, you cut your hair. Daedalus is going to freak.” The laughter in his comforting voice disappeared and he moved closer. “Don’t cry.” He wiped a tear from her face. “It looks great.” With a grin, he ruffled her short blond curls.

She couldn’t help but smile back.

He thought she was Sugar, her twin sister. Something in his voice sounded familiar. The face didn’t ring a bell though, but shaggy brown hair fell around most of it. He had a nice, easy-going smile. It would be wonderful to come home to a smile like that every night, but it belonged to her sister.

Her grin faded.

He wrapped his strong, thick arm around her shoulders and pulled her inside. Laughter drifted from the living room where three men and an oriental woman were setting up a board game.

One of the men, who had short cropped red hair, looked up. “Where’s the food? You were supposed to grab some grub on the way home from work.”

“We’ll order pizza.” The guy next to her squeezed one more time before walking into the next room, a huge kitchen.

“You cut your hair.” The woman spoke with a thick accent and sprung across the room to run her fingers through her hair.

Spice retreated and bumped against the entrance wall. This game of pretending to be Sugar used to be fun as kids but not anymore. With her hands raised, she kept the strangers at bay as they surrounded her like a pack of wolves. None of them looked dangerous, but what were they doing in her sister’s house while she was at work?

The way they grinned at her and each other, she concluded they were all good friends.

Sugar had everything she wanted; a loving man, friends, and a home.

“Daedalus let you cut your hair?” A short man built like a bodybuilder approached her.

The awe in his voice snapped Spice out of her self-pity and the protector inside reared its head. This was the second reference to someone allowing her little sister to do something. “What do you mean ‘let me’?”

What kind of relationship did Sugar have? She needed permission to cut her hair? Maybe destiny brought her back to Chicago to save her little sister from some monster. Again. All those bad things happening to drive her here couldn’t be coincidental.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “Where is my sister, and what are you doing in her house?”

They glanced at each other, confusion apparent on their faces. “What?”

The man in the kitchen stuck his head out of the door, chocolate brown eyes wide as he stared at her. “Spice?” The smile he’d given to her when he thought she was Sugar returned but wider.

Her heart skipped a beat. In the light his face seemed familiar as well. “I know you.”

“You should, we were only neighbors forever as kids.”

“Eric!” He had grown. Stupid, of course he’s changed. But she never expected that the skinny, lanky bottle-cap-glasses-wearing nerd would develop into a charming, handsome I-wanna-snuggle-you-on-a-cold-night kind of man. “Hi.” The jobs as a hostess, a bartender, and the most recent, a stripper taught her how to talk to men the way they liked. But with him grinning at her like a happy puppy, her mind went blank.

He swept her into his arms in a bone-cracking hug.

“Wow, I’d forgotten Sugar had a twin.” The redhead scratched his chin. “You look exactly alike, except your hair is short.”

Eric set her back on her feet. “Let me take your coat.” He tugged on the belt and untied it. To her surprise, the small action sparked warmth between her thighs. Not like he took off her clothes but she began to wonder what it would feel like if he did.

Their eyes met. His pupils dilated, the chocolate brown faded to amber, and something feral peeked at her.

She gasped and stepped back.

The pretty oriental girl took her arm and dragged her into the living room. She chattered about making tea, but Spice’s attention riveted on Eric as he stood with the men surrounding him.

What the heck? She’d seen need in men’s eyes before but this was darker, deeper, and so much more alluring.




Excerpt 2 

To celebrate my release day I am giving away a copy of The Alpha today to a commenter.
Confession time! Tell me about your high school sweet heart, crush, or reunion.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Originally posted on May 28th. I know, it really wasn't that long ago, but this is all the history I've got. I thought I'd share this one again since I recently got the cover art :)

So, this week I'm taking a moment to gush over my excitement that "A Deadly Whisper " - The Watchers Book One, has found a home at Cobblestone Press.

When I started this whole writing journey, I have to tell you I suffered major let downs while submitting - haven't we all? LOL!

But when I got my first acceptance for "The Willow" with Liquid Silver Books, I was flying sky high. Nothing pleased me more than having someone love the stories as much as I did. It truly is an incredible feeling and I thought nothing could ever top it.

I was wrong. When I read the approval email from Cobblestone, it was a confirmation that I'm actually kinda good at writing (wink) and that it wasn't only one person who enjoyed my stories. And that is a pretty good darn feeling!

This story came to me while I was working on another. After a day of non-stop thinking about it, I put the other aside and got to work on "A Deadly Whisper". Never have a wrote a novel so quickly. I finished it in two weeks and it ended up being around 50,000 words. It consumed me!! So, I am so happy I get to share it with all of you :)





Nephillim are the offspring of a fallen angel and a human. Two kinds live within this race: Watchers―women gifted with the ability to watch the act of a demon devouring a soul. Seekers―men who fight against such evil and vow to rid the world of its existence.

The Seeker, Knox has waited two hundred years for his Watcher. And now, he has found her. But this woman, Paxtyn is not as willing to join him as he had hoped. The more he tries to prove himself to her, the more she is pushing him away…

Paxtyn has spent a lifetime keeping her secret hidden from the world, but now, she must confront these deadly visions head on. When a string of murders brings her into New Orleans, she must use her gift to communicate with spirits to discover who has ended their lives…

Nothing will ever be the same. Everything will be on the line―and Knox and Paxtyn will soon realize that the demons they hold within themselves are as far troubling as the ones they are fighting against…

Leave me a comment with your email address and you'll be entered to win a copy of "A Deadly Whisper". The winner will be drawn Monday @ 8:00 A.M. EST

Saturday, June 19, 2010

When Souls Collide Chapter 4 Part 1

We'll just get down to it this morning. I became a grandmother this week and I'm going to hang with my little grand daughter, JJ. I have to say, if you want to see two tough, gruff men turn into marshmallows, hand them a baby girl.

Enjoy,
Dawn

All rights are the intellectual property of the author. No part may be copied or reproduced without the permission of the author.


***Warning. The following story contains erotic elements, explicit language and violence. Read at your own risk.***

They dropped belly down and waited for the Kori patrol to approach. Jarod glanced at the canopy where wire was strung and ready to be released.

Soon.

He twisted, looking over his shoulder, counting his force. They were fewer in number, a quarter of the size of the unit coming up the road and a disadvantage. He’d no choice. With the Kori troops digging in and occupying the city, the Kalos numbers would only continue to shrink. The flooding season provided a brief respite, one his people needed for survival and one he’d use to his advantage.

Sometimes it seemed it never stopped. The killing, the slaughter. He wished he could take a break, rest from his responsibilities, but if he did his people would die.

There were a lot of things he’d rather be doing.

He should be preparing for Fourth night. His bride waited and tonight it would be final. She’d waited patiently for him and had been faithful for over twenty years. She deserved a husband who was all there for her, one who took the day to prepare the way she was now as his grandfather had for his grandmother. But it was a different world and she’d have to settle for him as he was. Today his focus had to be on their survival. Tonight it would be on her.

Jarod shifted on his belly and motioned the troops back into the jungle to wait. They wouldn’t be long. He’d taken out a Kori patrol that should have returned before now. The Butcher would soon be on the road, searching for them.

The Butcher may be savage as an enemy, but he was fiercely loyal to his men and accounted for all of the soldiers under his command, paying back every death threefold on the Kalos. He’d no mercy. Female soldiers were targeted as quickly as the males and he didn’t stop or hesitate to destroy on sight.

If Jarod could give his wife one gift, it would be to remove that man from their world. One less killer, one more day without running. She deserved more, but this he could give her.

The Butcher had a nose for tactics and didn’t miss much. It was almost impossible to escape when the Butcher caught scent and began to track. Many warriors had given their lives to lay down false paths and lead him off from the main group. It was a good reason to stay out of his perimeter. But this time, Jarod wanted him to come. This time he had a chance to draw him and finally destroy him and stop some of the slaughter of Kalos.

A growling echoed from the distance, sounds of the monster as he rose from his den. The corner of Jarod’s mouth curled. It would end today. The loss would weaken the Kori and take from them the one thing that gave them strength. Will.

Like a finely tuned timepiece the Butcher bared his teeth. The jungle hovers poured down the road side by side in pairs. Thin, one-man vehicles, open on the top. The hover technology, made them almost silent, except for the whoosh of the blades that created the cushion of air they glided on.

Almost silent. Jarod glanced up again eyeing the hives. A little farther. He braced himself and whistled like a Targo bird, a short shrill blast followed by choppy chirps. A sound so common, the Kori wouldn’t think twice. Several of Jarod’s men moved into position in response.

Jarod scanned the convoy. Not a one looked like the Butcher. That was odd. He tipped his head and counted the vehicles. The Butcher’s command vehicle was missing. Something wasn’t right. Where was the bastard? It was too late to stop the attack. He balled his fists. Retribution would come. More Kalos would die.

Several warriors nodded and rolled bark balls soaked in tree pitch to the edge of the embankment, waiting to be lit and sent them down the slope. The balls would release a greasy back smoke, driving the aêrscorpions in the direction Jarod desired. Toward the enemy.

His people had to adapt to the hostile planet and bend nature to suit their needs, for survival as much as war. The Kori could easily overpower them with their technologies, but they could never defeat nature or the planet.

Above, over a hundred hives hung suspended from dry vines. The drones were passive by themselves, moving from plant to plant, pollinating crops and flowers. But when the hive was threatened, they could be relentless in searching out and destroying. Now awake, they hummed with activity. The Kalos warriors had smoked the scorp’s hives, lulling them to sleep, before moving each nest and carefully placing it over the main route into the outer encampment.

The queens were retrieved, ground to a pulp and liberally spread across the ground below, right in the path of the approaching vehicles. The smell of the crushed queens would whip the entomos into a frenzy.

High tech, the hovers did have their weaknesses and Jarod intended to exploit them. The efficient engines gave off the slightest of vibrations. A sound impossible to hear with humanoid ears, but not by scorps.

He eyed the hives. As predicted, large insects flowed from the bottoms of the hives, spiraling around. Confused, they tried to locate lost pheromone trails they used to navigate their territory; instead they encountered the smell of their queens in distress and went instantly on the defense.

Jarod smiled. He missed the Butcher but he could still wound him. This loss, this attack would hurt.

Each scorpion was the size of a hand and had a stinger at least two inches in length, capable of multiple attacks. Alone, each attack burned like acid, excruciatingly painful and in mass, they were usually fatal.

A couple of drones, dove towards the convoy and were shot from the air with lazr’. Two were easy to dispatch, the treat he’d planned, wouldn’t be. More a√™rscorpions swarmed from the hives, dropping towards the hovers. Soldiers fired and missed. Two of the entomos landed on one of the Kori soldiers, punching their stingers into his flesh as if it were no thinner than tissue.

The soldier screamed and fell off his vehicle. The hover slid into a tree, flipping on its side. The giant roatary blade continued to spin, spitting dust and debris all around.

Jarod nodded to a man next to him. At first glance the soldier could easily be mistaken for Kori. A process that had taken the man overnight to achieve and was the result of sitting in a special bath where a ground root had soaked for days. It took hours of repeatedly submerging himself, to acquire the desired dusky skin color of the enemy. His warrior’s braid had been chopped off, something he’d grown from birth, and his remaining hair was dyed a deep black.

He wore a Kori uniform pillaged from one of the dead soldiers they’d caught in their ambush earlier. Five others who duplicated the same disguise, backed away from where Jarod and his squad watched.

They’d cut across the flanks, staying in the thicker vegetation, triggering the wire and dropping the hives like bombs on the unsuspecting Kori.

Jarod eyed the hives then refocused on the road. The convoy had come to a stop to recover the wounded soldier.

The levees had to be destroyed. The flooding had been the only reason the soldiers couldn’t establish a more solid base. Now that the levees were nearly complete, the Kori would be able to move and house larger forces in the area. In mass, the Kori would wipe the clans from the surface of the planet.

The trap had a simple trip-wire on the ground that would release the cable above, sending it slicing across the canopy.

The open hovers wouldn’t stand a chance against the attack, the endoscorps were one of the fastest creatures on the planet and would chase the manned vehicles for miles. There’d be no escape for the Butcher’s unit. They’d radio for help, drawing most of the armed men away from the levees. Hopefully the distraction would last long enough for his men to get in and out.

Jarod raised his hand and waved. The wire cut loose, and hives dropped to the ground, spilling a horde of angry entomos.

The bark balls were lit and the flaming missiles rolled down the slope, leaving trails of black smog like tails behind them. The horde of entomos rushed towards the Kori, pushed by the black wall of smoke.

The disguised soldiers would get past the skeletal security left behind, and deeper into the levees where they’d set fire to the new construction. They didn’t have to burn it to the ground, just damage it enough to keep it from being completed for a couple of weeks. If all went as planned, they’d all be back for Fourth night celebrations tonight.

Jarod closed his eyes and thanked the gods; Tesza was safe at camp waiting for him, not witness to the deeds of this day and the destruction he’d unleashed. No woman should witness the ugliness of war. She was the biggest reason he fought so hard. He wanted to give her and his children the gift of a world without war.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Furday...

You've seen these cats before--I never get tired of them and I hope you enjoy the furry creatures too! Comment and you'll be eligible to win a book of your choice from my backlist. Remember to leave your name and a way to contact you.

This is the last day of my ROCK Party over at A Sovereign Spot to celebrate the release of STONE COLD at Liquid Silver Books. Drop over and get your name in the hat for a copy of Book 1 in The Stonegars series.

Happy Birthday Paranormal Romantics. It's been a great year!

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

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When You Didn't Know You Could

I hear a lot of talk about how the publishing industry is cyclical. If something was popular once, nine times out of ten, it will be at some point later in time. Sometimes in the same form, sometimes altered just a bit in order to fit in with changing times. During a recent Publisher Showcase at another blog, a selection of ePubs were asked what they were looking for as far as submissions. The consensus from all of them seemed to be steampunk and post-apocalyptic. Try as I might, I can't get my head around steampunk enough to write it. I have read some however and love it. When I heard the second, post-apocalyptic, I had the same thought. I wasn't sure I could get my head around it. Then, in trolling my own hard drive as I was trying to decide what to work on next as I finished up my latest work in progress, I came across pages of notes and this:

~*~

Death.

It is an act of nature no human can escape. It is a final binding clause in humanity that is determined the moment birth occurs. From the moment you are born, you die a little each day and bring death that much closer.

It is inevitable – you will die.

Many will pass without notice. Dying silently as the muggy, hot air of summer hangs in the air. Or even as the crisp breeze of autumn blows through the trees.

Whenever – however – it happens, the fact remains that you will go. There is no escape from it though many people spend their entire lives trying to run away from that which chases them – death.

It cannot be outrun or beaten.

No matter how advanced technology is in this era, it is of no use when it comes to matters of death. Human bodies weren’t designed to live past their usefulness. The body serves its purpose and then ceases to exist.

Humans would not accept this fate and that is when the monsters came.

Humans began slicing genetic code in an effort to try to extend lifelines past the natural timeline. The attempts failed and the results were gruesome and horrific, unspeakable to even those involved in the work.

That was when the war began – a war that left the planet Earth ravaged and unfit to support human life on the surface. Thirty-four years have passed since the day six humans went underground. They are the sole survivors of the war. Four men and two women struggle daily to keep themselves alive with limited resources and dwindling food supplies.

The creatures who now walk the planet don’t know of their existence...until now.

~*~

I wrote that in 2004 and obviously forgotten it was there. Seems as if I can do post-apoc. LOL

So, now that you've seen into my absentminded brain, let's continue the celebration here at PR. Leave a comment between now and midnight EST and I'll pick one random commenter to receive a download copy of my newest release, Midnight's Ghost.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Learning Curves revisited

This blog post originally aired on September 9, 2009 and still rings true today.

As much as I would love to say this blog is all about writing a contemporary romance between a curvy gal and her hero, it’s not. Far from it. Although…no! Focus.

Do you remember when you were in school and you encountered a tough subject you just knew you’d never be able to grasp? Maybe you didn’t understand it so therefore it remained a mystery. Maybe you just needed a nudge in the right direction. Maybe you needed someone to tell you straight up what you were doing wrong and how to fix it. Regardless, I’ll bet you learned the subject and then went on to excel at it. (Just FYI, Algebra was my Achilles’ heel and I never did master it. That was because of a lack of a dedicated teacher. To this day I don’t “get” it.)

Writing is no different.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone through my life with a pen in hand, scribbling like mad on a notebook that’s always with me. I still carry a notebook, but most of my ramblings go directly to the laptop these days. The drive to create something that was both a part of me, but outside of myself at the same time burns bright. All through the years, creative writing teachers said I had talent. I could make a career as a novelist if I wanted. I entertained my fellow students with my stories. Impressed my teachers. Life was good.

Then real life did a drive-by on me and it would be another fifteen years or so before I attempted to Get Serious and Do Something about my scribbling.

I won’t go into the trials and tribulations about my road to being published. I’ve talked often on the subject and you are an enterprising web surfer you can find how I got my start. I think it's entitled Overcoming Inertia. I’m attempting to get to the point of this blog entry before my mind interjects “too wordy” or “sentence structure off. Please revise.”

Writing’s a whole big mesh of talent, turn of phrase, a bunch of rules you can or cannot break, skill and finesse. And through it all, you need to learn.

If you’re not learning, you’re fermenting, and eventually your writing will wither and die.

Enter a new editor. Good or bad tidings? (And no, ominous music is NOT playing) And just like that I entered the next phase of my writing life.

I’ve had the honor and pleasure of meeting a handful of editors over the course of the last year, and only a couple rise head and shoulders above the rest. These individuals take me outside my comfort zone, make me think about my writing, how the characters got to where they are, and why I wrote what I did.

In short, a good editor is worth their weight in gold. And these people are more valuable to me and my writing career than anything I can pull from a self-help book.

Why? They don’t take excuses, so I might as well not even try. And because I want to learn. I want to soak up the knowledge like a sponge to improve my writing and turn it from good to something fantastic. Remember when I said if you’re not learning, you’re dying? Insert that advice here in a really loud, booming voice. Don’t assume that something you wrote years ago is still as good today. It can’t be. Everyone’s style evolves. It has to or the writer grows stagnant. So, don’t close your mind to a learning opportunity. Learn. Evolve. Excel.

Oh sure, upon meeting a tough editor, you might rant and cry, go into deep denial that someone could have the audacity to mark up your work, shuffle around in depression a bit, but let me tell you, you’re going to be fine. You’re going to pull yourself out of the muck and you’re going to take a good, hard look at those suggestions in the margins. You’re going to think and think some more.

So, if you’re serious about succeeding at being an author, check your ego at the door. Then you’re going to learn and start again, this time making your story into something great.

Update, modern day June 16, 2010.

Can I just say that I remember well which book I was struggling with when I wrote this post. It's my watershed moment. I can recall, down to the very moment, when I understood alot about what being a writer--nay, an author--is all about. How exactly to craft a story and make it believable, filled with emotion, complete with flawless motivation and drive. In that one mystical moment, I firmly believed in myself and my skill as a story teller.

Oh sure, there are writers out there who will say writing isn't work and they'll continue to write exactly the same book they did before because it "worked" at whatever time. They'll say there is no new learning, no new advice. They want you to believe they are the beginning and the end in a particular genre.

I say? Don't listen to them. They're stagnating in their own odoriferous ego and quite frankly, they're stinkin' up the place for the rest of us LOL

I said it above and I'll say it again because it bears repeating. Every day, every step in the writing journey is about learning your craft. You will never know all there is to know about writing, not even when you die. Sorry kids, that's just the truth of it.

Since that scary, shiny day in September, my own writing has grown by leaps and bounds. I've strengthened it, leaped over every bar I've personally set for myself and vaulted over some that others have set for me as well. I've knocked down barriers and quieted some of the naysayers.

And you know what? I can't wait to bust the next set of myths fate throws my way because with every book I finish, I've learned a valuable lesson that will carry forward to the next.

I hope you're ready ;-)

That being said, along with the typical goodie bag I'm giving away, the lucky random winner will get a free download of my Halloween short The Haunting of Amelia Pritchart so be sure and leave your email address along with your comment.

Make it a great day folks!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'll Be Back....

This was one of my first blogs on PR and I still love it because I still LOVE Terminator. Do you? Comment below on this or any Sci Fi related issue and you can have your choice from my collection of works. Be sure to leave me your e-mail address and your choice of books.

Now, onto Terminator. Ralph and I recently went to the movies to see the newest installment of The Terminator movie. (We got a sitter and planned it weeks in advance; this is how two people with an almost two year old and an almost four year old who are pregnant with their third son go to the movies.) Several weeks earlier, we’d set up the same scenario to see The Star Trek Movie.

I know Terminator was somewhat panned by the critics but we really enjoyed it and I think, as a good friend of ours said, really the only thing wrong with it was that it came out two weeks after Star Trek which was truly exceptional and probably the movie of the summer.

Anyway, as per usual, I digress. I was quite young when the first Terminator movie came out and, in any case, I think I saw T2 first but that is neither here nor there. Over the years, I’ve watched the Terminator movies many times and enjoyed each and every one of them.

Although I knew T3 was not the favorite of most fans of the series, I loved it. Why? Because Skynet finally won. Does that sound nuts? Yup. Let me explain. In the first two movies, John and Sarah Connor (okay in T1 she’s not even pregnant with him yet but they talk about him constantly) fight to stop Skynet from doing what we are told Skynet has already done. Even after they destroy it in the first one, it comes back in 2 to try again.

I guess I kind of like the idea that sometimes the inevitable is inevitable and, for me, it was nice to see that John was finally going to become the man we are told over and over again he will be.

I think this is a running theme in most of my works. If my books have nothing much in common with each other, except for the fact that they all fall within the Fantasy/Sci Fi/Paranormal Romance genre, they share this common trait. To be honest, it wasn’t until quite recently I wasn’t even aware of this myself. But there is a character, maybe not the hero, it could be the heroine, and he or she has a destiny to meet if only they can become the person they were born to be.

Now that I am aware of this, I wonder if I will continue to do it. Hmmm….

Perhaps another common thread is that each of my books has a little bit of a fight scene in them. My critique partner once asked me how my husband felt about the fact that I was a little bit bloodthirsty? What can I say? We get babysitters to go see the Terminator movies and once upon a time I recorded the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

I’m still a girl who loves romance, multi-faceted as I think so many of us are.

Don’t forget to comment to win your choice of one of my works. Happy Birthday PR!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bald is Beautiful Re-Run

I decided to post my favorite PR blog today. It was a no brainer which one I'd choose.  I mean, look at the pictures. LOL


Happy Manic Monday! Pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of coffee, I hope you brought a fan because I wanted to discuss how bald men can be just as sexy as one with long flowing hair. Of course this will need some visual cues.


I used to agree with most women that long hair dudes were quite fetching, and still do, but somewhere over the past few years I began a small obsession with the bald. My oldest son was born bald and didn’t grow any hair until he was two so I think this is where it all began. LOL

Rubbing a smooth, soft head of a man has a calming effect. Add a little oil then the chemistry changes but I’m getting off track. *clears throat* As my fellow PR bloggers would attest, I have a fixation for these type of men. Each of my books contains at least one, I have to please myself too you know, but not all of them are in the hero’s role.

Dragos, the villain and Tane, the anti-hero, in BAIT are both Nosferatu vampires as well as Daedalus Pal Robi from my new release The Omegas. These vampires are from an ancient and powerful clan. Bald, strong, and beautiful is their own way, they’ve woven themselves in my stories. There are rumors of them popping in for a visit next Monday but I doubt I can gather them all in the same room without a fight.

My alien hero in Red Dawn is also bald but I’ll save him for later when his release date will be. I have broken the pattern though. There is hope for those who are determined for hair. The second book of the Vanguard series (Releasing Next Week) has a werewolf hero with shaggy, brown hair that keeps getting in his eyes.





The first book of the Vanguard series releases today from Lyrical Press, The Omegas. (Six months ago)

Only a vampire is man enough to teach werewolves how to fight.


BLURB:

Pretty librarian Sugar wants her life to stay quiet. That’s hard enough when friends and neighbors turn into furry wolves every full moon. But when a hot vampire gets involved, life’s bound to get complicated.

The Omega have always been the pansies of the paranormal. Now Chicago’s top werewolf pack has issued them a life or death challenge. Their only option: hire a vampire warrior to teach them the moves.
Daedalus has been a powerful vampire for ages. Intrigued by the chance to train the geeks of the underworld, he wasn’t bargaining on losing his heart to a human. Can he make the Omegas a success, fit into Sugar’s quiet life, and avoid being ripped to shreds in the process?

EXCERPT 1

EXCERPT 2

So today, I'm giving away a copy of The Omegas.