Monday, November 30, 2009


Happy Manic Monday! I’m cracking the whip folks. The holiday is over and it’s time to get back to writing. At least for me it is. The coffee is on, pull up a chair, and let’s discuss the nuances of first person point of view.

I can’t cover the whole spectrum of this topic in one blog but will run a series.

Why use first person?

If done properly it can draw the reader deeper into the story, almost to the point they can experience the character’s emotions first hand. This is where the writer uses the pronoun ‘I’ to serve as narrator of a story. The reader can only know what is happening in the main antagonist’s head which limits the reader to one perspective.

Or does it?

The reader sits inside the main character’s head and hears only her/his inner voice but does that mean they can’t figure out what someone else is thinking or feeling? Your life is in first person point of view. If a friend is sad can’t you tell without them expressing it? Sure you can, so can your reader if it’s described right.

If you tell your reader everything going on they won’t get to experience what it’s like to be someone else. Let them figure it, let them be your hero/heroine. It makes the story come alive.

For example:
The manila envelope lay empty on the floor and the pictures were in Rurik's hands. He examined them, holding the photos close. His temple twitched as he clenched his jaw. The concentration on his face made the fine cheekbones stand out against his lush lips, which had just finished kissing me before I escaped to the shower. They thinned out in a frown.

I felt empty. My heart dropped and I was surprised not to hear it rattle like a coin inside the hollowness.

His eyes narrowed as he noticed my entrance and nailed me with their icy coldness.

With that small snippet, can you tell what Rurik is feeling or thinking? You’re not in his head, you’re in the heroine’s but you see everything she does just like in you would in your own life.
Is he happy? Sad? No, of course not! He’s pissed at her and it’s not written once that he is and you didn’t need to get in his head to find out that something in the pictures is the cause.

Even though technically you are in one perspective, I find it a misconception. There are many ways to express what the reader needs to know and feel outside of the main character.
I love writing and reading first person stories.
What do you think of this concept? Do you have any examples you want to share?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday is Upon us! Run…

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that everyone is back home and safe with lots of leftovers so you don’t have to cook for the rest of the weekend! If you cooked, I hope someone did dishes for you, or at least filled the dishwasher. *grins*

We all know about the sales at all the major retailers and this year competition will be really tough with the economic conditions most of the country finds itself in. Good luck to all who brave the “black” waters. Hope you find that special something you’re looking for, and that it’s on sale.

I was unaware until I started searching for information that the term "Black Friday" was coined in Philly due to the heavy traffic on the day following Thanksgiving. Why am I not surprised? Actually it wouldn't have surprised me if it referenced any large city on the East coast, or the Midwest, or the West coast. I've lived in a major city in all three sections of the country and found traveling horrendous on this day in each. Now the phrase refers to retailers going from being in the red to turning a profit. (See more @

A neighbor a few doors down had Christmas lights on already. This reminded me some are preparing for the next big holiday. My post came to mind for that reason, and it didn't hurt that my sister had soft music playing all day—Christmas music to be exact. I’ve been hearing it since the day after Halloween on my cable company’s Sounds of the Season channel. (Which happens to be right next to the Soundscapes that I couldn’t live without!)

Anyway, what I’m getting to here is there are so many Christmas, or holiday, songs to choose from. There’s rock and roll, jazz, classical, popular—so, so many. I have a few favorites (see I’m not least not yet!) I thought I’d post some of those I like here.

Little Drummer Boy (David Bowie and Bing Crosby made this memorable for me)
The Coventry Carol (Alison Moyet does an excellent rendition of this classic)
Ave Maria (Dolores O’Riordan’s my fav and it's not only Christmas music)
White Christmas (Elvis Presley and Amy Grant do an awesome version)
Carol of the Bells (By anybody – just love it!)
What about you, do you have a tune you like to hear, one that heralds the beginning of special holidays or joyous times you celebrate? Share your favorite, and include a link—I’d like to share it with you.

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank You Readers :-)

We at Paranormal Romantics have grown from a small blog with a few followers to double digits and still growing! We'd like to take a moment to thank you all for tuning in and checking out our works. We wouldn't be anywhere without you guys! Hope you all have a safe and healthy season and stay warm!

This month is Vampire month on the Chiller channel and with it comes weekly evening marathons. Last week was Moonlight (to be repeated today all today for Thanksgiving) and all this week is Forever Knight. Dark Shadows has been on in the mornings along with Kindred: The Embraced. More vampire goodies in the form of more tv shows and movies will be added.

Although I don't celebrate holidays, I'm still extremely thankful for a lot of things that have come my way recently. Like most of everyone, we've been some financial hardships especially recently. Thanks to God, friends and family things are getting better and I've had time to stop and reflect back on how far I've come and where I'm at. Sometimes I forget about it because I'm always working hard to get to the next project, the next book, the next something. But sometimes I have to get off the train and just take a look back on the road. For that I'm thankful because without the support and opportunities I've been given, I wouldn't be anywhere!

I'll be taking it easy today, trying to catch up on my writing and other projects. For some notables, keep an eye out for the upcoming Romance Writers United (RWU) issue with some heavy duty romance news in the newsletter at the beginning of the month. If you missed the whole Harlequin Horizons (now DellArte Press) debacle, I'll do my best to break it down for you. I'm reading a fellow author friend's historical paranormal romance and you best believe I will be recommending that you guys here and on Goodreads. This is an awesome story and I know you guys are looking for more of the genre. There's also an upcoming podcast from Broad Universe featuring some great authors doing rapid fire readings from their works. I'll be reading from A Feast of Shadows.

And speaking of reading. If you want to take a moment for some downtime away from celebrating, check out my interview tonight with book lover and aspiring author Phoebe Jordan. Tune in live at 9PM to 10:30PM EST (8PM to 9:30PM CST / 6PM to 7:30PM PST) or check the full broadcast for download afterward. I'll be reading from my December release Voice of Abandon and maybe a sneak peak of Within the Shadows of Mortals. ;-)

Wherever you are and whatever you do, I hope you guys have a safe and healthy season!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A year of reflection. A day of thanksgiving.

Today is a huge anniversary for me. On this day last year, I signed my first contract with an e-publisher. This was the first of many steps on the road to being a published author and I can’t tell you how that first hand up changed my life.

I won’t bore you with the details. I will tell you; however, during this year I’ve had countless opportunities to meet a lot of people and learn plenty of things that will improve me as a person and a writer.

What am I thankful for? Allow me to share with you.

The obvious. Health. Family. Home and hearth.

These are things that I think about daily. It’s been a hard year financially but I’m hopeful that we’re out of these times. My husband keeps me humble and reminds me every day that I’m loved. Without him, I would never have been able to give my all to my passion—writing. I may not be the best housekeeper in the world, but I’m working on it. Besides, even the dust bunnies need somewhere to live.

The not so obvious. Editors. Friends.

When I look back over this last year, I wonder how I ever became the writer I am today. The best editors take the time to teach me something new with every edit sweep I go through. I’m constantly learning, evolving, training to be a better writer in preparation for bigger things down the line. Without these people in my life, my writing would stagnate and my talent would dry up and blow away. You have my utmost respect. Thank you for all the long hours you put in and your patience when I freak out with knee jerk reactions.

I couldn’t have gotten this far in my beginning writing career without the support of my friends. You folks have picked me up countless times when I’ve taken one too many of life’s punches to the chin and wanted to call it quits. You smack me around, talk sense into me and push me to keep going. Nothing great is ever accomplished without hard work, and the reality is, writing is hard work. Those of you who have read my work and have been honest about where I’ve gone wrong know this is true. It takes a village to turn out a book and every one of you have helped me through this year.

Networking with other writers has also been a saving grace this year. Reading and hearing about other writer’s struggle through the in’s and out’s of the publishing business has brought home to me that I’m not alone in the quest. I’m glad for this. Walking the road is much more endurable with friends by my side.

I’ve made some awesome new friends this year thanks to social networking and other venues. Friends, co-writers with publishers and supporters of the craft, I thank you for all you’ve done. It helps to share the burden if only in cyber-space.

The essential. Readers.

For all of you wonderful people who rely on writers to provide you with tales that take you away from reality, I thank you especially. Without readers, I would have no reason for writing. I hope you continue to be entertained with my stories for years to come.

It’s been a heck of a year, friends, and I can hardly wait to see where 2010 will take me.

A few things I’d like to bring to your attention. On December 1st, my contemporary romance NOT JUST MAKE BELIEVE will release from Desert Breeze Publishing. This book is special to me because my niece thought up the idea of the little girl in the story. It’s also the book that I cut my first “rejection” teeth on. Nearly three years from conception to publication, I’d really love for you to buy this book, if nothing else than to see that dreams really do come true and perseverance is the key.

Buy link:
Book video:

December 11th from 7 PM to 11 PM, I’ll be conducting an message chat at my Yahoo Group to celebrate my two holiday releases. If you’d like to participate and have your name entered for a goodie bag, please click join the Group.

Also, December 13th through December 24th I’ll be hosting the 12 Days of Christmas Holiday Blog Party on my blog Believing is Seeing. I’d love for you to stop by and read holiday snippets from a wide variety of authors during this time.

Blog promo video:
Blog link:

I wish everyone in the States a wonderful holiday season. Everyone else around the world, have a great weekend and above everything else, keep writing, keep inspiring, keep being you.

Thank you.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Traditions

It is eight days until they light the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. It’s really a sight. Last year, on our way to see a Broadway show, Ralph and I walked several blocks to see the tree. Most years, we miss it.

It was freezing cold but we were bundled up and moving quickly. This was more than I could say for most of the people surrounding the tree. Had no one ever heard that it is cold in NYC in December?

Anyway, I thought at the time that we could make it a tradition, every year we could go and see the Christmas tree. But, I think, with the birth of the new baby, we will not be going back into the city to see it. Maybe next year.

A few weeks ago, my son said to me ‘Mama, the next holiday is Thanksgiving.” He ‘s four and we’d just concluded Halloween. I told him that was correct. He then continued to say “For Thanksgiving, we go to Uma’s house.” Uma, for the record, is my mother.

Four years and he already knows all of our holiday traditions.

What are your holiday traditions? Have you ever tried to adopt a new one?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cabbage Rolls

Happy Manic Monday. It’s been awhile since I’ve had Monday all to myself. *stretches and hugs the blog* I’ve missed it.

The holidays are fast approaching, beginning with thoughts of Thanksgiving. There are so many things I’m grateful for. The foremost being a happy and healthy family, my supportive co-workers, and this writing community.

I am originally from Canada and get to celebrate two Thanksgivings. Unfortunately my youngest child fell sick on the Canadian date so we stayed home and didn’t travel. This week, my family is coming south to enjoy dinner. We’ll also be celebrating my oldest birthday!

My hubby will be deep frying a turkey this year while I make the trimmings.

-mash potatoes and gravy


-green bean casserole

-cranberry sauce (canned)

-fresh bread rolls

-pumpkin pie

-homemade ice cream

-and birthday cake

Something we make that is a family tradition is cabbage rolls, which comes from my Ukrainian heritage.


One large green cabbage

One pound ground beef

Two cups par boiled white rice (I like Jasmine)

One tbs tomato paste

One chopped small onion

One large can of tomato juice

Six slices of bacon

Cut out heart of cabbage and set in boiling water. Separate leaves one by one. (Careful it’s hot. I use two forks to do this). Cook ground beef and mix with parboiled rice. Fry onions in a little oil with tomato paste and mix with rice/meat. Let the mix cool until you can handle it with your hands. Place filling in cabbage leaf and fold like a burrito. With the left over cabbage center, I chop it up and line the bottom on the pan to prevent sticking. Place the rolls in the pan in layers then pour tomato juice over them. Lay bacon over the top. Cover then bake at 350 degrees for two hours. Check one roll. If you can’t cut the roll with a fork throw back in for another hour.

My family waits for this side with anticipation. I triple this recipe when I make it because it tastes better the next day. (I eat it for breakfast. LOL)

What are you serving this year? Do you have a family tradition?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where has it gone?

Summer, fall both just slipped by. Thanksgiving is next Thursday! Where did it go, I haven't gotten warm yet and the cold is already here. One thing that is good: these two months laden with holidays and celebrations fly by and before we know it - it'll be January, then February and, HOORAY! March. I know I'm getting ahead of myself but it helps to think nice weather is just around the corner. Although, I am thankful for the last few days the weather hasn't been too bad.

And that brings me to all the different things I'm thankful for. The list below IS in order.

My cats: Lord, Patty, Wolf and Jewel.
My kid. (okay maybe I could shuffle these around)
My sisters: Boz, Gilda and Edy without whom I'd have no heroines. Truly.
My girlfriends, Pat and Nancy who've been so encouraging. Without their constant prodding, I'd have never taken the steps to be published.
My critters: who may fall last on the list but are in no way least. I mean that, sincerely.

Above all, God, for giving me so much this year.

Have you looked around your city, our country and the world! To be able to sit here and type this - I'm one of the lucky ones. Pay attention to those you love, prayer for others less fortunate will never hurt. If you can't be with those you love over the next few weeks, call them and tell them. If you are fortunate enough to be surrounded by loved ones, hug them, tell them.

Enough. I'm not the mushy type so that's it for now.

A few things I'd like to remind people of is today Queen of the Ghost Drakon releases and Liena Ferror did an awesome interview over at A Sovereign Spot. Drop by and give her your good wishes. It's her FIRST release day. Remember those and how good it felt to have other's drop by and say congratulations?

Also the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Party is fast approaching, December 13th is only around the corner. Sandra Sookoo has put together quite an event with lots of wonderful authors, you won't want to miss it. She created a masterpiece of a video to advertise the event and HERE'S the link if you'd like to view the names of the authors who will be looking forward to seeing you and there will be great prizes. Mark this on your calendar.

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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good News, Bad News, Excerpt!

Hey Folks!

Alas, the net has returned yay! Good news! But on the other hand, some bad news. I'm waaay behind on projects and things so my brain is pure mush. Plus I literally just got my net hours ago and I'm already falling over into my keyboard.

So, instead of a posty post this Thursday I'm going to share an excerpt with you.

In the year 2010, my Ashen Twilight series will be returning with a re-release of A Kiss of Ashen Twilight in January followed by Within the Shadows of Mortals (Book 2) in February.

I recently posted the blurb and cover on my site. But before diving into Book 2, I thought I'd give you guys a taste of A Kiss of Ashen Twilight in case you missed the previous release. I also plan to give some excerpts of 'Shadows' coming soon as well. Although I missed Spooky Candy Day a few weeks ago, the cool thing is paranormals seem to be good all year around!

So please enjoy the opening prologue to A Kiss of Ashen Twilight. Hopefully I'll be back in tune next week (thanks to Annie for posting the week before - and about vampires too, woo hoo).


Wallachia, a region within the Balkan Mountains—1461


The smell was enough to rot the heart of the noblest man. The idea of death is never the same as laying one’s eyes upon its evidence. Jacinus Aurelius Archane had heard victorious stories of his father and uncle in war. His heart swelled and his pulse raced at the elaborate narratives and near deaths in fighting the enemies that dared to take their freedom.

It was nothing like the scene that lay before him.

Massive green valleys of large mountains surrounded them, reminding him of home among the rolling hills of the Highland mountains. His heightened senses picked up the sharp taste and smell of salt water from the other side of the castle where the steep hillside led down to the Arges River. A passage led along the back end of the castle allowing them entrance under the soldiers’ eyes.

The castle was situated on the steep hill of the nearest mountain filled with the piercing cries of soldiers battling and falling over the stone walls to their deaths. In the distance, metal clashed against metal in a chorus of sword battles. Vicious grunts and various bodies falling to the ground thudded into the air soon after. It was then something else caught his eye. His gaze veered down to the display in the middle of the road; men and women impaled upon stakes erupting from the ground. The scent of blood and decay turned Jace’s stomach and sent shocks of pain straight to his heart. This was how the enemies were taken care of. Those who dared to defy the prince within the city and those who sided with the enemy would suffer just one of his many forms of torture.

“Our people aren’t among those poor souls.” Came a voice from behind him.

Jace turned to face the tall, pale figure draped in blue robes. Daoine Oberon. It was upon his proposal that they came to these lands and it was his ability to shape-shift into a large eagle, allowing them right of entry from Scotland—across the Celtic and the Mediterranean seas—to the Balkans. Now Jace stood with Daoine in his human form. Jace’s father and uncle stood on either side of him, dressed in full plaids and armor. Their swords remained at their sides and he didn’t have to look at their faces to feel the shock at what stood before them.

“The monster that caused these atrocities,” Jace said, gritting his teeth and gripping the hilt of his sword tighter. “Is he the same that holds our people? Draining them to their death?”

“Yes, Jacinus,” Daoine’s soft voice was calm. “It is he.”

Jace focused his gaze up toward the castle surrounded by soldiers battling in chainmail armor. The prince’s soldiers. The Son of the Dragon. His enhanced vision focused on the small emblems on the shiny silver armor of the Wallachian soldiers. A dragon, with its wings extended, hung on the sculpted relief of a cross. His very name meant son of the dragon, a title symbolizing the continuity of his father’s legacy over their round of knights within The Order. Another war of freedom was fought as the Wallachians engaged in a war with Ottomans. The Ottoman Empire’s flag, bright red with the yellow crest of a moon and star in the middle, clashed with that of Wallachia’s, a yellow flag with a black raven atop a green juniper branch holding a silver and gold cross in its beak.

Jace wasn’t here to choose sides. Like Daoine told them, they were here to free their own people from the prince’s tortuous hold. He just hoped it wasn’t too late.

“We will end this now!” The words left Jace’s mouth moments before he sprinted up to the massive, steep hill of greenery toward the Wallachian castle of stone.

His father’s voice trailed behind him, calling him. Time was running out for him to stop and discuss their plans.

Although he only lived forty-two years—nineteen of which he spent as a Nightwalker—Jace still held the appearance of a man of twenty-five years. Jace knew the vagaries of being hunted simply because of what he was. He saw the torture devices left within the beautiful, peaceful lands of the Highlands where ‘others’ like him were caught, torn apart, then put on display to any other immortals that walked the lands. The mortals did the same to their own suspected of being immortals. If it wasn’t for Daoine, they wouldn’t have known this injustice. Now that they had finally arrived, it was time to put an end to all the torture and deaths.

Instinct told Jace to jump. The powers that he obtained were many and despite the past two decades, he still hadn’t gotten to know all that he was capable of. He took a breath and leaped into the air. The wind flapped against his belted plaids, armor and thin trews. He didn’t wait for his uncle and father to catch up before he disappeared into the castle. He made sure to keep out of sight from the bloodshed within. With their arrival, both sides would wonder about their purpose on their grounds. He followed the side of the large castle to keep out of sight. A particular scent, copper and rotted meat, suddenly filled the air. He couldn’t quite decipher what but something told him to follow.

The long brick castle stretched out through corridors and small rooms situated on the sides. Jace made sure to duck behind a wall just in case he heard oncoming footsteps. Across the back courtyard he spotted a high watchtower where the scent grew stronger. He stepped into the open area, stopping once he heard the clash of swords behind him. His father and uncle’s grunts and yells filled the air amidst the sound of metal upon metal.

“Jace!” His father’s coarse, deep voice filtered through the air.

He battled within himself to turn and join them but a shadowy figure flew by the watchtower window, catching his eye. Silently he promised himself he’d return and aid his family. Now the small opportunity to stop this massacre was open—but not for long.

Jace dashed for the towers, using his powers to move like the wind. Mortals would see him as only a blurred image dashing by, if they caught sight of him. It was a good ability considering the soldiers closing in on them. His body reacted to the scent of their blood, desiring to taste the sweet liquid upon his tongue. Too bad it would have to wait for later.

He ran up the flight of stairs toward the top, his sword at his side waiting to find the monster so he could run his sword through his heart. The smell of decaying skin grew stronger with each step. He reached the area as the faint sound of wheezing covered the air.

Jace stepped into the open room at the top of the tower. A fireplace crackled on the side, warming his cold skin. Bright, shiny furniture decorated the room along with an elaborate imported carpet laid out before him. There in the middle of the floor was a man; his neck was severed with a trail of blood streaming onto the small stone fountain with a goblet perched on the opposite side in front of an empty chair. He struggled to breathe as he tried to lift his head upward toward Jace. The man’s pale skin was nearly white like the high glow of the moon at midnight. His open mouth revealed a set of sharp fangs.

Jace couldn’t breathe from the strong stench and the sight that nearly broke him.

“Kill me.” The man’s jagged words sent chills right down to Jace’s bones. “Please.”

The words were familiar to Jace, like the distinct Romanian dialect that was one of Daoine’s many languages. Although his tongue was unclear to him, the man’s sorrowful gaze was all too clear.

Jace gripped his sword between both of his hands, raising it over head.

“Thank you.”

The sword cut through the air and into the bleeding Nightwalker in seconds. Jace shut his eyes from the horror although death clung to the room like fog in the night. The scent of evil was unmistakable yet distant in the air. The prince was gone. Judging from the empty chair in front of the goblet, he was preparing for another test of trying to obtain immortality from one of his prisoners. Where he fled, Jace didn’t know. He hoped the Nightwalkers coming as reinforcements would stop him outside the grounds. He opened his eyes and looked to the empty golden goblet still perched atop the fountain. With a roar escaping his lips, he swung the sword and knocked the metal over with a loud clank. Tiny drops of blood stained the carpet. Nightwalker blood. What kind of monster would destroy their kind just to feed his own thirst to live forever? The same that would hunt them down for being different, stronger, better than mere mortals. He hoped this reign of terror would end. Too much blood had been spilt in the name of power. It was then Jace realized the importance in the choice he had made to become a Nightwalker. Daoine was right. They had to look out for each other now if they were to survive.

A sharp pain shot through his body like shockwaves of electricity, crippling him to his knees. The world seemed to turn upside down. Nausea threatened to consume his body. If it still produced bile, he was sure it would be creeping up into his throat this moment. Something felt wrong. Jace forced himself to stand and turn toward the stairs. As he flew down, his mind raced to figure out what was going on. Once he made it to the court, his worst fears were realized as his father lay on the ground in his uncle’s arms. His neatly wrapped plaids were ripped and bloodied from the oozing stab wound his uncle tried to apply pressure against.

The sword slowly fell from Jace’s hand, crashing against the ground. He couldn’t believe his sight. His body grew numb, and he couldn’t move his legs. He saw his uncle’s mouth move, but it was as if someone turned the sound off in his mind. Nothing remained in his thoughts as he tried to comprehend what was happening before his eyes. He saw the tears flowing from his uncle’s strained, angry eyes. Despite the movement, he couldn’t hear anything except his father’s breath, slowly dying to stillness.

Jace fell to his knees and finally let out an ear piercing cry into the azure blue sky.

~ * ~

Two free short stories are available now that tie into the series. From the Night, the Prince Rises is a flash fiction prequel to A Kiss of Ashen Twilight and Upon a Tide of Wintry Morn takes place after the first book and before Within the Shadows of Mortals. Just click on the covers for the download pages!

An audio podcast is in the works for the series so if you're an audio junkie like me, I'll be keeping you guys updated on that info. Until then...

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Enchanted Flute by Nichelle Gregory

Today, I'm excited to welcome new and first time author Nichelle Gregory to Paranormal Romantics. I first became aware of her when she was still an aspiring writer and it's just so cool she's now published!

SS: Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

NG: Yes, but it took me awhile to get it! I began journaling as a pre-teen which led to writing poetry, songs and eventually short stories. I began my first full-length manuscript in high school, but got discouraged and put it away. Focusing on music in college, I still found time to write as another creative outlet. Almost two years ago, I decided to get serious about my writing again. I was determined to become an author.

SS: What genre do you like to write best in and why?

NG: Anything that has to do with romance! I like to write heart-melting sweet romance and hot erotic fiction. I’m interested in writing passionate stories across many genres, my favorite being fairytales, paranormal and everyday fantasies.

SS: How do you find ideas for your books?

NG: The ideas come from all directions … music, television, secret fantasies and my husband! I’ve learned that many other writers are insomniacs and I am too. My mind won’t shut off some nights with new characters and stories formulating in my head. I love to fall asleep thinking about a story. Sometimes the plot reveals itself in my dreams and I wake up feverishly writing before my moment of clarity fades.

SS: Isn't that the truth? How difficult is it for you to get into “writer’s mode”?

NG: Being a full-time mommy usually takes up ALL of my time during the day. I try to write snippets between the snatches of time they are up, but when they go to bed I close myself off to write until late into the night. This can be tough when I’ve had a particularly stressful day and my mind is mush. On those nights, I read other authors books or blogs and that usually sparks my creative side again.

SS: Tell me a little about your book.

NG: The Enchanted Flute is the first in a series of short story fairytales entitled Erotic Enchantments. It’s a sexy fast-paced magical tale that circles the gamut of human emotions involving the heart. There’s desire, passion, rage and heartbreak as my heroine and hero both learn how to love.

SS: Nice! How did the inspiration for this work come to you?

NG: My husband plays the flute and when he’s in the zone, it’s hard to break his concentration. He was playing one night as I was trying to talk to him, but I could see that he hadn’t heard one word I said because the beloved flute had his full attention. In that moment, the idea behind The Enchanted Flute was born!

SS: Kudos to your hubby for inspiration! You’ve recently signed with a new publisher. Can you tell me about that?

NG: I am so happy to be working with Noble Romance Publishing, home to many talented authors! As a newbie author, I’ve got a lot to learn about the business and I’m thankful to have such a supportive team behind my work.

SS: What is your next project?

NG: I’m currently working on a very hot full-length paranormal romance and several short stories.

SS: What else would you like to share?

NG: You can find out more information about me and my work at or!
Buy link:

Blurb for The Enchanted Flute: When a beautiful enchantress awakens from her slumber to soul-stirring music, she reveals herself to the gifted, gorgeous flutist playing nearby. Lanai is at once attracted to Arye and moved by his melodies. After a sizzling night of sex, the enchantress realizes she’s fallen in love for the first time.

Lanai offers her love to the Arye, a man that has never loved anything more than his flute. Although, the enchantress could use magic to win his heart, she wants him to love her on his own. Heartbroken and bitter, she casts a powerful spell over the flutist instrument that causes listeners to act out whatever emotion Ayre is feeling at the moment and disappears.

Unable to control his thoughts and fearful of harming his adoring audience, Ayre now only plays his enchanted flute when he is alone. Angry and determined, he spends his time searching for Lanai. Years go by and Ayre begins to give up hope that he will ever find the woman that consumes his thoughts and fuels his lustful desires. When he finally stumbles across the enchantress, Ayre is torn between fury and desire…or is it love?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Religion in Paranormal Romance

So can I ask a favor before we get going here?

The cover of my book Summer’s Wolf is up for Best Cover at Emrbace the Shadows. Could you stop by and vote for it? Pretty Please? Here is the URL:

Anne Cain who has done the covers for my Wolf series does a great job. I’d love to see her get recognized.

So today’s topic is about the concept of religion in the Paranormal Romance world. I always find it really interesting to see how various Paranormal authors treat the subject of God and Religion in their writing.

I am going to be very careful here and not discuss my own religious views or my opinions on the subject or my opinions on the ways various authors handle it in their books. I am nothing if not completely open minded.

I guess I have this on the brain, so to speak, because I have just gotten finished reading Lora Leigh’s Breed books again. Ms. Leigh, who I admire immensely not just because of her TREMENDOUS talent but also because she personally answers her e-mails and has written me back twice (WOOT!), never hides her characters feelings on God.

The Breeds struggle with this tremendously. In Dawn’s awakening most of the characters issues come from feeling she has been abandoned by God while all of the Breeds struggle internally with the idea that they were created by Man and not God and the question as to whether they have a soul. I would say Ms. Leigh is absolutely convinced her characters have a soul and it is a question as to whether or not the some of the humans in her books have one…

On the other hand, I also just finished reading the Darkyn series by Lynn Viehl. (My husband is now cringing as he is imagining the bill he is about to get. Love you honey.) In Viehl’s world, one of her characters laughs regularly at the idea of god, the characters think the have been cursed by God, and a defrocked Catholic priest struggles with the idea of good versus bad. Its heavy hitting for a Romance and I LOVED it. Ultimately, I don’t know where the characters come down on the subject. I think she leaves it deliberately confusing as it would be in real life given the same circumstances.

Finally, it has been brought to my attention that the only book out there that is a Hanukah romance is a m/m erotica. Now there is nothing wrong with this at all. Why do you think that is?

Do you think religion has a place in Paranormal Romance? Can you think of other books that deal with it?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keeping It Short

Keeping It Short

The first piece of fiction I sold was a story of under one thousand words, so it’s not surprising I’ve found a niche in novellas. Among the benefits of writing short are how quickly the story comes together. Writing, editing, publication can all be done in a short period of time. One of the downfalls is how little story you can fit in fifty manuscript pages.

The writer needs to focus on the point of the story and tell you only what you need to get there. Every word must be chosen to have the biggest impact. Extraneous fluff gets cut. Because as brief as the story is, is has to be satisfying.

Do you read short fiction? Do you have a preferred word length? Readers might not always know the word count, but most epublishers have short novellas (15-18,000), novella (20-40,000) short novel (45-60,000), novel (65-80,000) and long or super novel (80-120,000). For reference, Harlequin series books, the thin ones, are around 50,000 words, and the thick historical romances on the bookstore shelves are in the 80,000+ range.

My upcoming release, Kyle’s Redemption , which falls into the novella category, is the longest piece I’ve published. As I wrote it seemed like I had all kinds of story in there, compared to say, Honey or Death by Sex, both of which take place in an evening. I do have novel-length manuscripts, but I think the thrill of writing The End is addicting. I don’t see myself sticking to the longer books, if I can help it.

Kyle’s Redemption tells the story of Lily, Cait’s best friend in Celtic Rhythm.

Six years ago, Lily Astor looked forward to establishing herself in the Los Angeles art world. In one painfully public moment, those dreams were shattered. Now she has the chance to try again, but the invitation to exhibit comes from a gallery owned by Kyle Ventura. The man who should have cleared her name.

After a night of eyebrow-singeing sex, Kyle realizes who Lily is and his role in her downfall. Now, as his heart falls deeper for Lily, he needs to make amends. But Lily doesn’t want his help, just his body.

For the first time in his life, sex isn’t enough for Kyle. He wants to show Lily he’s not the man he was six years ago. But first, he has to prove it to himself.

For a sneak peak, before it releases on 11/18, you can sample the excerpt or check out the book trailer. And come celebrate with me at my blog, where I’ll be hosting a week-long contest! Rules are on the blog, with multiple chances to win.

Friday, November 13, 2009


something, she sure messed with me today.

HELLO! And super apologies for not having gotten here earlier…a comedy of error on my part.

Anyway I’m going to talk about Fate. As most of you know I’m doing a series of books on archangels. The first, HOPE IN LOVE, is available now at Ellora’s Cave.

I’ve integrated some mythology into these stories and I’m using the Fates – also known as the Moirae.

If you’re talking Greek (mythology, that is) their names are Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. However, if you go Roman, their names are Nona (the Ninth), Decima (the Tenth) and Morta (Death). Maybe you can see from the names why I chose the Roman versions. Somehow the Greek pronunciations didn’t seem to fit an erotic romance to me.

Nona is responsible for spinning the threads of life on her spindle, Decima takes over from there and decides (or measures) how long you could live.

It is often said in Greek mythology they are the daughters of Zeus. Various myths circulate and other versions of them exist throughout European mythology. They are separate from the belief in Norse mythology of the Norns, spinning fate goddesses, or the goddess known as Laima and her two sisters.

The Fates are often painted as old, ugly, and cold, unforgiving women. They appear in all three of my stories as beautiful, sexual beings, not afraid to feel and give love.

I’m not known for very strong women. Well we won’t count Purple P Rose because she’s extraordinary. Oh, she appears in SCREWED AGAIN from Changeling Press on December 4th by the way. Anyway, these three ladies represent strength throughout myths – I wasn’t toying with that. You know what they say, Fate can be a fickle bedmate, or Fate is fickle…whatever, I’m not messing with them.

The one I’m dealing with in Repent in Love, Book 2 from the Angel in Love series, is Morta, also known as Death – the Fate responsible for cutting the strings of life. Ironically I’ve paired her in her duties with the Grim Reaper, Death himself. She cuts the threads, he harvests the souls.

Her love interest is none other than the archangel, Uriel, the angel of repentance. Uriel is also the holder of the key to Hell. No, Satan, Lucifer or the Devil, whatever you call him, does not have that honor.

So, needless to say, this lady is no one to mess with – unless you have a death wish. Everyone who looks for their heroine to have backbone, stay tuned. This is your girl.

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Zapped Back in Time

Heya PRomantic Readers!

I had a whole lineup of topics a few days ago but unfortunately my net has gone kaput and I am in limbo. Gah! Being without the net is like being in a Twilight Zone episode where you get zapped back to the old west. And there are no hot, handsome, half-naked cowboys riding around. Talk about hardship!

The good news is that I still have my phone for a bit so I can post via my Blackberry. The bad news is I don't know if pictures come out from here. Bummer. :-(

So please bear with me as I work through this. I'm not sure if I'll get to post what I had planned before or I may post snippets of stories in the mean time but I know my fellow PRomantic blogger buds will keep you guys entertained and up to date while I'm in limbo.

Plus, today is a sad day. 6 years ago today a young actor named Jonathan Brandis took his own life at age 27. I was a big fan of him and still am. He was one, if not the biggest, crushes I've had since my preteens after seeing him on Neverending Story II, Ladybugs, Sidekicks and of course SeaQuest DSV. He had a nice roster in his youth and gathered some impressive roles in his adulthood with Fall Into Darkness and Puerto Vallarta Squeeze to name a few. I would have loved to have seen what he'd accomplish if he were alive today because he wanted to direct and write and he had such a wonderful screen presence that was so intense. He wasn't just a pretty face!

Here's to you, Jon. Gone but definitely not forgotten!

Memorial Website
2003 People article on Jon's death

On a lighter note, hope all you NaNo-ers are hanging in there this month and writing crazy!

Anyone have any current exciting news I may have missed?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mining for gold

Picture for a moment the following scenario: a writer sitting on a sofa, laptop in their lap, furiously typing away at the keys as outside a cool wind blows against the windows. The backspace key is hit a couple of times, then a paragraph is highlighted and moved to a different part of the manuscript. A few swipes of the scrolling ball and the writer once more begins to type with purpose and determination.


A few days later. The manuscript feels “off”, lurching about drunkenly. There’s something wrong with the heroine. She’s supposed to be a strong Alpha-female who doesn’t take any crap from anyone. Now, after a little hanky panky with our hero, she’s turned into a blithering, soft, tearful…well, girl. It’s a wonder the other characters in the story didn’t throw her off the ship.


So not where I wanted to go but yet I still need to show the softer side of the heroine because if I don’t, she’s just gonna be some frigid biatch who no one will care if she lives or dies at the end of the book. What to do? Where’d I get off track? And the biggest question of all, how to fix it, can it be fixed and do I want to? Better to deal with it now than to try to catch it once the book’s finished and I’ll have an even bigger mess.

I set the book aside for a couple of days. Started a new novella just for fun and to clear out the cobwebs. Talked and chatted with a couple of people about the book’s woes. Stared at my computer screen…

…and when the words didn’t rearrange themselves, I sat down and buckled in. It was time for revisions.

That’s right. The bane of every writer’s existence. The rewrite. But here’s the thing. As much as I hate the prospect of revisions, the best story is always found in them. The rewrite and polishing. The looking at the words and ruthlessly cutting away, pruning down the story until I can find the real meat beneath.

That’s where the real book lies. Underneath all the crap I’ve already written.

And deep down, I already knew that’s what was wrong. Too emotional. Too mushy. Too not my character. I was in denial—yeah, another mortal enemy of a writer’s life and she brought a friend, insecurity—just as deadly to a career (but much tougher to banish). Luckily, someone came along, gave me a swift kick in the pants, and told me to keep going.

I wrangled with that offending chapter, knocked it on its ear and I’ll be darned if it’s not so much better. That’s why we need revisions. To make the book stronger. To make it flow better. To inject it with enough believability until it makes sense.

Don’t be afraid to rewrite what you previously thought was a fantastic scene. If it doesn’t fit and doesn’t work, pitch it. Move on. Move up.

Now, onto the next couple of chapters. Darn it.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What do you read when you need to write?

Sometimes when I can't seem to get my muse in working order, I stop everything I'm doing and read something I've already read.

Maybe that sounds silly. With everything I have going on, how do I have the time to reread things I've already read when there is so much to read that I haven't read yet? That's a good question. Truthfully, I don't have the time.

But it's an absolute must do.

Because reading things I've already read, that are well written and that I enjoy, help me refocus on writing as a craft that I enjoy and less as an overwhelming, difficult, disaster filled process.

Lately, that need has led me to reread the entire Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I think I could read those books a hundred times and not get enough of them. Have any of you read this series?

What do you read when you need to write?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Excerpt Monday

Happy Manic Monday everyone! Today is Excerpt Monday again.

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site.

This excerpt is from a work in progress so please forgive the roughness. It's a paranormal erotic romance which took over my life a couple weeks ago. Now that the first draft is done maybe I can get some sleep again. LOL. I hope you enjoy it and the other excerpts listed on the link above.

No one could call Spice weak, at least not to her face, yet she returned to Chicago with nothing but the clothes on her back. If only the strong survived then why did she feel like such a loser?

Narrow, box-like homes lined the street as she peered at the addresses in the dark. The bus driver dropped her off a block away with directions. Cold wind blew into her thin trench coat, she tried to pull it closer but her teeth started to chatter anyway.

Her sister lived here? She pulled an envelope from a pocket and checked the return address once more. It was correct. Maybe Sugar rented, she doubted a librarian’s salary enough to afford house in the North West Side of Chicago.

The dark brick brownstone sat close to the curb. A wide set of granite stairs led to the front door. Her sister’s Christmas lights still hung from the window and around a tiny evergreen tree struggling to live in the small front yard.

She could relate to it.

It was February. Sugar should have brought those decorations in awhile ago.

She sighed and stared at her feet. They hadn’t spoken in years. Things in Vegas had gone from bad to worse for her during that time. She didn’t want her twin sister to know but now she didn’t have anywhere else to go.

She knocked.

The wind picked-up and she shuffled her sneaker clad feet to get keep numbness at bay. No one answered but she could see a light in the window. This was a bad idea. Sugar didn’t care about her. She spun around and took the first step. Tears burned in the back of her eyes, she couldn’t remember the last time she cried.

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, which looked like a huge kitchen.

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

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

“Daedalus let you cut your hair?” A short man built like a body builder approached them.

The awe in his voice snapped her 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 all 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. “What?”

The one in the kitchen stuck his head out of the door, his bright, blue 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’d changed but the skinny, lanky bottle-cap-glasses-wearing nerd developed into a charming, handsome I-wanna-snuggle-you-on-a-cold-night kind of man. “Hi.” All the jobs as a hostess, a bartender, and the most recent, a stripper taught her how to talk to men the way they liked. With him grinning at her like a happy puppy, her mind went blank.

Thanks for stopping by today.
Links to other Excerpt Monday writers are availabe below.
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Interview with V. J. Devereaux

Hi all, J. Hali here, so you know it’s Friday. I’d like everyone to welcome fellow Ellora’s Cave author, V.J. Devereaux, to Paranormal Romantics. VJ, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

VJD - No problem, thanks for having me!

JHS – It’s my pleasure. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

VJD- I’m from Pennsylvania originally—Philadelphia by way of the romantic Pocono Mountains where I grew up—but now I live in Ohio, out in farm country. It took me four tries to find my soul mate, but I finally found him. (Laughing) I’m definitely an optimist. Persistent, too. No kids of my own but I have two grown stepchildren and a new step grandchild, two dogs, two cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper. I also have a full time day job — the best geek job in the world, testing electronics like computers and Xboxes.

JHS - Hey two original Southeastern Pennsylvania girls! And I’d love to have your job. Tell us, how long have you been writing?

VJD - I self-published my first book, with illustrations, at age eight and got an A, but it would be nearly forty years later, when I met my husband, before I could really follow my dream.

JHS – Did you do the illustrations yourself?

VJD – Funny you should ask, as a matter of fact I did. Over the course of my checkered career I actually made a living as a portrait artist for a little while. I still do it, where other people doodle, I do portraits. LOL

JHS – That's so neat. I know this question is hard but can you tell us a little about your favorite character.

VJD - Which one? One from someone else’s book, this book or one I’ve written?

From someone else’s — Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird.

My favorite character that I’ve written is from a book that isn’t published yet, The Coming Storm. Elon is an Elf, a swordmaster, defined by his Elven concept of honor, and trying to come to terms with humans. Including the one he doesn’t know he’s in love with. It’s complicated.

In Night Moves, which releases today, it’s Rafi, the female lead. She’s a lot like me when I was single and still looking, still hopeful, a little jaded and trying not to be.

JHS - I love that name—Elon, and his story sounds interesting. Who inspired or inspires you the most?

VJD - On a personal level someone like Nelson Mandela, or Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, people who sacrificed for their principles.

On a professional level, hands down, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. She rarely gets critiqued, slides under the radar, and writes almost consistently good books. I want her career.

JHS – We all want Nora’s career! Are there any genres you’d like to try writing in?

VJD - (Laughing) Oh, I don’t know, I’ve already written an epic fantasy (The Coming Storm) and its sequel; a mystery called The Last Resort that’s getting some pretty good feedback; romantic fantasy (Song of the Fairy Queen and Heart of the Gods); several contemporary romances; and a novel about a woman turned into an assassin by the government. I’ve even tried historicals and a western. I haven’t tried steampunk yet, that sounds interesting, and it’s been a while since I did horror. (I get bored easily, can you tell?)

JHS – Steampunk seems to be the next new thing. Are you working on anything new?

VJD - My next book with Ellora’s Cave, Cherry’s Jubilee, is in process. The cover is gorgeous!
I just finished the second in a series of books about demons (they seem to be the new vampires these days), and I’ve got ideas for the third.

JHS – You’ve been busy, lady. Can’t wait to see the cover for Cherry’s Jubilee, certainly got my mouth watering. EC does turn out awesome covers. Tell us, when you’re not writing, what are some of your favorite things to do?

VJD - Read, of course. And go to movies – I’m a huge action movie fan, my husband likes comedies. We’re going to see The Men Who Stare at Goats this weekend. Walk the dogs.

JHS – The trailer for that looks hilarious. You’ll have to let me know if it’s good. These questions are just for fun. What’s your favorite vacation spot?

VJD - Hawaii

JHS – Gosh, I’d love to go there too, I hear it’s beautiful. If you could own any car you wanted what would it be?

VJD - A Maserati, or any sports car really. I pay my annual speeding tax every year, and did on the way back from Romanticon!

JHS – Are you serious? (laughing) another speed demon in the house. RomantiCon was a blast especially the parts with the Cavemen. I’ll bet there’s a nice sports car in Night Moves *grins*. If you could do it all over again, is there anything you’d change about your life?

VJD - No, not even my first marriage (tres bad), because I got such great stories out of it. Besides, then I’d be a different person.

JHS - Thanks for sharing a part of yourself with us, you’ve had an interesting life. Now, tell us a little about Night Moves.

VJD - Here’s a blurb and a small excerpt:

With her unglamorous job, crappy hours and limited choices, Rafaela finds herself reduced to internet dating. She just wants to meet a man she considers even remotely interesting. Or satisfying.

Her latest match-up is tall, dark and handsome Michael. He and his cousin and companion, Nico—gorgeous must be a family trait—are vampires. They’re getting tired of constantly hunting for a good meal and good sex. Too many complications. Too much danger of discovery.

They have decided to offer one woman—the right woman—an interesting proposition. An offer that just might fulfill all of Rafaela’s wildest fantasies.

     “Are you hungry, Raffia?” he asked, softly.
     The original plan had been for a late dinner, but there was clearly no need for it.
     Rafi searched his eyes, smiling at the play on her name. This wasn’t a game for him.
     That kiss had made her stomach flutter. She was fairly certain she couldn’t have eaten a bite, even if the most enticing steak was put in front of her.
     “No,” she said. “Are you?”
     “A little,” he admitted, “but I can wait.”
     Frowning lightly, Rafi said, “Are you sure?”
     “Quite,” he assured her. “I’m not ready for the evening to be over but I don’t know that I want to stay here. Will you walk with me a while?”
     She thought the cooler air outside would help her overheated body.
     It did and it didn’t.
     They walked through rain-washed streets, Rafi’s arm through Michael’s, laughing and talking. She could feel the muscle beneath the shirt, beneath the perfectly tailored suit.
     He seemed to enjoy her company, bowing his head now and then to hear her reply.
     There were moments when he would unexpectedly swing her into his arms to kiss her senseless and she would feel almost as if she were floating, as if she were…somewhere else.
     The first time he did it, it surprised her. Unconsciously she wrapped her hands around his strong wrists as he halted, his unexpected motion bringing her around in front of him as he brought his hands up to cup her face.
     By itself, the tenderness of the gesture alone nearly undid her.
     His lips touched hers with such obvious delight, such obvious pleasure, that it caught her off guard.
     One moment he was laughing and then she was in his arms.
     For a moment he drew back to look at her, his hands sliding deeper into her hair, his eyes very intense. The intensity and heat in his gaze set off a firestorm inside her as his mouth settled to hers once again. Every time he did it—looked at her that way—she felt warmer, safer, as though she needed to get closer. He took her mouth deeply as his hands skimmed down her back to pull her closer, to mold her body against his hard one.
     She skimmed her hands up into his silky dark hair as his hands settled on her hips. Her body seemed to be one pulse point, throbbing and aching. She had never reacted to a man this strongly, this quickly.
     For the first time in a long time, Rafi felt a breath of hope. She had started to become cynical, jaded and she knew it. And hated it.
     Rafi found that she didn’t care that it was getting late. She wasn’t on duty the next day so it didn’t matter how late she stayed out. The more they talked the happier she was, the more they kissed, the warmer she got. Excitement raced through her.
     They came to a stop and Michael drew her into his arms once again, but this time the intensity and heat of his gaze nearly scorched her as he skimmed a hand into her hair. He studied her face as if memorizing every line of it, seeking something in her expression, in her eyes.
     Michael gestured. “My car.”
     It was a very nice Jaguar, dark green, with soft honey-colored leather inside.
     Rafi looked at him, mesmerized.
     “If you will trust me,” he said, “I would like to show you my home. I like you, Raffia, very much. I want you to come with me.

Here's a look at the video:

JHS - Nice! How can readers get a copy?

VJD – They can buy it today at Ellora’s Cave and this is the direct link:

JHS - I know how busy an author’s life can be and I appreciate your taking time out of your schedule to join me at Paranormal Romantics. Here’s a few other interesting facts I was able to get out of VJ:

What’s your favorite food? Steak with mushrooms.
Where would you like to live if you had a choice? Central California south of San Francisco on the coast.
What’s your favorite color? Aqua (both blue and green!)
Who’s your favorite actor/TV show? The Big Bang Theory (I’m a geek, what can I say?)

JHS - Sounds like you want to be smack dab in the middle of wine country! I lived in the San Fernando Valley for 8 years and would love to go back. Maybe we’ll both get there. VJ, thanks so much for stopping by and don’t forget, you can get her book Night Moves starting today at Ellora’s Cave.

VJD - Thanks for inviting me!

Hey folks, come by next Friday. I’ll see what I can cook up for you. In the meantime: Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out. - © J. Hali Steele

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Favorite Vampire Series

Happy Manic Monday Everyone!

Oh wait a minute. Is today Monday??

Nope but Rae asked me to fill in. Sorry to those who came looking for an informative blog. Mine is just full of my opinion. I promise it will be short and sweet then I want to hear your opinion.

My favorite vampire series. For someone who writes about vampires all the time I've come to realize how limited my library is. Mine you each of these series has many books to them.

Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton changed my views from vampires being monsters to sex objects. Not just vamps but werewolves and werecats.

Anne Rice's series starting with Interview with a Vampire introduced me to vampires. Lestat with his moral views affect many of my alpha males.

The Twilight series showed me how to get indept with my character. I love writting in first POV and Stephenie excells in getting in her character's head.

The next series I'm looking at is Cirque de Freak by Darren Shan. If anyone has read this I'd love to hear what you have to say.

What are your favorite vampire reads and why?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Interview with J. Morgan!

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming my friend and fellow Desert Breeze author, J. Morgan.

SS: Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

JM: Due to restraining orders and such, I'm not allowed to tell even a little about myself, but as soon as the government releases it from the Top Secret folder, you will be the first to know. Until then, I can give you my name, rank, and library card number. J. Morgan, but will answer to anything if dessert is involved. Rank, author in sanity absentee and library card number is too private a thing to share. We barely know each other.

Seriously—hey who said that?—but really I've been writing I think for my entire life, but didn't begin to take it serious until 2005. I sat down and over a few months wrote my first novel, which sucked a big one. I have the rejection letter to prove it. None too bright, I started on my second book. That one sucked a little less and was snapped up by a now defunct publisher, as was my next book. Since then, I've been writing nonstop, when not suffering from writer's block and an excess of life.

SS: Funny. Now I really want that library card number...Anyway, what genre do you like to write best in and why?

JM: I love paranormal and comedy. The two just seem to blend together so easily for me.

SS: How do you find ideas for your books?

JM: Everyday life and tons of TV and movies. Experience is the best place to find just the right balance between sanity and fiction. Sometimes they even blend together. Not often, but hey, you got to take the good with the sane.

SS: So true! How difficult is it for you to get into “writer’s mode”?

JM: Depends on my frame of mind. Some times it just flows and other times it's like self-dental work, sure it can be done, but you don't want to try it.

SS: I hope that means you haven't actually done the dental work thing... Hmm, tell me a little about your new book.

JM: Love to Stake Another Day is Book 2 in the Love Bites Series. This book takes up right where the first one left off. So if you missed Book 1 (Love at First Stake) go out right this instant and get it. You don't have to read the first book but it might help. Love To Stake Another Day is the story of Kristain and Lyssette who are after Val, the daughter of Rudolpho from Love at First Stake. They must track her down to save Lyssie's brother Eli. Along the way they fall in love, and find out about a conspiracy that could topple the new treaty between the Vampires and Humans.

SS: How did the inspiration for this work come to you?

JM: Love of vampires truly and wanting to do something besides make them brooding tragic figures. Because if I sucked blood to survive, I'd want to find something to laugh about it. Love Bites is more than romance. It's my homage to all the movies I've seen. I wanted to translate that high octane action into book form. Think of Love Bites as my Star Wars.

SS: Awesome. Can't wait to read it. Do you identify with the characters you write about?

JM: You have to identify with your characters or you wouldn't be writing them. I use my friends as the basis for my characters so it's like talking to a friend when I write them but, believe, me my buds would never let me throw them into the situations I put my characters in.

SS: How many books do you have in print/e-print now? Do you have a favorite?

JM: Love to Stake Another Day marks my 6th. I hate picking favorites. They're all my favs and picking just one would tear me apart.

SS: I never thought about it that way before. Do you have a “day” job? How do you balance both “worlds”?

JM: Like most writers I do have a day job. There is no balancing the two. A good day at work means a good day writing. A bad day—oh boy—you might as well hang up writing anything.

SS: What a wise and learned author you are! What piece of advice do you have for aspiring writers that you wished someone told you when you started?

JM: Treat writing as acting, only on paper. If you can't slip into your character's mind, how can you expect a reader to do it? That is perhaps the best advice I've ever gotten.

SS: What is your next project?

JM: I just finished up Where Love Blooms, which will come out in January from Desert Breeze Publishing and I am currently working on Love Free Stake Hard Book 3 in the Love Bites Series. Looks like my brain will be vampy fried before the new year.

SS: Awesome. If you could interview any of the characters in your books, which one would it be, and why? What shocking thing might that character say?

JM: I have interviewed him. Stud Lee Monkey from MisStaked and you won't believe the things he said. Let's just say I won't let that monkey out of his box again for awhile.

SS: This may be a loaded question but what else would you like to share?

JM: I don't share my Oreos, so that's out. I think I'll share a fond wish for everyone to have a wonderful and safe Holiday Season. And if you find time in the coming hustle and bustle check me out on the internet at any of these links….

Love to Stake Another Day

Lyssette Ravell finds herself smack dab in the middle of a mess her brother started. When a new threat surfaces to threaten the Vampire/Human alliance recently set in place, she finds herself teamed with Kristain Marshall, who just so happens to be her almost brother-in-law.

Sent to rescue her brother Eli from the clutches of Rudolpho's daughter Valerious, Lyssette finds more than she bargained for. There's a traitor on the Vampire Council. Now, Lyssette must save her brother, root out this traitor and at the same time avoid at all cost falling in love with Kristain, the one man who could make her forget all the vows she's ever taken as an agent of the VCI.

SS: Thanks for the refreshing glimpse into you world! Let me tell you folks, I've read the first book in this series and I can definitely recommend it. Buy one or five copies now!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Interview with Serena Shay

Hi everyone and welcome to Paranormal Romantics. I am so pleased to welcome the extremely talented author Serena Shay. I had the pleasure of reading her book The Challenge, available from Liquid Silver Books.

Let me say it’s a really fun, exciting read that deals with the politics of a half-jaguar shifter becoming the mate of the Alpha of the local pack. No one will accept her as queen of their pack after they learn she is only half their kind, maybe not even her mate.

Thank you for joining us today Serena!!

Here is an excerpt from Serena’s book:


Betty Boop, the squeaky flirt, embraced the well-worn seats of Marina’s Honda

Civic in an oooh baby, look at me sorta way. The cartoon character’s sexpot act helped to bolster her flagging courage, every bit of which she needed now—in spades.

Deep growls and hooded glances coming from the perfect example of an alpha male in the driver’s seat promised untold pleasures, sex with an edge and orgasms at their finest. He played her body without a single touch, keeping her wet and ready for anything. The twenty-minute drive from the casino to his home sped by in a blur of sexual need.

From the car window, she could see he was right about the beauty and the privacy of the area. Tall trees lined the dirt driveway, ensconcing them in a dimly lit tunnel. Moonlight glanced off leaves weaving together a myriad of greens. Lights and darks, even mottled overgrowth surrounded the car, blanketing them in nature at its finest.

As the car drew to a halt and Bastian got out, she wondered again if she was making a mistake. Yes, she wanted to know the wildness of sex with this side of her physiology, but at what cost? Did she dare risk the loss of her anonymity? She’d hidden for so long behind her talent that it was hard to put herself out there for sex alone.

“We’re here.” His hand reached out, palm up, ready to assist her from the car.

He left her breathless with his considerate gesture. How many men these days opened car doors?

A symphony of nature met her as she rose from the car. Water lapping onto the shore and a fresh pine bouquet filled her with a wild yearning. She could run here, be free here.

Maybe she could be more, here.

They moved along the dock towards a giant gazebo outlined with twinkle lights. Silky netting hung suggestively around a raised pedestal in the center of the room, a bed hidden within its depths. They were alone, and the incredible man at her back demanded her full attention.

“Shh, pretty kitty.” Bastian wound himself around her, calming the shakes racking her body. When had those started? “There’s probably a minimum of a hundred things I could call you.” His tongue dragged lightly over the whorls of her ear. “But do you know what I would like?”

She tingled as pictures raced through her head. Her body sprawled over the hood of the car, the warm metal teasing her breasts as he pounded into her from behind.


“Your name, darlin’, what do I call you when I demand your release?”


So let’s jump right in, I’m not much of an interviewer, but hopefully this won’t be too painful.

First of all, I have to tell you how much I loved the Challenge. I was really, really moved by Mari. She broke my heart, a lot. But then she really becomes this really strong woman who is a force to be reckoned with.

Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much! I love hearing from folks who loved my story… It tells me that I channeled Bastian and Mari to the page in a very good way. Broken heart and all…Trust me, I told her she was killing me on a daily basis. J

Do you have a model for female strength that you based Marina on? Was their someone who inspired you?

Actually, Marina is more a compilation of women in general. She came to me in full, vivid Technicolor. She was strong, weak and like many women I know, gave so much of herself to others that she tended to think of herself last… Thank goodness, she got a wakeup call before it was too late!

Let’s talk for a second about the sex scenes. Do you have a trick or a plan for writing a good love scene? Do you think that the paranormal calls for steamer romance?

Yes, please, let’s talk sex! Hehe, these are my favorite scenes to write! ;) Tricks or plans, hmmm. Generally, when it comes to the sex scenes I turn off the internal filters and employ a whole lot of voyeurism. The scenes will run through my head in vibrant detail from start to multiple finishes. I’m the documenter quietly taking it all in from my corner of the room. From there it is getting it on to the page.

Oh absolutely I think it calls for steamier romance. J Paranormal for me means “extra, super, more than” normal. With the extra animal senses our shifters have, arousal can be smelled and tasted at such a deeper level than a regular human. Plus, for paranormal creatures across the board, shifters, vamps, or witches, they wield incredible powers everyday….can you imagine these guys and gals having lackluster sex?? LOL

Why Jaguars? Was their something about them that drew you to them? Did you have to study them to describe them so accurately?

When I first started writing for possible publication, rather than just for fun, I read a call that was out for cat shifter stories. I had nothing like that written at the time, but this faraway voice whispered Jaguar to me repeatedly. When I turned around, there stood Bastian and Mari telling me they had a story and to get ready.

As for studying them, I did read a bit about jaguars, their fur, the noise they make, and how they act in the wild, but that was about it. Most of what got into the story is just what I pulled from my imagination.

I get asked this question all the time and I do not have a good answer so maybe you can give me one. How do you balance motherhood and writing?

There’s a way to balance it? LOL I missed that discussion or class along the way! For me it’s a day, hour, minute, and second by second thing. Luckily, my Darling Diva is now in school, so I have time during the day to dedicate to writing, promo, blogging, volunteering, well everything, but it’s the summer and the days off that take away from the writing.

Mari and her sister are so close and inspiring. Will we be seeing her again in a future book? Will be see more of the Jaguars?

Oh definitely there will be more of the Jaguars. Once Mari and Bastian told their story, so many others have come creeping out of the bushes. J Gunner and a sassy Goth waitress, met in The Challenge, have been going rounds in my head lately, Maximillion, Max to anyone who doesn’t want to die painfully, has been insisting on getting some exposure. His Mississippi barge days are getting dull. Lots more Jags.

LeAnn’s story is about halfway finished. She insisted on a break as she is so private and telling her story has become a test of her fortitude. LeAnn has a special problem in the Jaguar world and requires a triad to be complete. To add to her shock, rather than a traditional triad of a female, a beta male and an alpha male, she calls to two alphas…Oh my!

Who do you read? Who inspires you to write?

Anyone and everyone! I love to read, and always find myself thigh deep in stories. I do tend to lean towards paranormal, but any story with an interesting blurb and intriguing characters, pulls me in.

As for who inspires me to write, well that is my hubby. He’s been my rock and my cheering section for as long as we’ve been together.

Let’s talk for a second about the dreaded writers block. Has it happened to you and what did you do to make it go away?

Ah, ye ole writers block. Yep, I’ve had my struggles with the beast, but I’ve found for me that it is less a block and more a “hey, writer dummy, you’ve taken a left instead of a right in the story” block. I always know that if I’m stuck with something or at a certain scene, struggling to put the words on the page, I’ve made a misstep in the words above. Usually all it takes then is a quick reread to see where I went askew, and a reroute to get me back on track!

Tell me about your muse. What is she like?

My muse, huh. Well my muse is sometimes a lazy bitch who wields the guilt wand with the assurance that she is always right. Sometimes though, she is the whisper in my ear of all of the sexy and deeply erotic things one, two, three people or more can do with one another and sometimes she is a he and encouraging me to write with the promise that words on the page equals less clothes on his delicious body.

My muse tends to be what I need at the time. Yep, I’m super lucky! ;)

Thanks for coming Serena! Its been so nice having you!!

Thanks for having me at Paranormal Romantics, it’s an awesome blog! BTW, these were great questions, such fun to answer!


Please contact Serena in the following places:

Serena's blog -

Serena's website -

Group blog -