Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Okay, sequel bait. I've heard this term used often lately. My knee-jerk response is--I don't like it. I love to read series. I love to read long series. That can't happen organically unless we're introduced to characters along the way. But I realize that readers and authors hear that phrase and it brings to mind several different things.
So the reason why it bothers me might not ping on anyone else's radar. Or at least not for the same reasons.
I'll give you a perfect example. In Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series, readers (me!) have waited years to read Hawke and Sienna's story (Kiss of Snow). From the earliest snippets of them together, it was obvious they would be a couple...eventually.
Two words: sweet anticipation.
I love falling into a world and falling in love with characters. *happy sigh*
Anyway, moving on. I read a blog post by another author on this very same topic. Her take was much different than mine, and I though, interesting. She views sequel bait as secondaries who steal the show. Not just fodder for sequels, but minor characters who outshine the hero and heroine of the current book.
I can see how that would be annoying, but it's easy to let it happen. The h/h have a burden to carry. The secondaries? Not so much. They're support, and they can have moments of snappy dialogue or heroic actions or stupid actions that have consequences too severe for the h/h.
I'll also admit, there's a right way and a wrong way to handle lining up your potential future heroes. Is it safe to assume if your h or h has a sibling, that sibling will get a book? Yeah, it is. It makes sense in most cases and naturally stems from events set into action in the previous book. I like sibling stories. I must. I keep on writing them. ;)
Even friends work for me. I think the key word is "organic". When a book that's been only the h/h ends with a SWAT team full of hunks swarming a room with a twinkle in their eye, yeah, that doesn't work so well for me. And in case that's misconstrued as a potshot taken against contemporaries, the same goes for werewolf packs. Either scenario can work, but it's all in the execution.
I'd like for those SWAT or werewolf hunks to be a part of the story. Don't just drop them in at the end as a tease. Let them be involved, at least peripherally. Give them purpose outside of Possible Future Hero. Help them avoid the sequel bait title by making them contribute to the story. So when they pop up in the next book, your readers will think--"Hey, I remember you. You did something cool in the last book. Wonder what you'll do this time around?"
I view reading series as making friends along the way. I need to care about the h/h. Something they did in the previous book must cement at least a second's worth of "oh, I'd like to know more about them" for me to be properly invested when the next book is released. That's probably why I don't read stand alone novels. I'm not invested. Once I become invested, it's over and I know there isn't going to be any more. That's kind of...disappointing. :(
So what do y'all think? Is there a right way and a wrong way for highlighting your series's next hero or heroine? Do you prefer reading series? Or are you a one at the time kind of reader? (Nothing wrong with that.)
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
To win a copy of Ironhaven leave a comment or question for Ms. Buckley with your e-mail address. Winner will be chosen tomorrow.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I have to admit, Devil’s Due was the book that almost didn’t get written.
The idea for a story about a hero who buys souls for the Devil came to me a while back and floated around in my idea file for a long time before I sat down to start working on it. The concept started with one scene – the hero refusing to buy the heroine’s soul. I saw him clearly, dark-haired with piercing brown eyes that could set a woman’s soul on fire with just one look. The heroine would find him irresistible, and as much as she feared what he was, she’d fall in love with him.
But something just didn’t gel with the early drafts of the story. The rest of the characters fell into place and played their parts just as I’d envisioned, but Alex Quinn never seemed like he fit. The scenes I wrote with him and Ceara didn’t click.
I put the book aside for a long time, and it languished in my own personal slush pile until one day it hit me. I needed to go back to the ‘casting couch’ so to speak and find someone else to play Alex.
I’d made him too stereotypical. The tall, dark and handsome hero, my personal favorite combination, wasn’t exactly right for the part. Alex needed to break the mould. When I recast him as the guy with the boy-next-door good looks, the one nobody would ever suspect as dwelling just on the wrong side of the fine line separating good and evil, the story turned around.
The scenes with Alex and Ceara sizzled now and the rest of the story fell into place over the course of a few weeks of intensive writing.
It’s not easy to fire a hero. They look so forlorn slouching out of my office. I always promise to find a place for them in another book, but you know what they say. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
For Ceara Landon, the answer to that question is easy. She would do anything for her younger brother Kevin, even if saving his life means shattering his dreams.
On first glance it seems the skyrocketing success of Kevin’s band, Pillars of Stone, is a dream come true, but Ceara sees the truth. His increasing drug use will destroy him and ruin any chance he has for lasting happiness.
Ceara traces the source of Kevin’s dubious rise to fame back to night club owner Alexander Quinn. The gorgeous entrepreneur hides a terrible secret. He buys souls for the Devil, and he purchased Kevin’s in exchange for fame and fortune. In desperation, Ceara offers her own soul in exchange for Kevin’s, and for the first time in his lonely existence, Alex risks everything to refuse. He agrees to help Kevin sober up and guide his band to true success, but the price for Ceara is high. She’ll have to bargain with her heart to save her brother along with the man who wants to possess her body as well as her soul.
DEVIL’s DUE is available at Ellora’s Cave
Leave a comment or question for Ms. Colgan and be entered to win a copy of Devil's Due. Winner will be announced tomorrow.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
I’ve written a number of vampire stories. I’ve written a few psychic ability stories and one or two ghost stories. Now I hope you’re ready as I step into the next phase of my writing life and tell the story of Dylan O’Conner—a werewolf.
At first, I thought ‘werewolf’: animalistic, hot, good looking, powerful, smart. Like those on True Blood.
And yet, as I tell Dylan’s story and how he’s working to keep the woman in his life, his mate, safe from a killer, I find his story is so much more complex. He’s more in depth. After all, a vampire is a vampire all the time. And yes, even though my vampires can go out in the sunlight and eat other things more than blood, I’ve found my werewolf has more concerns.
1. He’s part of a pack. If his secret gets out and the townspeople come after him with pitch forks , it affects more than just him. It affects his family.
2. Unlike the vampire, he’s two different, separate beings, with separate needs and separate abilities.
3. His needs are more animalistic. While he knows and accepts his mate, he also knows she’s not wanting to move so fast. He has to be patient. And whoever said wolves were patient?
4. My werewolf changes with emotion, not just the full moon. So when he wants to rip the killer apart or make love with the heroine or toss her ex out the door, he’s fighting his urge to drop to all four and howl. It’s not something a ‘normal’ man would have to worry about!
5. And probably the most important concern for my werewolf, Dylan O’Conner, is his sense of justice. First and foremost, he is a wolf, geared and raised to kill his enemies. At the same time, he is a Federal Agent, trained to protect the innocent. He has also taken an oath to uphold the law. So when he finally catches the killer, how will he react? Especially when he discovers the killer is a shape shifter, too?
For the most part, this story has been a lot of fun to write, even though poor Dylan O’Conner has a lot on his plate! I just feel as my concerns and questions come up, I’m spending a lot of time backtracking and adding and rewriting. I hope to share it with you soon. It has a working title of
A HOWL IN THE NIGHT.
In the mean time you can all enjoy my latest psychic thriller, HIDE AND SEEK.
As a child, Tess Fairmont learned the horror of her psychic gift—the ability to not only see, but experience, the last moments of a murder victim’s life when she grasps the victim’s hand. Now as an adult, Tess helps the Chicago PD solve murders. But she soon finds there are things more terrifying than the serial killer in her latest visions…like the way that killer can connect to her through her own ability. She soon finds the only place she’s safe is in the arms of Dr. Michael Adams. Until the killer draws closer and engages them both in a deadly game of HIDE AND SEEK.
Buy at Amazon
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Stella (Ex-Libris) The author will be contacting you shortly to deliver your prize.
Thanks to everyone who left a comment. Now you get a chance to do it again. Let's show Ryssa Edwards, author of the books below with the smoking covers, some love.
My name’s Ryssa Edwards. I’m author of the Immortal Pleasures series and the upcoming Dreaming of a Kiss. I live just outside Dallas, where it’s probably over a hundred degrees as you’re reading this. When I’m not writing, I’m either putting together a jigsaw puzzle or reading or chasing down the next sale on scented candles.
What authors inspire you?
I like different authors for their different strengths. I love Hemingway’s short stories. He can pack a lifetime into about . . . five pages. My absolute favorite of his is “The Capital of Madrid”. H. P. Lovecraft writes amazingly creepy short stories. I’ve recently discovered Robert E Howard, the author who created Conan. He also wrote horror stories. Awesome atmosphere. Definitely need to read those by candlelight, with shadows creeping around you. Yummy!
What are your upcoming releases?
I’m so glad you asked! I have four new releases coming up.
Hunter Angel, Midnight Gamble is part III two of my Immortal Pleasures series. It’s the story of the Hunter angel Azriel and Zane, a mortal, falling in love and fighting to stay together. (September 24th)
Dreaming of a Kissing is a novel about Rafe, a college freshman who sets out to find a cure for his mother, and ends up falling in love with Kayne, a Wulf in training to be Alpha Wulf. This book is in final edits and will be coming soon from Decadent Publishing.
Johnny V and the Razor is the story of Johnny V, a driver for a greedy bootlegger and Sloane, “the Razor”, muscle in his brother Nick’s bootlegging operation. They meet and take a chance on love. It’s in final edits, coming soon from Dreamspinner Press.
Mini-Excerpt of Hunter Angel, Midnight Gamble:
Azriel moved through the city wrapped in night rhythms of jabbering tourists, glaring neon, and streets clogged with slow traffic. The Renegade was awake. All Azriel had to do was find him and dispatch his screaming headless body. The Council would understand.
His black on black eyes traced the night, looking for the Renegade’s trail. Azriel had tracked him to the city, then lost him. The crowds made a meaty hunting ground for a newly escaped Renegade. He would be trolling the night, searching out new allies, new lairs, new minions.
About twenty blocks ahead, near an alley, a faint light shimmered like white bone through muddy water. Azriel eased through the mortals around him, carefully avoiding their touch. If he brushed against them and they felt the Hunter urge rising in him, it would frighten them. Their fear would draw the Renegade the way dead flesh drew carrion. Azriel had too much on the line to risk that. His left hand itched for his sword. A moment was all he’d need.
Brilliant white light intruded into his dark intentions for the Renegade, and with it came alien thoughts, strange ideas. Should he consider mercy? Was there any creature unworthy of forgiveness? Azriel gritted his teeth and said, “Get your healing ways out of my head, Raphael.”
“And allow you to bring trouble upon yourself?” a quiet voice said beside him.
Raphael, Archangel of Healing, appeared beside him, materializing onto the sidewalk as if he belonged there. In patched jeans faded almost to white and a denim shirt that had seen better days around World War II, Raphael was inches shorter, but tough and wiry. Azriel could never escape the feeling that in a fight, they would be equally matched. “Whatever trouble I get into is my business,” he said.
“Is that so?” Raphael’s face took on a puzzled expression. “I thought it was Michael’s concern as well.”
Raphael might go around the world healing mortals and doing whatever miracles he did from those statues, but with his own kind he was as ruthless as any warrior Azriel had ever gone up against. He stopped and leaned against a wall between a closed coffee shop and an open newsstand storefront, the kind that sold magazines married men hid deep in the closet.
Hooking his fingers through two belt loops in his jeans, Azriel stared at the sidewalk just to Raphael’s left. There wasn’t anything else to do. The Archangel outranked him. “This assignment isn’t from Michael,” he muttered.
“I see,” Raphael said, his voice as soft as if he’d asked about feathers shed from a wing. “Your commander hasn’t approved a new Hunt. So the White Council has given you their approval, then?”
“No.” Talking to Raphael was like talking to a lawyer. Short answers gave him less to work with.
“And so you’re out walking to take the evening air?”
“Very good.” Raphael smiled and brought his hands together like a teacher talking to a well behaved class. “Then shall we walk in the park, and enjoy the scents of night blooming flowers together?”
Azriel almost smiled back. He almost said yeah, flowers. That sounds good. Except the park was in the opposite direction of the Renegade’s trail. And the smiling Archangel with the diamond-hard blue eyes knew that. Azriel was sure of it. “I don’t have to go anywhere with you.”
“Then you won’t mind if I go with you?” Raphael made the question sound like a command.
“Splendid.” That radiant smile again, the one that could light up the far side of the moon. “Where shall we go first?”
Raphael had worn Azriel’s patience paper-thin. “Don’t ruin this for me,” he said. “He’s a Renegade. If I can bring him down, I have a chance with Zane.”
“What you have a chance for,” Raphael said, the smile gone as if it had never happened, “is a sentence to wander the Dark Realm eternally.”
Pre-Order Hunter Angel, Midnight Gamble
You can catch up on the Immortal Pleasures series with a signed copy of Immortal Pleasures, Volume I, a print edition of “Warrior Angel, Heart’s Desire” and “Dark Angel, All the Stars”, the first two novellas in the Immortal Pleasures series. All you have to do is answer this question in a comment: Who’s your favorite paranormal character, from a movie or a book?
You can find me here on the web:
My blog: http://www.ryssaedwards.net/blog/
Warning! *Free Read Ahead* Check out “Spinner” my contribution to GoodReads’ Hot Summer Days.
I’m Ryssa Edwards and . . . thank you to the Paranormal Romantics for having me today!
Okay, Paranormal Romantics. Here's your chance to win a yummy signed copy of Immortal Pleasures. Leave a comment and I'll drop your name in the virtual hat. It's that simple. Hurry, your deadline is Friday, September 2nd at midnight. I'll announce the lucky winner Saturday before my post.
Good luck to all and have a fantastic weekend. May all you East-Coasters weather storm.
D L Jackson
Friday, August 26, 2011
After the earthquake we just had, and hurricane Irene traveling toward much of the east coast this weekend, I’m posting something a little different. Just a few things you may not have thought of for storm preparedness.
Most important – Have some cash handy (always a good thing) and CHARGE YOUR CELL PHONE – it may be your lifeline to the outside world. If you’re lucky enough to have a generator, don’t forget to gas it up!! If you’re afraid of flooding in your home, make some calls now and find the emergency shelters in your area. Don’t wait until Saturday or Sunday.
Things to keep handy: a change of clothes to fit the weather, batteries, flash lights and candles, bottled water, non-perishable foods, your prescription medicines, over-the-counter medications, baby wipes (awesome if you need to freshen up).
If you have small children, have plenty of pencils, paper and/or coloring books to occupy them. Hey, Abe Lincoln studied by the light of a fireplace! They can color by candlelight if need be.
Unplug electrical appliances to avoid a surge in case of lightning.
If you’re right in Irene’s path and decided to “weather the storm” at home and things get really bad, go to the basement. Stay as close to the ground as possible: if you live in a high rise, find a safer location to wait out the storm.
Stay away from large bodies of water. DO NOT go to the shore this weekend... really, don’t!
Last, but not least, have lots of good books on hand!
Everyone, be safe and take care!
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele
Thursday, August 25, 2011
All the guest posts were actually a good thing for me as summertime is when my daughter competes the most. In fact, since July 1, we've been to Nashville, Charleston, Niagara Falls and Atlantic City. Then, my daughter got sick this past Sunday, we had an earthquake on Tuesday and we're preparing for Hurricane Irene this coming Saturday. So, yeah, my stress levels have been through the roof. LOL
Needless to say, anything having to do with writing has dwindled to almost nil. However, and I'm not quite sure how, but I managed to finish the first draft of an erotic paranormal romance -- a male/male. It's with beta readers right now and early comments so far have been fantastic. I'm looking forward to digging back in and revising a few things and seeing what I can do with it.
Oh! And I had two releases last month while I was running around traveling: Ragged Edge, a full-length contemporary erotic romance (m/m/f) w/ BDSM elements from Ellora's Cave and Impulse Control, a short futuristic/sci-fi erotica w/ BDSM elements from Decadent Publishing (this one is actually the first book in a series, Sypricon Masters, and the next book, Perfect Limit, should be out very soon).
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I walked out of Cowboys & Aliens mumbling to my husband, “Geez, I wish I’d written that.” Did I think the story was believable? Hey, every time I pick up a book or walk into a theater, I suspend my disbelief—so yeah, I bought into the whole enchilada. The cowboys were hot (Daniel Craig scintillatingly delicious, Harrison Ford weathered and still worth a second look), the scenery breathtaking, and the action non-stop. What’s not to like?
I don’t know if shifters qualify as aliens, lol. But even before I saw the movie, I was hooked on the idea of merging the Old West with paranormal. Emerging from a frenzy of note-making and an exploratory #sixsunday preview, I ended up writing my first shifter story that starts in a wolf hunt—only in my version, the wolves don’t die. J
Like a field commander at war, Old Lobo stood above, directing the attack from a rock shelf. Jake drew a bead on the animal and muttered, “Die you sonovabitch.”
Squinting upward, he pulled the trigger watching in satisfaction as his bullet found its mark. But instead of dropping where he stood, the big wolf staggered to the rocky edge, teetering there for a moment before tipping forward to plummet toward the ground.
As if saying goodbye, the wind cradled the body for a heartbeat. Then with a despairing moan it blew through the camp, scattering shards of smoldering embers, scorching Jake with avenging sparks, and tossing the wolf at him as he stumbled backward.
The attacking wolves dropped to their bellies. Their mournful howls were accompanied by the wind’s unholy promise of vengeance. Pinned beneath Old Lobo’s crushing weight Jake looked into the eyes of a demon and knew he was about to die.
Leave a comment & go in a drawing to win any book written by a Paranormal Romantics author. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and also to this wonderful group of authors for inviting me.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
If you're looking for a very erotic read that has a captivating plot, then this book is for you!!
Belal, High Prince of Hell and Keeper of the Deadly Sin Sloth, is expanding his power in the world of the 1800s by trafficking opium. He revels in the results, and as sloth begins to overtake the mortal realm, all of Hell suffers. The balance of power in Hell, as well as the fate of the Universe, will be decided by a half-demon peasant girl.
Natalia Shura, the daughter of Asmodeus, High Prince of Hell and Keeper of the Deadly Sin Lust, is unaware of the nature of her birth. When her demonic side begins to awaken, her world becomes dominated by dark passions and deadly craving, and Natalia believes she is losing her mind. But Natalia's love has been foretold as the only thing that can stop Belal and his allies, and they will do anything to prevent her ascension.
Facing assassins, avenging angels, Hell's deadly politics —and her real father — Natalia must accept the love of more than one man and embrace her demonic heritage as a Princess of Lust. If she doesn't, all that she loves will be destroyed, and Heaven and Hell will plunge into Chaos.
1870 Kazan, Russia
Natalia stared at her mother, who leaned out the door and called for Mr. Trezent. He strode into the room, dressed from head to toe in royal blue velvet. His long tunic had silver embroidery across the neck and down the front. Silver fox fur lined the collar and brushed against his throat.
The color brought out the deep red in his hair and complemented his broad figure. She had a moment to appreciate his features as he studied her. They were finely formed with high and prominent cheekbones. In the lamplight, his chocolate-brown eyes appeared almost black and they were slightly tilted at the corners. She idly wondered if he had some Tartar blood in his lineage.
Her mother glared at him and shook her finger. “Do not upset her. She’s still recovering.”
Mr. Trezent offered a charming smile, and she simpered at him. Natalia distrusted him even more. How dare he pretend to be a normal man.
Her mother closed the door as she left, and Mr. Trezent turned his face back to her. The charming smile was gone. In its place was cold calculation and hunger. Oddly enough, she found his expression reassuring. At least he wasn’t trying to be someone he was not around her.
Dark and spicy, his cologne and scent filled the air of her small room. She could feel his desire, and in the back of her mind, she knew exactly what he wanted. His lust broke her barriers and awoke her essence; it thirsted for his warmth and passion. Her self-control slipped away, and she felt helpless to stop it.
Ignorant of her internal struggle, he arrogantly ran his eyes over her body, lingering on her hips and breasts.
“Why are you here?”
His full lips softened at the sound of her voice. “To see the little hellcat that tried to slit my throat.”
Saturday, August 20, 2011
*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*
Take it away, Ann.
Just the idea of him kissing another woman turns my stomach. So why in the world does it turn me on so much to read about it in romance, and why did I choose to write a very steamy short story, Amber Moon, where a husband and wife bring another woman into their relationship as a permanent third partner?
Because in the wonderful world of my shifter series, ‘Prides of the Moon’, the dynamics of a relationship among my werepuma’s are anything but ordinary. The heads of my prides are made up of Alpha Males and Alpha Females, mated and bonded together so that they can speak in each other’s thoughts and feel each other’s emotions. They share everything pain and pleasure, and they would no more hurt each other through betrayal than they would hurt themselves.
Every Alpha needs a beta to be their second in command, to watch their back and be their confidant. The betas need their Alpha’s just as much, they yearn to belong to someone powerful enough to protect them and worthy of their devotion. The Alpha’s also bond with their Betas, and this can lead to all kinds of different relationships, including M/F/F.
When the bonded couples make love, the members of the same sex can feel the sensations that their partners are feeling. It’s quite hard to be jealous when watching your mate make love with another female feels like he’s making love to you as well. The emotional satisfaction that a bonded mates feel for each other is the ultimate goal of all shifters. Bi-sexuality is common, after all imagine how good it would feel to be with another woman and be able to feel the dual sensation of kissing her and being kissed. Of drowning in her desire, feeling her passion as you make her and yourself climax over and over again.
In Amber Moon, Madeline and Nick Turea are the married ruling Alpha’s of the Amber Moon Pride. As you can imagine, finding just the right pairing of Alpha and beta is a very long and difficult process, sometimes impossible. Nick and Madeline have joined a very special, very exclusive dating service called 1 Night Stand, run by Madam Eve. Through the dating service they hope to find one very special female to fill the void in their life, the empty spot that should be held by their beta.
I invite you to step inside my world of magic, danger, and love without shame or prejudice. Where magic rules the night and true love conquers all, but only if you have the courage to accept it into your heart. I’ll be giving away books #1 and 2 of my Prides of the Moon series, ‘Amber Moon’ and ‘Emerald Moon’ to one lucky commenter. So tell me, if you were an Alpha female, what kind of pairing would you want? An Alpha and beta male to share your every desire? Or would you want an Alpha male and a beta male and female? Your imagination is the only limitation. :)
Friday, August 19, 2011
What will I write about? Therein lies the problem I’ve had since returning to full time work. I come home, kick my shoes off, and quickly change into something comfy. Grabbing a cold beer or a glass of my own special blend of Sangria, I sit down and put my feet up. The remote is right where it was left last night, or was that yesterday! With a deep sigh, I turn on the TV, and quickly, I'm swept away.
An hour later, I tell myself to get up and go write something… anything. But first, I have to catch up with the shows I’ve missed.
Has anyone seen Suits on USA Network? Where did Gabriel Macht come from, and how did I miss his arrival? Now he'd be worthy of writing about. Hmm, if I could get him out of the suit....
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Well, I'm working on my next book in the Shadow Warrior series. It is the fifth installment and I'm getting hung up on the name for my heroine. She's Latina and she's gutsy and a modern day warrior in the US Army. She's in a situation over her head, but in the name of family, she'll tough it out. I'm tired of calling her "h" for heroine in my plotting notes. So, I've come up with a list of names. I do have a favorite I'm leaning towards. I've also rejected a few. Like stepping into a dress that you know is "the one," I'm waiting for that punch of recognition that this is her name. It fits. It matches and nothing else could possible do.
2... Helena (Elena)
Let me know what you think of the names below. Do any work for you or not? And why or why not if you can explain. Sometimes it's hard because there is no reason, only a feeling. I'll take what impressions I can get.
In celebration of the 1st book in the SHADOW WARRIORS series, I am holding a contest. Follow me & the tzitzimime (celestial demon and nemesis of Shadow Warriors) on the blog tour and leave a comment to be entered to win a $25 gift certificate from Samhain Publishing. It’s that easy! All entries must be in by August 24th. The winner will be declared on www.gabriellahewitt.com/blog/ August 26th. Contest starts June 5th and ends midnight August 24th (EST).One winner will be chosen at random.
About the author:
Gabriella Hewitt is the pen name of creative writing talents Sasha Tomaszycki and Patrizia M.J. Hayashi. Together they weave tales of romantic suspense and dangerously sensual paranormals. Check out the website www.GabriellaHewitt.com to find out about upcoming releases and events on her blog.