Friday, February 28, 2014

Paranormal Tendencies!

I'm trying to remember the first paranormal romance I ever read. I can't remember. In my teens I was a fan of Gothic romances. Barbara Michaels had some scary ghosts!

It may have been the old Silhouette Shadows books, which were very hard to find back in the day!  I would scour the romance shelves at the UBS looking for those.

Then I found Buffy--and Buffy fanfic. A few other vampire books started to appear. When ebooks came out I was an early buyer, as long as I could use Paypal because we didn't trust those shopping carts with the credit card! Ellora's Cave had paranormal romances galore, and even scifi romance.

Since those early days I have been able to find all the paranormal romances I have time to read! I've written a few paranormal novellas, but all in the same 'world'.

Something has been stirring in my brain, wanting to get out!

I recently rewatched a couple old shows --Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Charmed. I had never watched the first season of Charmed, so that was fun. I reread the Harry Potter series. Thoughts, impressions, visuals of ivy covered gothic buildings are churning, a new world is forming, flashing in and out of my thoughts.  I started taking notes. I think I'm onto a new writing idea--so much so I decided to change my blog and website banner. Not divorcing scifi romance, just adding more!

I've heard that paranormal romance is dead, but I don't believe it. I think too many readers and writers still have paranormal tendencies!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Column at USA Today Happily Ever After Blog

I'm cross posting this from my own personal blog because I’m super excited to announce that Joyce Lamb, Curator of the Happily Ever After (HEA) blog at USA Today, invited me to write a twice-monthly column revolving around (drum roll!) => science fiction & fantasy romance books! Sci-Fi Encounters  .

Starting today, I’ll be giving a “signal boost” to SF&F romance in my new column and hoping Readers will weigh in too. I’ll try to provide a mix of news, author Q&A, reviews and reader views, with my opinions sneaking in on occasion. I’ll have fun talking about a mix of established authors, small press and self published. I will no doubt talk on occasion about paranormal (and we do talk about science fiction here at Paranormal Romantics sometimes).

My first special guest at HEA is S. E. Smith, a USA Today and International Best Selling author of science fiction romance. If you look at the Top 100 books on Amazon right now, her novel Hunter’s Claim is #1 for books and kindle in SFR and she has four more books in the Kindle Top 40 for that category as well. S. E. was fun to interview! 

If you want to send me suggestions for “Sci-Fi Encounters” please use the scifiencounters at gmail dot com address. Don’t forget to check out the lists of new releases that Joyce posts for you weekly on the HEA blog – my column can only hit a few highlights of all the many books that come out every month.

Still here? Well, why don't we hop on that transporter pad and beam on over to the column at USA Today/ HEA?

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Appeal of the Hot Alpha Male

In Paranormal Romance there are men who will steal your heart while taking down bad guys, running packs, prides, or controlling vampire corporations (as an example, of course. There are many other delicious variations). 

I love reading about hot alpha men who make their own rules. My heart stomach flips when I see the strong male lead show his love in a way that he's unaware of. When the others around him realize he's fallen. Most of all, when he tells and shows the heroine just how far he's willing to go to protect and save her. 

At the same time, a hot alpha male story needs a strong heroine who can go toe-to-toe with the hero. No doormats! I want a woman who I can look up to. A woman who is worthy to make that strong man fall head-over-heels in love. 

On March 8, 2014, ten authors will be bringing you their favorite Alpha Males in a sexy boxed set of all heat levels. 

For those who love alpha men, what is it that draws you to them? 

A Discount For You: 

I can't wait until this set releases. And guess what? We're going to price it at 99 cents for a limited time! It's our way to give back to the fans for their support of our writing dream. I love you guys. 


He makes your heart pound and melts your resistance away. He promises you a world of passion and you find it impossible to resist his dark charm. When he catches your eye across the room, you know he means business. He could be an executive, cop, shape shifter, or a bad boy looking for a little fun. Once he has you in his sights, you can't get away—and after one sizzling night in his arms, you won't want to. He’s Tall, Dark & Alpha. The alpha male is the ultimate indulgence…the richest dark chocolate…and we’re offering him to you in abundance.

Delve into the sensual worlds of award-winning authors: Randi Alexander, Koko Brown, Sam Cheever, Delaney Diamond, Eve Langlais, Afton Locke, Dawn Montgomery, Farrah Rochon, Paige Tyler, and Eve Vaughn. Immerse yourself in the alpha male experience.

There will be contests-a-plenty on release week at the Tall, Dark & Alpha Facebook Page

Sunday, February 23, 2014

When your present is in the past...

When I first set out to write "Blood of the Pride" it wasn't a hard choice to figure out where to set it. It was automatically going to be my hometown of Toronto, Ontario - CANADA! After all, where else could I set it and keep it feeling so realistic?

But the odd thing was that I wrote it while living in the US - Pennsylvania, where I emigrated in 2000 after marrying a sweet-talking American who wooed me through fanfiction fan emails. By the time I wrote BotP I had been in the US for a few years and far, far away from the Toronto I knew and loved.

When I returned to Toronto for a visit I was astonished at how much had changed - especially in the downtown core. Stores had closed and opened, buildings torn down for condominiums, the old pinball arcades I knew in my youth now trendy boutiques.

But my Toronto still existed - in my mind and in my books. When Rebecca and Brandon run around the city either chasing or being chased I still see my old Toronto, the city where I played pinball in one of the parlors on Yonge Street until 2 am before grabbing a panzerotto and heading for the all-night Queen Street streetcar. Or maybe visiting the Silver Snail, the best comic shop EVER, down on Queen before wandering into Bakka, the best science-fiction bookstore and puttering up into Chinatown.

I realized that by the time you write about a city it's already passed you by - or most of it has, the expendable bits. The landmarks and the memorials might remain but a lot of the simpler stuff, the smaller stuff like a hot dog vendor or a hole-in-the-wall bookstore have warped and changed with time.

It's a bit humbling to think that I captured a part of history in my writing. My Toronto, my memories of what it was like and what it won't be again as time moves on and change takes over. I'm wondering if anyone has read or written about a city and then gone there - were you disappointed in what you saw, what was or wasn't there from the book?

All I know is that my Toronto isn't what's there now. And while it's a bit exciting to see the changes it's a wee bit sad...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sit! Stay! Write!

I have a big writing list this year. It's bigger than I've taken on before...well, that's not true. I'm pretty prolific when it comes to writing, but I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. I write what I'm in the mood for, and I've had that freedom for most of my career.

That's not the case right now. I have series I need to continue, and time has come to get it going. The exciting thing? Most of the stories are paranormal!! I get to visit some of my very favorite characters. Three main series I'm planning to either finish or continue this year are sooooo different. They require different mindsets and I love the lines equally.

F*** Like Bunnies Series:

Werebunnies--irreverent, sex-crazed shifters who are visited by other paranormal creatures like vampires, succubae, zombies, kitsune and more! Bunny Ball is due this year.

Creating Home Series:

Werewolves--warm, loving creatures who crave home and love and laughter. Highly emotional and so much fun. Down to earth--the kind of werewolves that make a reader kind of wish they were a werewolf. Book 3 (as yet untitled) is on the writing list.

Justice Fraternity Chronicles:

Superheroes--super humans who use their powers for good. These men and woman are amazing, over the top and expect the same for their love lives. Fallen Love is nearly done, the story of Sparrow. When the love of his life turns bad, Sparrow is left to raise their daughter alone. His sacrifices draw the attention of Erin, a doctor specializing in superheroes. Together, they'll face Esmerelde, Sparrow's former lover. Anything short of victory means certain death.

Different stories, different themes, different tones---all paranormal!! I'm so excited. Now, back to work!

Need something while you wait for the new stories? Try Alice's Dragon.

Dragon Charmer—taking care of your pesky dragon problem—for a price.

Business is good for Alice, right until her dragon goes crazy and bites off her arm. To make matters worse, a tall, dark stranger kills the cash-cow dragon before her eyes.

Instead of dying from her wounds, Alice finds herself under the tender care of Bade, a gentle-handed Bulgarian far from home with secrets in his satchel.

If they can scratch each others backs, the secrets might live on and Alice might still have a job. She’s never backed down from a challenge, but she’s in for more than she bargained for with the tall, dark stranger.

Buy Now at Amazon 

All the best,
Stephanie Beck

Friday, February 21, 2014

Now back to our regularly scheduled post...

Yep, for once there isn't anything topical taking place, so I can talk about one of those issues we come across when writing Paranormal Romance (or, occasionally, Sci Fi Romance).


In Real Life, we generally start looking really oddly at any couple where one of them is twenty five percent or so older than the other. Sixteen dating a twenty year old? On the edge of weird, and potentially illegal in some areas. At twenty and twenty five, the gap is still something to comment over. Move it up to twenty eight and thirty five, and people are wondering what the older one sees in the younger one. Keep going. It works all the way on up, although at eighty and one hundred, maybe the first thing in our minds isn't the age gap, but if we think about it, the older one graduated high school before the younger one was born.

There are a lot of reasons for that, but two of the big ones are maturity and common ground; why are both of them at the same stage in life, and how much can two people with that kind of age gap really have in common?

Increase the age gap to fifty percent, and people are sure one is taking advantage of the other. There's usually some argument as to who is the predator and who is the prey, but we're sure something is wrong.

Then we have our namesake genre; Paranormal Romance.

In ParaRom, the age gaps get crazy. A woman barely out of college might be romanced by a vampire born in the middle ages. A guy in his twenties might woo a woman born in ancient Egypt. Both of those are nothing compared to some of the really oddball ones, like anyone getting together with an angel or fae or some other whatnot from the dawn of time.

Now, I'm not gonna say exactly when, but I've been in at least two of those 'how much older was he / she?' relationships. In the two cases I'll admit to, both of them started based on some mistaken identity, where each of us thought the other was far closer to our own age. That works for the younger of most of our ParaRom couples, since our ingénues often start out not even believing in the paranormal, but I gotta wonder, what drives the older of the pair, who presumably has items of clothing older than the ingénue, to get with someone who doesn't even remember the moon landing?

Boredom? Wanting to feel young again? Predating the cultural stigma of wide age gaps in relationships? Like I said, it weirds me out.

Then again, remember how I mentioned Sci Fi earlier? We're right on the cusp of being able to reverse the aging process. We've done it already in mammals, which means it's no longer a question of 'can it be done', its just a question of 'how do we do it safely for humans'. So some of you out there reading may live to see quadruple digit ages, all without a need for the blood of the innocent, or strange rituals, or anything but a shot every few decades. The process they're working on doesn't just make someone live longer; it brings that someone back to prime-of-life vitality.

So we'll have real world centuries old folks out playing Ultimate Frisbee with college kids, or doing whatever active folks do in the future. We're going to see those 'one of them is ten times older than the other, and they're both legal' couples. When that happens, are we going to look at them and wonder what they see in each other, or by that time will we be looking back on us now and wondering why it was a big deal if a thirty year old dated a ninety year old?

So, if you're in a mood, tell me in the comments; what's your opinion? Are the Edwards and Eric Northmans the creepers of the paranormal world, or does age stop mattering when... well, it stops mattering.

If you're REALLY brave, tell me the biggest age gaps you've personally had in a relationship; I'll

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Reading and TV Obsessions

My Reading and TV Obsessions

So I’m going to do something a bit different for my post. Normally I promo my books because I really am not sure what to talk about when I blog. I have to credit the wonderful  TJ Michaels for giving me the idea of this blog. Today, I’m going to talk about two of my passions: reading and TV shows. Before I became a writer I was a reader, as all authors are. We read before we write. That’s where we find our passion, our joy, our happiness, our pain and our anger. We live thousands of lives through characters we come to love and hate. We have thousands of fictional best friends and boyfriends.

When I was little I didn’t read paranormal. My faire was more Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Kids and The Babysitters Club along with the Sweet Valley High books. When I got older I discovered paranormal. My first taste of it was the Den of Shadows series by the amazing Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. I started reading them at a time that was very difficult for me. I was going through an emotional breakdown. I had very little tethering me and then this came along and fell, hard. I discovered I was not alone in my feelings of anger, deep sadness, depression, the feeling of loss and so much more. After that I was hooked on paranormal. After The Den of Shadows, on recommendation by Ms. Atwater-Rhodes came the Anita Blake series. Boy was that a shock! But a good one.

From there I immersed myself in other worlds, dabbled in fantasy. Unlike most fantasy readers I read LotR first, then, The Hobbit. We won’t discuss the spiders okay? Okay, good. This leads to what I’m reading and watching. First what I just finished reading: Kicking It by Faith Hunter, Kalayna Price, Shannon K. Butcher, Rachel Caine, Lucienne Diver, Chris Marie Green, Chloe Neill and Rob Thurman. I read this book in three days. What? I had to sleep sometime! But also, because I didn’t want this anthology to end. I didn’t just want more stories, I wanted all the books associated with the stories. Some authors I wasn’t familiar going in but by the end I had new best friends and fictional boyfriends. Which of course leads me to wanting and leads me to wish for an unlimited credit card which I wouldn’t have to pay back. Which of course is what everyone, especially readers who don’t have the whole series want. Here is the blurb to whet your appetite and don’t blame me if you get hooked:


New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine has modern-day potions witches Holly and Andrew facing off against a firebrand politician who wears literally killer boots in a Texas-sized rodeo of trouble.

Boot-loving Cadogan vampire Lindsey must team up with off-again, on-again vampire partner Luc when a woman from her past is targeted by supernaturals in New York Times bestselling author Chloe Neill’s all-new adventure.

And New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman features Trixa Iktomi from her Trickster series dealing with magical vengeance and magical footwear.

Taking kick-ass urban fantasy literally, USA Today bestselling authors Kalayna Price and Faith Hunter bring together the best of the genre to once again prove when you’re fighting supernatural forces, ithelps to keep your feet on the ground.

I highly recommend this series. You can buy the book at Amazon, B&N, OmniLit, Kobo, iStore
Now onto the TV portion of this post. I’m new to the Game of Thrones world. I discovered it a few years ago, not when it first came out but, that doesn’t stop my obsession much and right now, having read all five books, I wait as patiently as possible for book six, Winds of Winter and obsessed, with friends, which is totally normal by the way, over what characters will be included in the latest season, what storylines will be written in, what they’ve left out, what they need and I mean NEED to include in the next season and what I felt didn’t go so well in the last season. Needless to say when the latest sneak peek was posted I was in fan heaven, only to come down when I realized there was still a wait ahead of me but at least it wasn’t as long as anticipating the Winds of Winter book release date and finished  product. Check out the video here:

My other new TV obsessions is the new season of  The Walking Dead, Face Off, Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow (which needs to come back like NOW! As well as fangasming over Arrow and the Suicide Squad storyline and trying to decided whether I like Intelligence with Josh Holloway with it’s futuristic coolness. I’ve also discovered The Originals, which I find fascinating. On the non paranormal front of TV I’m crying over the long wait for new Sherlock while rejoicing in the upcoming Ripper Street’s newest yet last season and discover Reign.

Right now I’m currently reading: Her Highness, The Traitor by Susan Higgenbotham.

What are you reading or watching that has you in fan heaven?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Published: Expect the Unexpected

I enjoy hearing about other author’s publishing journey because everyone has such a different experience and/or path to getting published, especially now, with the industry changing so much. I have friends who have successfully made it down the agent and publishing house route, some with small press, and others self-published, and now the ever growing cadre of hybrid authors of which I now count myself a part of.

I had a very amazing occurrence in my publishing journey, which I thought it would be interesting to share because you just never know what to expect.

When I completed the manuscript for the Necromancer’s Seduction, after pitching and querying, I decided to submit to some small presses. With my non-writing day career and family to consider, the small press route seemed the best fit for the time being. One of my choices was Imajinn Books, a press that specialized in urban fantasy/paranormal romance and was publishing a series I was enjoying immensely. I submitted and to make a long story short, they offered me a contract for my necromancer trilogy. While I was elated, I was also kind of stressed at the prospect of deadlines! Fortunately, the founder of Imajinn, Linda Kichline, was a wonderful person to work with. Linda wrote for both Silhouette Books and Harlequin, started Imajinn to publish the type of paranormal books not being picked up by many of the larger publishers at the time, around 1999.

To our dismay, Linda passed away last September, leaving the Imajinn authors saddened and wondering what would happen to Imajinn. Linda was friends with Debra Dixon, founder of Belle Books, Belle Bridge Books. Debra announced, to my relief and excitement, Imajinn would become an imprint of Belle Books. While expanding the line, Imajinn would also preserve Linda's legacy. But, if that wasn’t enough great news, a few months later she announced that she'd hired Brenda Chin, previously of Harlequin, as the new Editorial Director of Imajinn.

To give perspective on this turn of events, I have to flip back a couple of years to the Desert Dreams Conference organized by my local RWA chapter, Desert Rose in 2012. I was just starting out on my journey. It’s where I went through the agony of pitching, that I mentioned earlier. My friend and I were hanging out at the hospitality suite and Brenda Chin walked in. I wasn’t pitching to her because my manuscript didn’t fit with the Harlequin Blaze line, but we decided to ask her about pitching. We gathered our nerves and approached her, and she sat down with us and chatted and it was fantastic. My first experience with an editor and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I remember thinking how I wished I had something to pitch to Brenda.

Flash forward. Me jumping up and down and squeeing after reading the announcement that Brenda Chin is my new editorial director. Who could have guessed!! And what a bizarre, tragic turn of events that led me to Belle Books. I could have blown off talking to Brenda. I’m so glad I didn’t. I learned first hand how this crazy author whirlwind is amazing, full of twists and turns and to expect the unexpected and keep yourself open to all the possibilities and chance encounters. You never know where the next opportunity will arise, or if the person you talk to in the hospitality suite will be your next editor!

Mimi Sebastian

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dissecting Fight Scenes (Black Widow vs. Hawkeye)

Last month on the blog, I started my series about fight scenes, and today (and in honor of Valentine's Day!) I continue that with...

Black Widow vs. Hawkeye in Marvel's The Avengers

(Fight starts at 2:02)

OK, I admit I might have picked this fight because I love how much ass Black Widow kicks. I love her.

But really let's talk about the fight choreography in this because Black Widow actually fights like a girl. And I mean that in a good way. Most women can't compete with men when it comes to brute strength, which is why most fighting styles that work for women (like Brazilian jiu jitsu, etc) are all about someone physically weaker defeating someone stronger. BW doesn't just square up to Hawkeye and punch him. She tries a sneak attack, she uses the environment and the available weapons to attack him. She's flexible physically and mentally. And when he's got her in a lock and is about to stab her she bites him. Which is how real, I'm fighting for my life combat works: no such thing as "cheating". (I'm looking at you Will Turner...)

Now let's talk about the character stuff going on. Hawkeye and BW are partners. They have history and, at this moment, he's been brainwashed and he's working for the bad guys. So Black Widow is trying to incapacitate him without killing him, and Hawkeye is trying to kill her because he's got a mission.

But this fight, beneath the surface, is also deeply personal despite the brain washing. These people are great friends (in my headcanon they're also lovers but we can leave that for now). We just had a scene where Loki pinpointed that BW's greatest fear is Hawkeye hurting her, killing her. And five minutes later we have a scene where Hawkeye is trying to do just that. (A+ writing, Joss Whedon)

The choreography of the fight even mirrors this preoccupation with the intimacy between BW and Hawkeye. A lot of this fight is close quarters, face to face, hip to hip. The ending is basically an embrace between them--a grunty, I'm trying to kill you with my knife kind of embrace, yes, but still: they're in each others' arms. Even the fight itself is underlining the intimacy between these two people. Especially when you consider that Hawkeye is primarily a sniper. He doesn't usually fight face to face, he shoots people from far away--but not with Black Widow. 

And what finally breaks the fight up? Hawkeye pulls her hair and then she bites him. Those are intimate actions, personal. No weapons, no fancy kicks or arrows. It's still about the two of them.

Basically, the takeaway from this fight is that you can (and should) use the choreography of the fight itself to underline what's going on beneath the surface, what the characters are feeling, what the dynamics are between them. Have cool choreography, yes, but use it to help you tell your story by elaborating on character, theme and subtext. That punch isn't just a punch it can also mean "I love you. Come back to me."

Ta for now,
Beth Matthews

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Fun Trick to Focus on the Positive

by Jeffe Kennedy

First off, this week a group of us writer-types from SFWA (Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America) are staging a sale of sf/fantasy books. We'll be nattering about this and cross-posting all over the Internet. This is an opportunity to pick up some good reading material at great prices. For details, look here.


I've read many times that - meaning as human beings - have a tendency to sabotage ourselves by focusing on the negative. We all know this, right? I've seen various statistics and studies, but most suggest something along the lines of that, if we see ten compliments about ourselves and one insult, we remember the insult. Worse we inflate the negative one so much, that we actually forget the positive ones.

Really awful.

My editors, like most, like to gripe on Twitter while they're editing. Things like 

In both of these recent cases, I knew neither of them were talking about MY books. Though Deb did have one of my books in her editorial paws, it's the first in a series, not a sequel. And Peter's tweet happened to be in a thread where he was reviewing queries. So, I breathed a sigh of relief and went on with my life.

But see, at other times, the gripe *could* be about my books. Worse, if it's at all possible, I tend to assume it is me they're complaining about.

So destructive to my peace of mind.

Thus, I made a resolution this year to make a conscious choice to assume that it's not me they're talking about. If they want to tell me to fix something, they will. Therefore they're talking about someone else. Every time. This has been so good for me.

Then, last night I saw a tweet where someone squeed about the book they're reading. They called it magical, witty and wonderful. I thought, oh! I wish that could be about MY book. And I decided, maybe it is! So I pretended it was, and I absorbed all that lovely, giddy delight.

It felt amazing.

I think we should all try this. Hear or read a random complaint? Assume it's about someone else. Encounter glowing non-specific praise? Figure that it's clearly about you! Hooray!

Now - everyone go out and try this and let me know how it goes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine's Playlist

Love songs and Valentine's Day go together like candles and a romantic dinner, chocolate and champagne, silk scarves and floggers. Er, or whatever suits your fancy. We here at Paranormal Romantics couldn't let the day go by without marking the occasion. Here is the ultimate Valentine's Day playlist, full of deliciously romantic songs chosen by your humble bloggers.

Jeffe Kennedy -> When You Say Nothing At All by Alison Krauss


Veronica Scott -> My Heart Will Go On (instrumental version)

Diane Burton -> Take My Breath Away by Berlin

Melisse Aires -> Wicked Game by Chris Isaak

Mimi Sebastian -> Fade Into You by Mazzy Star

J. Hali Steele -> Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone

Selena Illyria -> All Of Me by John Legend

Maureen Bonatch -> At Last by Etta James

Virginia Nelson -> My Immortal by Evanescence

Jane Kindred -> The Shape of My Heart by Sting

Sonya Clark -> Cosmic Love by Florence + The Machine

Happy Valentine's Day from everyone at Paranormal Romantics!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SWEET Valentine Giveaway: Books, eBooks or a Gift Card

In appreciation of all our lovely Readers, we here at Paranormal Romantics  wanted to wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day (or simply a beautiful February Day if you're not into the pink hearts & flowers holiday)! And to make the celebration more fun we're doing a giveaway, which is our first in way too long. (For various reasons we're limiting this to the United States Readers
only and must be 18+ to enter - sorry!)

$100.00 Amazon Gift Card
Sponsored by Maureen Bonatch, Diane Burton, Selena Illyria, Jeffe Kennedy,Jane Kindred, V. S. Nelson, Veronica Scott, Mimi Sebastian, J Hali Steele and E. D. Walker

FIRST PRIZE: 9 Print Books from our Authors!
(Most will be autographed)
$20 Amazon Gift Card PLUS:
The Pilot by Diane Burton
Heir to the Underworld by E. D. Walker
Necromancer's Seduction by Mimi Sebastian
The House of Arkhangel'sk TRILOGY (counts as 3 books) by Jane Kindred
Escape from Zulaire, Wreck of the Nebula Dream and Dancer of the Nile from Veronica Scott

SECOND PRIZE:eBooks from our Authors
$20 Amazon Gift Card PLUS:
Two Books of your choice from Any Ruttan's Backlist
1st three Acts of Master of the Opera from Jeffe Kennedy
Shepherd's Watch: Controlled by J Hali Steele
Holiday Blues (pdf) from J Hali Steele
Eternal Blades (for kindle) from V. S. Nelson
Draven's Crossing (pdf) by Selena Illyria
Double Dipped (pdf) by Selena Illyria
Dragons at Midnight by Selena Illyria
ARC of Stacking the Deck by Selena Illyria

Each Author will be responsible for delivering their book or books to the Winners. Veronica Scott will co-ordinate the delivery of the Amazon Gift Cards.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Perfume of the Pharoahs

 VS sez: here's one from the archives today, revised a bit...
Warrior of the Nile is my second paranormal romance set in Ancient Egypt, Dancer of the Nile is my third and the fourth -  Magic of the Nile - will be out in March.. Since I knew I would be doing a post here on the Paranormal Romantics blog this week, I was scanning through the manuscripts last night, to see what might inspire me as a topic to write about, and I came up with – perfume!
The Egyptians loved and treasured perfume, starting with the scent of the blue Nile lotus, which they
wore in garlands, as wreaths, and carried singly or in bouquets. Curiously the flower was not often used as an ingredient for actual perfume. Perhaps the Egyptian belief that a strong scent of lotus in the air meant a Great One was present kept the mere mortals from usurping the concentrated lotus essence for themselves.
 Khenet, the warrior in my book's title, has several encounters with the goddess Nepthys during the novel, none of them very comfortable. He does indeed learn to watch out for that overwhelming perfume as a sign she’s near. Here’s the first time they meet, deep in the inner sanctum of her temple:
“Do you find me attractive, warrior?” she asked, her voice husky, honey sweet and low pitched. Not waiting for an answer, she swayed across the chamber to confront him, one hand on her hip. “It’s been many centuries since I took a human lover.”
Lotus perfume surrounded him, making him dizzy. Choosing his words very carefully, Khenet couldn’t help thinking the situation felt like a trap. “With all due respect, Great One, such radiant splendor is too much for a mortal man to experience.”
Nephthys laughed. “Well spoken, I see Pharaoh has sent me a diplomat disguised as a rough soldier.”
He opted for silence. Yeah I learned a lot in my years at Court, especially how great ladies like to be complimented.
 Perfume was so important to the Ancient Egyptians that there was even a special deity, Nefertum, assigned to be “…guardian and protector of the perfume and oil makers, protector and god of the sacred lotus. Osiris is the body of the plants, Nefertum is the soul of the plants, the plants purified. The divine perfume belongs to Nefertum living forever.”*
He was usually depicted as a very handsome young man, with a crown of lotus flowers. Some legends say his tears at the dawn of time became the human race. Egyptians often carried small amulets depicting him as good luck charms… and that was about the extent of Nefertum’s responsibilities. Watching over the all important perfume was a full time job apparently!
Just as we have our favorite brands of perfume today, expecting every bottle of Chanel No 5 to smell exactly the same, the Egyptians had detailed recipes for their favorite scents, including Susinum (lilies, myrrh & more), Cyprinum (henna) and Mendesian (myrrh, cassia, resins & more). They conducted an international trade in this luxury. To signify his dominion over Egypt, which was so identified with the perfume industry, Julius Caesar is said to have scattered alabaster perfume bottles to the crowds at his triumphal parades in Rome.
We’re barely scratching the surface of this topic and I’m already out of space but I’ll take it up again another day…there’s still the tale to tell of the sunken cargo ship carrying blue glass, fragrant materials and a golden scarab bearing the cartouche of Nefertiti…were they bringing exotic ingredients to be made into a special scent just for her? 
Always more mysteries and questions when it comes to Ancient Egypt – thank goodness!
What's your favorite scent? Currently I alternate between Very Hollywood by Michael Kors and  Tresor by Lancome....
 See you next month…

ABOUT Warrior of the Nile:
RT Book Reviews sez: “4 Stars HOT…you’re in for the most romantic desert story since Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra…”
*Hymn to Nefertem, 18th dynasty
Steve Van Toller, G. H. Todd: Fragrance: Psychology and Biology of Perfume, 1992 Springer, p.290

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Escape to Penny Hollow in Haunt Me by Heather Long

Recently divorced author MacKenzie Dillon has lost her writing mojo. When she inherits her great aunt’s haunted house in Virginia, she is determined to make a new start. The creepy old house provides inspiration but at what cost?

Successful architect and paranormal skeptic Justin Kent returns to Penny Hollow to fulfill his father’s dying wish of revitalizing their small town. To do that, he needs the allegedly haunted estate at Summerfield. Mac, the new owner, may be gorgeous and spunky, but she refuses to sell.

These two have a dangerous history that spans the ages, but will they discover the truth in time to save their lives?

Enjoy the following excerpts for Haunt Me:

Excerpt #1
In the kitchen of her great-aunt’s home she’d inherited a week before, MacKenzie Dillon leaned against the counter and stared at a chocolate bar. She knew she’d left it on the counter by the door. But now it sat next to the sink. Nudging it back to where it belonged, she blinked hard as it began the slow slide back. Either the house was tilted or her grandmother’s ghost stories were more real than she remembered. Either way, she wanted that darned chocolate to stop playing games with her.
She grabbed the bar, unwrapped it, then broke off two full rectangles, popped them in her mouth, and sighed as the chocolate melted on her tongue. Heaven, after living on a diet of freeze- dried noodles and tap water for weeks, courtesy of her ex-douche. Although if I had actually paid attention to the finances instead of trusting him, I would’ve known what he was up to.
Closing her eyes, she did a mental count to ten, twice. Just thinking about her ex caused her an instant headache, but her life would be okay. After dealing with a silent muse for months, she’d been overwhelmed with the desire to start writing the minute she’d stepped foot on Summerfield. She could do this—write a great book and kick-start the next chapter of her own life.
Getting a divorce? Four thousand dollars. Moving to Virginia? A couple hundred dollars. Hiding away in a haunted house and finishing a book? Priceless.
Her cell phone rang in her back pocket. She pulled it out, only to glare at Kevin’s number and face that appeared on the caller ID, then declined the call from her ex-husband. Her life now was all about the future. Bigger and better things.
And right now, the only obstacle to getting her better and brighter future was unpacking the U-Haul.