Monday, January 31, 2011

Bold and Bad Heros


That's the name of my most favorite character of my long list of favorite characters.

Who is this man? Well, first off, he's not a man but a dark elf, a drow. I'm doing a little happy dance in my chair because as I researched a picture of him, I found out R.A. Salvatore released a new book with him in it! *happy dancing some more*

RA Salvatore introduced me to the idea that the hero doesn't need to be a good guy.  Jarlaxle is the charismatic and opportunistic drow leader of the mercenary band, Bregan D'aerthe. He's flamboyant where most of his race is reserved, yet skilled and intelligent enough that warriors want to follow him.

These books aren't in the romance genre but I loved the worlds created by this author and though I don't write fantasy RA Salvatore has influenced some of my writing.

I've been accused of always routing for the bad guy. Guilty as charged. LOL

Which has lead me to my own character:

(the one on the right)

It's hard chosing from my cast of characters but Tane has a special place in my heart. As I wrote BAIT a secondary character came to life and I loved him so much, I made him one of the heros in CATCH. Tane is a Nosferatu vampire and I wrote him the way I truly see a vampire acting. He doesn't care what others think or hurting someone's feelings. With all the time in the world available to him, he can devise complicated schemes and see them through, yet somehow stay innocent of all crimes. He a charming asshole with a vice for power, martinis, and interesting people.

*clears throat* Notice both my choices are bald. LOL What can I say?

I'm off to download the new Jarlaxle book onto my Nook!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Characters I Love.....

This week our theme question is, favourite characters and why.

A favourite character...oh that’s hard. I love all my characters for all different reasons. But I will share one character with you all that was just a blast to write. Her name is Bryanna and she’s the heroine in Whatnots & Doodads – A Strange Hollow story, which will be released sometime in April.

When I began to write this story I wasn’t quite sure where I was going with it, but Bryanna quickly settled into herself and I was instantly captivated. Quickly, she began to shape up to be one of the most amusing characters I’ve ever written. Her snappy personality, quirky sense of humour, unmanageable magic, and all the funny things that came out of her mouth had me enjoying every minute of her story.

But there was more to her than just laughter, she is a very deep and real character. A little bit tormented and in desperate need accepting herself, regardless that her magic is a bit flawed.

In regards to other authors, my all time favourite heroine is Aisling Grey from Katie MacAlister’s Dragon series. No character has ever made me laugh so hard. I love everything about her and when the series came to end I was sad to let her go. It’s not just her sass, but it’s her sweet heart. I found her to be a very real character and she is so funny! It’s not often that a book...or books I should say make me laugh out loud, but I found myself laughing all the way through each book. Plus, the romance she shares with Drake!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"It was a dark and stormy night."

“It was a dark and stormy night”—probably one of the most recognizable opening lines to a novel, and one of the worst. Telling, not showing and why, when there’s so many wonderful ways to paint a storm with words?

And here's one of the best by Ray Bradbury:  "The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm. He came along the street of Green Town, Illinois, in the late cloudy October day, sneaking glances over his shoulder. Somewhere not so far back, vast lightnings stomped the earth. Somewhere, a storm like a great beast with terrible teeth could not be denied."

Weather can affect all our senses, from ozone in the air left after lightning strikes, to raindrops kissing naked flesh. As a writer, I feel it is one of the best ways to engage a reader and draw them into my story. I love to use the weather in my stories. It gives me the opportunity to flex my artistic muscle and see if I can immerse you in my world. Bits and pieces, hints of what the world is doing, can be found scattered around my text.

Here are a few excerpts. Some are from WIPs, others from published novels.

Blown Away, (Happy Trails): The heat from the star blasted down, steaming the pools of water left on the streets from the late afternoon shower. Humidity twisted and danced around like a specter. The women’s perfumes clung to the ghosts, clotting the district with a nauseating sweetness that was an elegant scent when solo, but when combined, it reeked like a field of rotting flowers and fruits. Jenna’s stomach rolled. She pressed the back of her hand to her nose in an attempt to block it.

Slipping the Past: She should’ve left him before it came to this, but she worried about the trouble he’d get into on his own. At least this way she could try to keep him from doing something stupid. Which at the moment, she seemed to be failing at miserably.

“I’m going in there to take what we need. We can’t help being hungry,” he said

“Sit with me and stay warm. I’ll be fine.” She reached up and grabbed his hand.

“No.” He pulled away. “Stay here, out of sight.”

“Don’t go in there. Something doesn’t feel right.” That wasn’t a lie. Whatever triggered the unease gnawed at the corners of her consciousness. It was there, flashing danger alerts through her brain, waiting for an opportunity to strike and the last person she wanted to be a target, wouldn’t listen to her.

“I’ll be okay. I’m only going to nick some food and credit. Small stuff.” Nate tucked a loose strand of her hair into her hood. “I'll be right back. Nobody’s going to get hurt.” He turned. His boots crunched on the snow as he walked away, stringing her nerves tighter.

Jocelyn leaned against the brick. Idiot. What did he think he’d accomplish? He’d get her one meal and lose his soul over it. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. Why wouldn’t he listen? She’d be okay. She’d come out of worse situations than this.


Bells jangled from across the street as he entered the store. Jocelyn’s stomach twisted into knots. Heat blew up from the grate where she sat on her heels, but it didn’t help the foreboding chill that blanketed her body. She raised her wrist to her mouth and chewed on her jacket’s frozen cuff.

“Be safe. Be safe. Be safe.” She rocked and focused. Nothing. Only that feeling as it grew stronger. “Get out, Nate,” she whispered, mentally reaching for him. No contact.

Nate, listen to me.

The wind whistled between the buildings, but nothing else.

Hear No Evil (WIP): Shit. Not good. Not only did that not seem to bother them, they hadn’t left. She’d seen enough horror shows to know the blonde caught alone in the office at the hour she’d been caught, always became worm fodder because of some guy with a big knife, or axe, or machete. Oh please not a machete. With the war display down the hall, they could take their pick of any number of fun and exciting ways to gut her. She closed her eyes and visualized the inventory. No, the machete wasn’t so bad.

Someone threw their weight against the door. Paxton yipped. Okay, get the hell out of the office, dipshit. What are you waiting for? She bit her lip and crawled across the floor to a window behind her desk, scrambling as fast as she could on her hands and knees. Worm fodder, worm fodder, worm fodder.

The bolt would hold. The glass was shatter resistant, but that door… She’d been the idiot to request the hand-carved replica of an antique temple door. Balsa was an easy wood to carve or so she’d been told and it was glued to a hollow core cheapie. Nice secure choice, i-d-i-o-t.

She bit her lip, grabbed her purse and pulled the window open. Paxton kicked off her heels and stuck her head out. The street sat five stories below. Snow floated down so heavy it made it impossible to see the building across the way. Slick, windy, stupid, mustn’t forget the stupid part. “Oh God.” What had she gotten herself into?

Two windows over and she’d be in the kitchen. Maybe she need only ask what they want? Why risk her neck? “Can I help you?” she called.

The entire door shook and Paxton swallowed. Okay, that would be a no. She stuck her head back out. Fifteen feet, perhaps? From the kitchen she could exit into another hallway and take the fire escape to the ground floor where the security officer was stationed and hopefully alive. The door banged again as someone slammed into it. But then again, in the movies the psycho always got the guard first.

She climbed onto the brownstone sill and pressed her bottom against the stone blocks. This was crazy. She was crazy. The snow and rough surface would destroy her favorite silk suit. The door rattled again, vibrating the contents of her office. Who the fuck cared?

Don’t look down. Focus. You can do this. Step and slide. Step and slide. She shuffled sideways, pushing the snow along the ledge like a plow, refusing to even take a peek at the street below. She’d lose her courage and now was not the time or place for that.

In one hand she held her purse the other her sling-backs hooked on a finger. The designer heels had cost her a fortune and she wasn’t about to leave them behind. A silly thing to worry about when one was shuffling along a ledge, but there were needs and wants and the shoes were a definite need.

Whoever was trying to break in had to have seen the light and thought that she might have the combination to the vault? Surely a thief, not someone that watched as Dr. Moore speculated. She had to believe that, anything else was too scary to contemplate.

Step and slide. Step and slide. She continued to move along the sill until the window was behind her. She pushed it open and crawled through. Not so bad. They couldn’t know she was in the kitchen, but she shouldn’t stick around for them to find out.

Hear No Evil (excerpt 2): Nate down shifted and pulled onto an exit. “I don’t like who I am, or what I’ve become.” The border sat one hundred miles ahead. Since the United States merged with their neighbors to the north and south, the borders were unmanned. Anyone standing on the continent was a citizen of the UR, United Regions. Enter at your own risk.

“You’re not Ian Saefa.”

“Then who am I? Because I’m not Nate Miller anymore either.”

Waves of heat warped the air in front of them. It wasn’t even noon and the blacktop from the old highway already smoked. It was dangerous to be out at this time of day, in the open in a vehicle like the glider. The small population that resided in the middle of the United Regions lived underground and only came out at night to man the power stations and the condensers that generated water for the residents. Not much was known about them. They kept to themselves and very rarely did an Enforcer enter their territory to dispense justice.

With the holes in the ozone, very few traveled south anymore. The middle of the U.R., at one time, had been Texas, Arizona, New Mexico Oklahoma and Nevada. It had become a wasteland, good for little but collecting dust, solar power and hiding from the law. Radiant energy plants that generated power for much of the Southwest dotted the horizon but little else occupied the space.

Which generated another question.

Why were there three gliders behind them? Nathanial eyed the mirror. “Don’t look now but we’ve picked up some friends.”

Paxton tightened her hold. “How many?”

“Three.” Nate glanced into the mirror again. They were closing in. In the last few seconds they’d gained a hundred yards. “We’re going to have to get off the highway and try to lose them in the desert. Hold on.” He cranked hard to the left and swung the back end of the glider around. They shot down the embankment and across a rock covered field. Paxton twisted behind him.

“You might want to go faster. They’re following.”

“You might want to grab hold of my belt.” Nate accelerated, leaving a sand tsunami rolling behind them and billowing into a thick cloud. “Hold on tight,” he yelled and ducked down close to the bars. Paxton tightened her hold and pressed her body against his shoulders.

He flipped a switch and pressed a button, igniting the glider’s boosters. They rocketed forward and the world blurred by. He’d half a charge and the last place he wanted to run out of energy would be in this wasteland. Using the boosters would drain their power. They’d have to lose them quick and find a place to rest in the shade while the glider recharged.

He glanced in the mirror to see they still pursued. He’d been crazy to leave the road. The people behind him were crazier to follow. How far would they go before they gave them up for buzzard bait? Something told him they weren’t the giving up type and he might have to change his tactics.

“They’re still gaining,” Paxton yelled.

“Where the hell did they get boosted rides? There’s no other way to catch this glider.”

“Same place you did.” Paxton’s voice fought against the roaring air and engine.

“I installed the system myself. Since reapers don’t use gliders, my guess is whoever’s behind us can’t teleport and they’re not from the DSLE.”

“Then who the hell are they?” Paxton said.

“Good question. They get any closer and you can ask them.” Nate studied the area ahead. Remnants of the King ranch, a spread that once covered more acreage than any other ranch in Texas. Now it was barren, dried up in the great drought of 2021, and a forgotten scar on Earth’s surface. Dead, desolate and unlivable--life, long since moved on to greener pastures.

A windmill’s skeletal frame stood against the turquoise sky. Its tin pinwheel spun and squawked above a dusty tank and extinct water source. Ahead a broken barbwire fence that once kept enormous herds of Herefords from wandering, now lay strung across the desert like broken string. Only the old wooden posts stood sentinel and they did little to keep anything in or out.

“I have an idea. Brace yourself. This might get rough.”

From frozen city streets to scorching wastelands, the weather can bring so much to a story. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the weather.

D. L.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hot and Cold...

weather...I've used both in my writing. If you've read any of the Sovereign Kind books, you know my cats are mostly desert animals. They love the heat, just like me. *grin* There are a few 'cold' cats. In Cougar by the Tail, I used mountain lions, or cougars, that much prefer the cold temps of the mountains. In Hard Case, the heroine is a snow leopard shifter--definitely a cold, snow-loving cat. Wicked me, I mated her with a white lion, a cat who thrives in the heat of an African savanna.

A recent story, The Gift, is about mermen--one from the cold waters surrounding Iceland, one from the Caribbean seas. That was not a match made in heaven, lol. Neither can stand each other's extreme temperatures.
Here's a bit of The Gift:
Climbing through the car window, he hurried to catch up with Cray whose strides were long and purposeful. New snow didn’t deter the cold bastard or slow him down one bit. Rad struggled behind him in dress shoes and a full length, heavy wool coat. He was glad as hell he had his wool cap. Cray wore nothing but a pair of flimsy white cotton pants tied at the waist.

“Each year I think you won’t come. Why do you?”

It was a question he’d asked himself often over the years. Losing his footing, he fell down face first in the snow. Icy fingers gripped the back of his neck and pulled him up.

The man pressed him against a nearby tree, his voice low and ragged. “Why do you?”

His skin warmed immediately under the touch of his lover, and considering how cool Cray was, that always amazed Rad. There was no chance to answer before hard lips smashed into his and stole his breath away. Cray’s tongue shoved roughly into his mouth, and Rad savored the cool, fresh taste that followed.

Hands were everywhere on his body, sending his temperature sky high. Frozen fingertips forged through the opening of the coat and under his sweater where they became hot as they moved up his stomach to his nipples. The man rolled the hard nubs between his thumbs and fingers, wrenching a moan from deep in Rad’s gut that shattered the silent night. Cray’s sweet mouth continued to smother his with kisses.

Thick, stiff cocks bumped together, and his ached for release. Pulling away, frozen vapor drifted into the air surrounding each breathless word. “I come for you.”

No matter the weather or the temperature outside, I always find a way to bring them together, and though the weather plays a big part in what I write about, it never hinders the Happy Ever After.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

When in Rains, It Pours

Using weather and writing. Like most other things you hear in reference to writing, use it if it's necessary.

Take for instance The Perfect Storm. Without the storm, it would have never taken place. It was necessary to the action, the storyline and is even a character in the book (yes, it was a book before it was a movie). It's a perfect example of how weather can be used in a story.

On the other hand, there are some scenes that could have done without the weather element. Take Spiderman for instance, the kissing scene in the alleyway. Was it necessary for it to rain? Well, not really, from what I remember. It wasn't a key component of the storyline. It was more for effect. So in that vein, it could have been necessary simply to set the tone.

Writers use weather to set the tone of scenes all the time. In the instance of the Weather Warden series from Rachel Caine (a series that just concluded I might add *weep*) weather is vital as the characters control it. Jo can control and manipulate the elements and save humanity.

How about an example from my work personally? The scene that immediately comes to mind for me is out of Blood Fever, the second of the Rebirth series books. The characters, Quinn and Evande, are standing out in front of Quinn's home and it's pouring. I mean it's raining cats, dogs, rats and frogs. Thunders crashing. Lighting is popping like a firework display on the Forth of July. It's a highly emotional scene for both characters and the weather reflects their emotion. More importantly...the reader learned something and they didn't even know it.

What? You'll just have to wait until this summer to find out when Forged in Fire releases. ;^)

Frustration tightened Quinn's eyes and the corners of his mouth pulled down into a deep frown. “You still don't get it, do you kid?” he shouted over the crack of lightning a few miles away and the thunder that followed. The storm rolled overhead, grumbling in annoyance. It seemed to be offended because we were ignoring it.
“Get what?” I asked him, aggravated because I knew full well what he was talking about, but was still refusing to admit. I couldn't do that to either of us, it just wouldn't be fair. It wouldn't be fair to anyone else either, most especially to Logan and Gina. They were caught up in this too even if neither of them realized it.
“I told you I accepted you years and years ago. No matter how much I swear, it's never going to matter, is it?” Rage edged into his voice.
I wiped my hand over my face as I tried to get the raindrops out of my eyes. “You accept me with conditions, Quinn. It shouldn't be that way.” This was an old song and dance for us.
He reached out and wrapped his hand around my forearm to pull me closer to him. Lighting exploded overhead and backlit his shape. “You know why I do, but you don't want to admit it or listen. To yourself or to me.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weather Thou Goest

I’m a Weather Channel addict, so it goes without saying that I use weather to enhance scenes in my stories. Actually, if we're being honest--I have a bit of an obsession with thunderstorms. I think it's the lightning (or maybe it's the comforting rumble of thunder).

Case in point:

A rumbling growl overhead diverted his gaze, if not his thoughts, from the trim lawns and tidy houses lining the block where his latest mark had resided. Above him, a roiling blanket of clouds stretched across the horizon. He stumbled over level ground as he experienced the same instant of vertigo as always when faced with a view of their darkened underbellies rather than their luminous crowns. (Wicked Kin)  

Here's another:

Wind whipped at my skin as it drove solid pellets of rain in stinging slaps on my neck and face. Thunder crashed as lightning brushed veined fingers across the sky. The dim glow of light called to me from a few hundred yards ahead. I ran, slipping and sliding over ground undecided whether it wanted to refreeze or melt. (Everlong)

I can't help it. (Yes, I know I use that excuse a lot.) I’m fascinated by the workings of something greater than humanity and wildly out of our control. I picture weather as a sentient creature. If you’ve ever seen a tornado, ever survived one, then you know what I mean. Some people say a tornado sounds like a train. I can see that. My argument is this—a train is a hunk of metal hurling down its own track. You get in its way, and it runs you over. Tornadoes don’t give you that luxury. They hunt you down. And you know what? They get pissed off when you’ve hidden well enough they can’t find you.

(The most fantastic picture of a supercell thunderstorm I've ever seen. Came from here.)

There’s something to be said for the way that particular beast grabs a house and shakes it, as if the people inside are delicious treats just out of its reach. Sometimes, it grows bored and moves on. Other times, it punches through the roof or rips the walls from the foundation to reach its prize. Always, it bellows this inhuman roar that plugs your ears and makes your pulse skyrocket while you wait to see how hungry it is this time. Will it leave you and your home intact? Or will it rip aside the barriers humans have constructed and consume everything in its path until its hunger has been sated? You never know. Each time is a gamble. Every siren, a cause to hide in your storm cellar or bathtub and pray this time the beast is well-fed and you don’t look like dessert.

March is coming on fast. Sirens lay dormant, for now. Let the beast come, I’ll be ready.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

As Assault of Weather!

For the most part, I don't write about weather. Maybe I'm just over saturated with it since I am living in a constant downfall of snow this year!

But, having said, that I did bring up weather in my book Initiation that is releasing from Decadent Publishing on February 2nd, 2011. Why, you might, ask did I alter my normal writing style in this book? Well, there is a very good answer to that.

Rachel has been living underground her entire life in a weather controlled habitat. The first time she goes Upwards she is assaulted by the cold. Here is a slight taste of that:

A burst of cold wind hit me in the face and I gasped, finding the sensation all consuming. I’d never been outside of the maintained weather environment of the habitats, which were kept at a constant eighty degrees, the coolest they could make it considering how far down we were in the earth.

I fell to my knees, closing my eyes. Okay, I told myself over and over. I could deal with this. Not one Warrior had ever perished from a cold breeze…that I knew of. For a minute, I could do nothing but feel the thin, frigid air hit me square in the face even as I huddled on the ground. I opened my eyes, hoping the wind had died down a little bit and saw in front of me a pair of very large legs obstructing my view. I jumped up as I forgot about the wind and grabbed the stake from my leg holster on my way up.

How about all of you? How much does weather play a part in your writing?

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Storm is Brewing

I think weather can have a huge impact on a story. It sets the tone and mood of the book. Every time I sit down to  plot, the first thing I think of is what season this should be set in.

For a quick example, I just read Shadowfae, which I mentioned last week. LOL It's erotic, steamy, and sensual. The author set this story during a heat wave in the summer. Trickling sweat, little dresses and thin t-shirts sticking to the skin, and the subliminal message is HOT HOT HOT. Excellent use of weather.

I used a Chicago winter at the beginning of The Alpha to set the tone of the heroine's emotional state. Freezing, she's hunched into her jacket, her hands hidden, and her thread bare clothes and running shoes give little protection. Vulnerable was what I aimed at.

In a future project, a murder mystery, will be set during a typical Vermont snowstorm. I'm hoping it will increase the tension with not being able to see properly or move/drive fast. Things hidden in the snow and the heavy clothes make it hard to find or identify anything. *rubs hands* Can't wait to write this one.

Don't forget to comment to be entered to win a book from Hailey Edwards.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The winter blues...

This week’s theme question is, does weather in writing help or hinder us?
I don’t know about the other ladies here at Paranormal Romantics, but weather has no play in my writing all, except for it’s a good excuse to put a movie on for the kids to watch so I can write a little. Truthfully, when winter rolls around I get incredibly lazy. Why? Well, that’s cause I don’t want to step outside into the cold. I really hate freezing temperatures. Amusing, right? Yes, I live in Ontario, so half the year it’s cold here. Let’s just leave it at...I love snow, but from the warm confines of my home.
Because I spend so much time inside my energy level drops. I have discovered that through these months I’m not nearly as productive as I am during the summer. On a good day, with no kids around, I can write 4-5K a day. During the winter months that word count is cut in half. Do I dwell on it? Nah. I just do what I can and accept the fact that the winter is sluggish months for me.
Here is a little something though to show you what I’d love to do for the majority of my time during the winter. *grins*

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What's on the Nook?

*Pokes head in door and adjusts big cone-shaped hat.* “Excusest me kind peoples. Wouldest thou pointest me in the direction of a guild of Paranormal scribes?” *Stares for a second.* Wouldest thou have seen them. They art...”

*Sighs.* “A little help here. Has anyone seen a group of paranormal writers? Anyone? Hello? Demon looking for paranormal writers.”

*Grabs long hair and begins to pull it through door. Hair pulls back.* “Fred! Let go.” *Braces foot on door jamb.* “Listen you over grown lizard, let go before I sell you to KFC, they roll you in eleven herbs and spices, and stuff your ass in a bucket.” *Wig slips off head and disappears through door.*

“Can you believe it? That wig is gonna cost me. They’re not cheap. Fred will eat anything. No, really. I’ve been having a hard time getting my mail lately. The mail carriers keep disappearing. It’s a good thing he’s not into ‘fine dining’.”

“Then there was Mrs. Sneider’s Bichon Frise, he burped up hairballs for a week. She called the animal control officer on me. Have you ever tried to explain how your twenty- foot dragon got out of the yard and ate fluffy? And of course, she accused Fred of leaving the yard muffins all over her front lawn too. Something about flaming piles of...” *Snort* “I told her it was fluffy. Fred uses her rose garden in the back yard. Besides, I really don’t know how that gate got open.” *Shrugs.*

“Flipping dragons! You can’t live with them and they make too large a meal for one. Well, I can see I’m a little overdressed. You could have told me we weren’t doing the whole role-playing thing. And to think I went out of my way to do the Mid-Evil wench thingie. See this corset. Do you have any idea how tight you have to yank the stays to get the pumpkins up to your chin? Never mind.” *Snaps fingers and changes to stilettos, and three-piece suit. Sits on desk and crosses legs.* “That’s better. From the look of it, it was going to be hard to find someone here that would climb up my hair and rescue me anyway.”

“Hi, my name is Bunny. I’m a demon.” *Holds finger up in the air.* “Wait, I know.” *Claps hands and massive tome drops on desk. Flips it open.* “Dwarfish, no. Goblin...ish? Draculainian? Isn't that like--Slavic or something? *Glances up.* Hmmm. Maybe. Fairy? I know, I know. It’s not fffffairy. It’s Sidhe, or Fae. Pixies. Whatever. A fairy is a fairy and they all have attitudes. Little bastards. Have you ever seen Tinkerbell when she has PMS? TinkerHell is more like it.”

*Flips page.* “Wait, wait, wait. Here it is...” *Clears throat.* “Work with me, okay. I am multi-lingual, but Elvish isn’t one of my languages. I’m fluent in Southern Sucubi. It’s the same as Northern, just less suck.” *Glances around silent room.* “That was a joke. I wasn’t serious. Lighten up, would you?”

“Mellon en amin!” *Smiles.* “Amin Irma quen.”


“Hello. Anyone out there speak Forest Elf?”

*Raises brow.* “No? You’ve got to be kidding. There isn’t a single person in this group that can? You people are an interesting bunch. Fantasy writers, paranormal writers?” *Snort.* “Can’t even speak Elvish.

Okay, let’s keep this in plain English then.” *Raises brow.* “You do know English?”

“Hey, put that dagger down. Yes, you in the back. Put it down, or Fred’s going to have an early lunch. He enjoys take-out now and again. Yeah, I know. Fast food is bad for you, clogs the arteries, but…,” *leans closer,* “you don’t look all that fast. Still a little sluggish from Nano, I’ll bet. Mmmm, McWriter. A little sweet and sour sauce and...”

“Oh, where was I?”

“Yes. As I was saying. I’m Bunny and I’m a demon. Don’t say it, your really don’t want too. I’ll stick you with my pitchfork and roast you till crispy. Just because I look all cute, uh sexy with this tail and horns, doesn’t mean I can’t do damage. I’m the original Femme Fatale. I'm not overly fond of carrots either. Chocolate will do. I adore cookies, Devil's food cake... Sorry, I start thinking about chocolate and it's all over.”

*Yawns and stretches.* “Such a long night. I had this date with a hot Hell Lord. Met him at one of those internet dating sites. You can never trust those internet-dating services. I did specifically ask for an Axe Murderer.” *Rolls eyes.* “Instead, I got matched with this lame-ass demon that sat on my couch, drank all my beer, and forgot to put the toilet seat down when he snuck out in the early morning hours.”

“Anyway, we went out on this date. A pool party. My neighbor has a lava pool. It’s all the rage. We mingled, drank cocktails and every now and then, we’d shove a telemarketer, banker or politician in. Don’t look at me like that. *Puts hands on hips.* I’m a demon, not an angel. You should try it sometime. Very liberating. I haven’t had that much fun since the Dark Ages.

*Glances at watch.* Damn. I’m late. I have a fitting for a wedding dress. *Claps hands together.* I can’t wait to see his face. Please don’t say anything if you see him. It’s a surprise and I really don’t want to have to hunt him down if he catches on early. It’s such a pain. Tracking them from work, following them out and harassing anybody they see. Do you know what I mean? It’s so much easier to blindside them before they know what you’re up to. Still, being late, it is the fashionable thing to do and believe me, I'm all about fashion. So I'll sit and chat for a minute if you don't mind."

“I’ve been thinking a lot lately.” *Waves hand.* “I know, I know, idle minds are the devil’s playground, or is it the hands? Never mind. Trust me; the devil’s playground isn’t your hands or your mind. It’s the DMV. That’s right you heard me.” *Leans closer.* “The Department of Motor Vehicles. I have to tell you, my license is up for renewal soon and I just cringe at the thought of going in there. First, you have to wait for hours, usually next to someone who sweats profusely and doesn’t know the purpose of deodorant. Then the ladies room is out of order and if you get out of line to use it, someone steals your place.”

“Anyway, the woman that sits behind the counter and takes your picture... She’s EVIL and believe me; I know evil when I see it. Seriously—as in spawn of Satan—Minion of Beelzebub—Henchwoman of Lucifer. A true sadist. I spent a good four hours on my hair and make-up. The outfit I wore was brand new and there isn’t a garment around that looks bad on me. *Snort.* It’s true, what do you expect, I’m a demon, I’m the epitome of sin, sex and everything that’s bad for you. I’m supposed to look hot. Sue me. We own all the lawyers anyway.”

“Oh where was I...Oh yes, this outfit. A toad couldn’t make it look bad.” *Tosses hair.* “But that woman, that woman at the DMV snapped my picture for my new driver’s license and I looked hideous. Then to make matters worse, she wouldn’t take another. This time it better be different.” *Shakes pitchfork* “Bunny’s got your number.” *Digs in purse.* “No really, I’ve got it right here. It was a bitch getting it, but oh boy is it going to be worth it when she opens her Facebook and sees it plastered all over the internet. *Grins.* “We own the telemarketers too. Who’d you think they worked for?” *Eyes glow red.*

“Anyway, the reason I decided to visit... The ladies of Paranormal Romantics are talking about what they’re reading. Since I’ve got a lot of things on my Nook, I had to stop by. Where’s D L? Oh she’s here, but you know, possession is 9/10th of the law. *Smiles.* Where was I. Yes, when I scroll down the list, the theme seems to be debut novels. I got an advance reader’s copy of First Grave on the Right, and since it’s got a hero I can appreciate, I thought I’d take a moment to share my thoughts.”

“First off I have to tell you First Grave on the Right has the three F’s I look for in a romance novel.”

“Fun—the humor is top notch.”

“Fresh—not your mamma’s paranormal smut.”

“And lots of f…fulfilling romance.” *Buffs nails on skirt* “Seriously, you didn’t think that kind of language comes out of my mouth? I might be a demon, but I do have standards. Do you have any idea how much this smile cost me? Fangs are not easy to get ground down and still look natural. But I digress. I’m here to talk about the book, not moi.”

“As I said, the hero was someone I could appreciate. Reyes is hot, of the supernatural variety and I thought I’d met him before…then realized he wasn’t the same. My bad. But you can understand my mistake; I mean the guys down in hell are pretty hot. Again, it’s that whole temptation thingie.”


“And the other novels… We’ll I’ve got Song of the Scarabaeus. Loved the dark theme of this novel, even if I would classify it as a sweeter romance or science fiction with romance elements. I wish it had more of the sex.” *Rolls eyes.* “Yeah, I said it. Bunny doesn’t do sweeter. It’s in my contract. Anyway, you can appreciate a novel where the hero is a criminal on the lamb.” *Sighs* “Now that’s what I’m talking about. Who doesn’t want to meet a cute sociopath?”

*Taps nails on desk.* “Hmmm what else?”

“Oh yes. I opened up my email yesterday and Tara Maya had sent me her debut story, Unfinished Song: Initiate. Can’t wait to start.

I also have quite a few of Jayne Ann Krentz’s novels. The Burning Lamp trilogy is what I’m currently into. Love curses—love them, and her heroes are hot. Oh speaking of hot…”

*Glances at wristwatch.* “A wedding dress awaits. Lovely chatting with you, but I really need to go. I’ll stop by again and visit someday.”


*Vanishes in a puff of smoke.*

Friday, January 21, 2011

Look what crossed my path...

It's my turn to answer the question: What we are reading and what story lines we'd love to find on the shelf but won't write. Let me start off by saying there's not much I won't write if the muse bangs me over the head. Turns out she's just a paranormal, fantasy, shifting loving hussy! And she has no qualms about who or what is doing the loving--only that they love! *grin* I like my muse.

What would I like to see more of on shelves--something I don't know if I could be good at doing. Multi-author stories. Not anthos. Books that one author writes the first story, another author writes their story with different characters, and sometimes you even get to meet those from the first book. There is usually a common thread like, they all "live" in the same neighborhood, galaxy, or wherever.

I'm going to tell you about two I just read from the town of Draven's Crossing. Selena Illyria and Diana DeRicci are building a wonderful world around vampires, werewolves, dragons, and more! To use their words: It's a decadent paranormal series of erotic novellas... and, boy, have they started off with a bang!! Both novellas are available now: Purple Sword Publications.

Tempestuous Crossings by Selena Illyria:
Welcome to Draven’s Crossing, where fantasies and nightmares walk among us…

Vampire Mayor Draven desires mortal Rose. Her rebuffs excite him. When she finally gives in to his advances, their coming together is explosive, and their passion is more than he could’ve anticipated.

But a serial killer divides his attention. Can he keep his town safe from this mysterious menace and convince Rose that they belong together despite her reservations?

As a new resident of Draven’s Crossing, all Rose wants to do is her job. Draven could be a distraction she can’t afford, but she can’t ignore him or her arousal.

In the first book, I met Draven and Rose. The suspense alone would have kept me turning the pages. I was sucked in immediately by the town, it's machinations, the inhabitants and, in particular, the romantic involvement of the hero and heroine. The scenes between them are full of fire and passion. By the time they came together, I was so enthralled with them, and their world, I had to have the next book because--I'd fallen in love with [Draven]'s Crossing. I felt involved in their lives! Didn't hurt any that Draven, a vampire, is strong, intelligent, and sexy as hell.

Mind Games by Diana DeRicci:

From out of the darkness, a voice calls, luring one man into a battle of the unknown.

Jackal has lived a well-guarded secret his entire life. A being of immense power, he understands and accepts the loss and emptiness of never finding a soul to love, yet endures because it is his only path. Eternal life means none who walk the earth could comfort him for long.

The only one who could understand his plight has lived for just as long: a vampire. Taken by surprise and tortured, Kristof’s agony pulls Jackal to him in the dream realm, forging a bond that is unexpected and unexplained.

But now that they’ve connected, will the darkness that hunts all para-kind in Draven’s Crossing destroy them?

Jackal and Kristof...yummy! I felt their pain, their loneliness, their love, and when they did come together, I felt their joy. Jackal was totally unexpected! *big grin* Two very different beings, yet they find in each other something that pulls them together, and I enjoyed the whirlwind-ride along with them.  Each page drew me further into their world, into Draven's Crossing, and the lives of everyone there.

There's one character I'm not going to talk about, *ahem* hot, mysterious, tough, hot, furry, hot...did I say hot...

In both I found romance, suspense, wonderful dialogue, and an awesome story with all the eroticism I crave. Two authors, two great voices, and I'm looking for more of this to put on my cyber shelf. I'm dying for the next book already. I don't know which of them is writing it, but my eyes will be peeled at Purple Sword Publications... waiting... waiting...

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sitting on My Coffee Table in Wait

I'm not actively reading anything at the moment, mainly because my husband has a nasty cold that's creating havoc on the household ('tis that time of year...). BUT, never fear, I have books waiting in the wings. What's up for me first when I break my reading fast?

Yes, I've been eagerly anticipating this one, and the close of the series *cough* for a while. Ever since the previous book ended on a HAC (huge ass cliffhanger). Mostly because there are a lot of questions still dangling that need to be answered. Hope we finally get them. Shhh, don't spoil me.

As for what would I like to see on the shelves, but would probably never write myself? How about a smash up of Pennywise (from Stephen King's IT) takes on Bob (from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files books)? Psycho clown freak bested by talking skull. See? NYT Bestseller written all over it. ;^)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kindle loves Kelley

I’ll try to keep this short, but it’s hard for me. I love reading books, and I love talking about the books I’ve read. I see Annie beat me to the punch with Erica Hayes, who blew my mind several weeks ago. I can’t say enough good things about her books. They amazed me.

They’re darker than some tastes run, but so vibrant and lush and just—sort of perfect.
Okay, enough gushing about Erica (for now). I did that enough here, here, and here.

Next up on my new-to-me author list is Kelley Armstrong. I picked up her book, Bitten, and it floored me. It wasn’t a new take on werewolves or a “high concept” idea, but it was solid writing, a fresh perspective, unique plot twists, and believable wolf behavior. I loved it.

It’s one of the few books I’ve re-read just to hold onto that sense of awe I find so rarely when an author has impressed me. I read (by accident) a later book in the series, and I’ve decided Jeremy should be mine. Seriously, he is like no alpha you’ve ever read about, and he’s just hot.

Since I found Kelley in 2010, I plan to spend 2011 picking my way through her backlist.
So, I give you Bitten…a book with a permanent place on my Kindle.

Elena Michaels is the world’s only female werewolf. And she’s tired of it. Tired of a life spent hiding and protecting, a life where her most important job is hunting down rogue werewolves. Tired of a world that not only accepts the worst in her–her temper, her violence–but requires it. Worst of all, she realizes she’s growing content with that life, with being that person.

So she left the Pack and returned to Toronto where she’s trying to live as a human. When the Pack leader calls asking for her help fighting a sudden uprising, she only agrees because she owes him. Once this is over, she’ll be squared with the Pack and free to live life as a human. Which is what she wants. Really.

You can check out the author's website for more information.

Hmm. As far as what I would like to see on there any chance that Jim Butcher and J.R. Ward could have a love child who writes PNR/UF?

I’d also like to add a general “Hi there” for the folks who don’t know me. This is my first post on this side of the Paranormal Romantics blog, and I’m excited to be here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Burning up my Kindle

I just finished reading Everlong by Hailey Edwards. Its a wonderful book and unlike anything I've ever read. Buy it here

Here is a blurb:

The most damaged heart can fly with the right pair of wings.

Madelyn’s life is far from fairytale perfect. She is second in line for the throne of a corrupt, brutal monarchy. Or at least she was until her dark guardian sacrificed his life to hide her safely in a realm of infinite possibilities.

For years she’s lived among a colony of escaped slaves as her guardian’s widow. Even in this simple life, though, nothing is as it seems. Her hero kept a secret—a younger brother named Clayton Delaney. Warrior, winged demon…and the man who now wants to lay claim to her heart.

No longer cast in his brother’s shadow, Clayton meets all obstacles head on, including one named Maddie. His infatuation with her reaches the breaking point when she undergoes a royal rite of passage, going into heat and pushing them both over the edge.

Just as Maddie learns that some risks are worth taking, she discovers that her guardian may be alive. And she’s forced to make a choice between the man she’d thought she loved, and the demon willing to lend her his wings.

Product Warnings

This book contains virginal angst, a hero who’s too nice for his own good, wings, claws, and convenient use of glamour. It contains heartbreaking loss, conversation with a woodland creature, and sweet, sweet demon loving.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's On My Nook

This week I'm reading a new to me author Erica Hayes. The book came as a recommendation and it's how I pick most of my new authors. My friends know what I like and how picky I am, so I usually take their suggestion seriously. I'm enjoying this story. First, because it's based in a location I've never been to, Melbourne, and the writer gives the city such flavor that I almost feel like I've been there. Second, it's a love story between a succubus and an incubus, enough said. Third, Erica really made an effort in her world building. Fourth, I haven't found a crack in her story or plot and those who had me CP for them know how much of stickler I am to detail. I'm Annie Nicholas and I recommend this read.

What I'd love to see in the book stores? Ever since Sandra Sookoo started her journey on writing some paranormal historicals, the wheels in my head have been turning. I haven't read many historicals (I've read one) but if they threw in a vampire or shifter I'd definitely be more into the story. Why not vampires in ancient Eygpt or Aztec? Shifters during the Black Plague? Mermaids in Atlantis? I'd love to write some of these stories BUT I hate research and I know historicals take a lot of knowledge.  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's on my bookshelf...

This week’s topic here at Paranormal Romantics is, what are we reading and what story lines would we love to find on the shelf but won't write?
Right now, I’m reading Eternal Kiss of Darkness, by Jeaniene Frost. I am a huge fan of hers and have yet to read a story where I’m not glued to the page. I have read her Nighthuntress series a few times over, so when she began writing the spin-off novels, I was so excited I squealed.
What can I say? I love Bones. He’s my favourite hero. The sexy vampire has stolen my heart and never given it back. Not that I mind―he can have it forever! I’m only a couple pages into this new story and I’m already captivated. I have a feeling Mencheres might give Bones a run for his money.
As for stories I would love to see on the shelves...hmm, tough question! Just recently, Sara Brookes introduced me to sci-fi, which I never thought I’d read. And truthfully I really enjoyed it. So, I think for me, I’d love to see a heroine like we do in the Nighthuntress novels kick some serious alien ass! That might be a lot of fun. But I wouldn’t dare try and write it. Sci-fi just isn’t my thing and it’d end up having vampires in it.
Goodreads -
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

These are a few of my favorite scenes...

The theme for this week is scenes. What we like to write, and what doesn't flip our switches.

For me it's the action and world-building that flip my switch. The more creative I can be, the better I like it.

I love action, shoot-outs and explosions. I absolutely adore chase scenes and fist fights. In every one of my novels you will have one or more of these scenes. The wilder--the better.

In Slipping the Past, I have a fight scene on top of a skyscraper between two reapers, resulting in a free fall from 150 stories for two of the characters.

In Last Flight of the Ark, Kaleb is attacked by one of his passengers, bitten and mutated, bringing about the beginning of the end for an enemy bent on harvesting his crew for food.

In Blown Away, MacKay and Boomer face off with seawasps and a bomb in a G-class freighter's holding tank. In the second novella in the same book, Happy Trails, There's a HALO (high altitude, low observation) jump from the stratosphere that kicks off a chase scene on an alien world where the pair barely escape drowning in rapids.

Now, what do I like writing the least...

Sex. Yeah, I know, it kind of goes hand-in-hand with erotic romance, but it's hard to keep it fresh and not have the same old throbbing encounters. There are only so many words an author can use for Mr. Willy. Seriously...


I refuse to resort to purple prose. No purple-helmeted, love warriors here.

*Looks behind her to find nosey husband sneaking a peek.* Mention penis and men appear. I swear it's like one of those silent dog whistles. They just know you're writing sex and it lures them like a siren's song.
I digress. Where was I?
Yeah--love scenes.

*Sighs louder* You can go away now, man of mine. I'm not writing anything pornographic. I promise.

When I first started writing erotic romance, I used to want to run and hide under the bed when I handed it over to the Betas to read. I've since gotten over that, but it's still not easy. Erotic romance requires a certain amount of finesse in the love scenes and when they go wrong, they can go horribly wrong.

Thankfully I haven't had any of those horribly wrong moments yet.

Well, that about does it. What I like writing and what I don't like writing so much.

Thanks for coming by,


Friday, January 14, 2011

Did you feel that?

This week we’re talking about scenes we like to write, dislike, and the hardest we've ever written, and why? I’m going to talk about Love.

I’ve been in love. Or have I? I thought I was--a few times. Is there a difference between thinking you’re in love, and being in love? Damn, maybe I’ve only been in love in my mind! What is the real indicator that you are in love? What defines it? A touch, a smell, a word, or a look? See where I’m going with this.

Writing about being in love is the most difficult part of writing for me!

I’ve written ménages, male/male, male/female...oh, one of those ménages started off as a female/female/male ménage. When I wrote that, no one wanted it--I still don’t know why. It was about love. Sometimes I wonder if I conveyed that well enough in the story.

When my men are together, do readers feel the love they have for their partner? Do they get the feeling I know what I’m talking about when I have my heroes or heroine fall in love? I’m not talking about physical love--that’s sex. *grin* (I like writing that!) I’m talking about the real feeling of, I-love-you-and-I-will-always-love-you-even-after-hell-freezes-over kind of I love you. I’m single, so it’s evident I haven’t felt this yet!

After all my years in this world, I can’t tell you what that kind of love is like, or what it feels like. I can tell you what I felt the first moment I thought I was in love, I can tell you what I thought at that moment. I can tell you the joy in my heart when I looked at that person. I can tell you how I glowed and got all mushy inside when that person touched me, looked at me, or complimented me.

But none of it matters, not if I can’t get that feeling, that thought, written, and written in a way everyone who reads it…

Feels like they’re in love.

…And you know I got pictures of couples who could be in love, well, it could be the other thing, you decide.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Ones That Make You Grrrrr

Scenes I dislike. Can't say that I dislike any scene in particular, but I do struggle a bit with emotional ones. I'm always afraid I'll go too over the top for readers and usually ending up falling a wee bit short.

Seems a little silly right? I mean, I can write kick-ass action sequences, car chases, destruction, murder, fights, scorching sex scenes involving all manner of light to heavy heat levels and the one tiny thing that brings me to my knees are those pesky emotions. A bit of a necessary thing in romance, tho. And I do love my romances.

Now don't get me wrong, my books have those emotional scenes. Now. They're rarely ever in my first drafts however because I'll skip them outright and add them in later during my re-writes/revisions/edits. I'd rather write a steamy, sweaty sex scene any day. LOL

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Scene I Love to Hate

This week’s theme is scenes in writing we really don’t like to tackle.

Annie’s was transitions. Rebecca’s was sex scenes. Both valid points. I don’t have issues with either of those, though. I love writing love scenes. They're different for each book depending on the characters and mood of the story. Transition scenes are more difficult but necessary and I do like them too :-) The type of scene I don’t like to write are the ownership scenes that come directly after a love scene.

Yeah, those. They're kinda sorta like a transition scene but with more at stake.

When I write a sex scene, it takes a lot of energy out of me. When it comes to writing that “afterglow” moment, I just want to gloss over it. I don’t care for them, because I hate to read the mushy, mushy scenes so many romance writers do. Sometimes, when two people have sex, the change in their relationship isn’t immediate and in no way do the players have a change of heart ASAP.

Yes, characters can have that “aha” moment when they know things will be different, but a writer needs to understand it’s a process and the characters need to progress naturally into the “I think I love you” stage.

That makes it tricky. A writer can make or break a book in these scenes.

Give me a fight scene, a sex scene, an action sequence any day, as long as I can avoid the “aftermath”. Sure, they’re a necessary part of the book, but they make me shiver. But, because writing is a job and a writer's responsibility is to learn every aspect of the craft, I buckle down and write them. Will I ever make peace with them? Probably. Will I love doing them? Probably not.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Hardest Part

Well, gosh darn it. Yesterday Annie Nicholas wrote a whole blog post about what I was going to write about--The Transition Scenes. The dreaded, difficult, hard to write transition scenes. But, well, okay. Since Annie did such a good job writing about how HARD they are to write (and I am trying to write one right one and it is HARD) I guess I will write about what used to be the hardest part for me--


Let me be clear--these days I do not have a problem writing love scenes. The love scene and I have come to terms with one another. I understand them and they understand me. But when I first started writing and I had the good luck to meet Annie Nicholas, J. Hali Steele, and Sandra Sookoo in a critique group, I had a really hard time writing love scenes.

Why you might ask, Rebecca, why on earth would you choose to write Romance Novels if you have a hard time writing love scenes? The answer: I just love Romance Novels. I love them. Love them. Love them.

So, I wrote a love scene. Maybe you've read it in Love Beyond Time. It was the first one I've ever done. And then I wrote another. And another. And another. And then eventually I wrote a true erotic book in Behind The Scenes and I realized I could write them because it had nothing to do with my own shyness or my own nerves about what members of my family would think when they read them and everything to do with my characters and their romantic moments together.

I think, today, that I can write a pretty decent love scene.

So I am hopeful that the same thing will happen with
the current hard part--the TRANSITION SCENES. But, fortunately, for me I have really good editors who help me with them.

And just because I have to mention this, I need to tell you that my book Alpha Wolf released yesterday. Has some pretty good love scenes.

So thank you Sandra Sookoo, Annie Nicholas, and J. Hali Steele for reading those early ones. I've got some transitions for you to check out.


Monday, January 10, 2011

I Hate the Stuff in Between

Learning to write is a journey. Even after being published the evolution continues but every writer has their likes and dislikes when it comes to creating stories.

One of my favorite kinds of scenes to write is THE BLACK MOMENT.  The main character has struggled through every conflict I’ve thrown at them. Battled for love and life to obtain their happily ever after, then it happens, they hit rock bottom where “The only way to go is up.” I never start a story without mapping the black moment. Delving into a deep point of view so I can do my best to draw the reader on this path.
My feet were running for the mansion before my brain registered what was going on. The door slammed open as I hurled myself against it then ran toward the stairs. Taking the steps two at a time, I raced to our bedroom. Tears burned behind my eyelids and a hard lump constricted my throat, which made it hard to breathe.

Please, please, please...

I turned the doorknob and entered. The empty, unmade bed greeted my arrival. No...please. No. A sob heaved my chest and the tears streamed down my cheeks. They took him too. My lover, my friend, my heart--and Tane’s biggest weakness. I crossed the room and moved the blankets as if he hid under them.

Just when I thought I hit rock bottom, someone handed me a shovel.

from Catch

But with the good comes the bad. I struggle so much with THE STUFF BETWEEN or the transitional scene as some call it. The easy going parts between intense moments where the reader gets to know the character and gets a breather.  It’s a struggle to write about them having lunch and passing the sugar as they talk about significant things yet there are no ninjas falling from the sky.
The hardest scene I’ve written was just as above, having dinner. My two female character needed to have a ‘chat’. One of those read-between-the-lines kind of conversations that women can do so well with veiled animosity. This chapter took me F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to get it right because I wanted you to love Gwen as well as Connie.
Small snippet:
Master Tane is very generous.” Gwen eyed me from across the table. “You need to get use to addressing him by that title.”

I snorted then bit into my supper.

She set her half-eaten pastry on the plate. “I don’t understand. You are aware of the bond you share with him?”

“Vividly.” I sipped the coffee and closed my eyes to savor the flavor. “I don’t see a collar and tag around my neck, so I’m nobody’s bitch.”

“You don’t like him.”

“No shit.” I hated him. He wrecked everything. I opened my eyes and finished off my defenseless meal.

“Why did you agree to the bond?”

I choked on a mouthful of salad. My cheeks burned with embarrassment as little bits flew from my mouth and landed between us on the table. “I-I...” Grabbing the cup of coffee, I washed down the rest of my bite. “I never agreed to anything. He forced it on me.” The cup rattled as I slammed it down.

She sipped her drink and watched me. “I find that hard to believe. Some of Dragos’ cronies maybe, but not my Master. He allowed Rurik to keep you since he is so fond of him. It’s a mark of favor.”

My meal sunk like a lead anchor. Tane had that effect on me. He twisted the truth and made himself look a martyr. “I don’t see much of a difference between Dragos and Tane. One crazy Nosferatu took the place of another.”

from Catch as well

What types of scenes do like reading?

Some lucky follower will be winning a book from my backlist this week! So comment, comment, comment…

Sunday, January 9, 2011

World-building causes a migraine or two!

This week’s theme question is what scenes we like to write, dislike, and the hardest we've ever written and why?
The answer to that is world-building. It is by far the most difficult scenes for me to write and usually cause a headache when I’m done with them. But it’s not even the beginning stages that I find hard. The hardest scene I’ve ever written is in my upcoming release First and Last, the final Magical Sword book.
Without getting into stuff that will spoil it, I go into how the Otherworld and Underworld were created in this book to finish off Nexi’s journeys. Let me just tell you it was exhausting. That one chapter took me over three days to write while I weaved all the history into the story.
But the end result was one seriously fantastic back-story. I couldn’t have been happier with how it all turned out, so the sweat over it was worth it. Like I said, they are tough for me and I usually do not enjoy any minute of it. Creating worlds, history from nothing more than your imagination is a very tough thing to do.
I suppose, only time will tell if my effort, curse words at the computer, hours spent thinking it over, were worth it. With the release coming soon...I can’t deny I’m excited to see what the reaction will be to this story.
Congrats to Kristabel Reed for being the winner of last week's giveaway! Keep your comments coming to be entered to win!

Saturday, January 8, 2011



I have goals. Goals I set when I start a project. As I go I check to see how I'm doing, adjust my course and keep going. I have goals for everything. Work, physical health, my art...writing.
Since this is a writing blog, I'll talk about that.

My writing goals look something like this.
Get published--check.
Get a novel published--check.
Get a novel published in print--check.
Get an agent--working on that one.
Get into a large publishing house like St. Martins or Penguin Press.
The ultimate goal--get on a bestseller's list.

Though lofty, they give me focus, help me to keep my eyes on the ultimate prize. I recently realized I've passed my halfway mark and I'm still in shock. Four years ago I wouldn't have believed I could get a novel published, much less the three novels and five short stories I have published today. I plan to continue with two of my series. Slipping the Past and Blown Away. For these two series, I have three novels going at the moment that are 3/4 way finished.

I believe in babysteps. Four years ago I started from the other end of my list, sending out query letters to agents with a story that wasn't ready, bombing time after time. Discouraged, I almost gave up. But a chat with a friend convinced me to change tactics and start small. I wasn't ready and I'd tried to bypass some of the important stuff in my impatience. I've learned to slow down and take baby steps. Thank God for friends who aren't afraid to give you a kick in the ass when you need it. I'll aways be thankful for mine.

2011 brings challenges, the biggest for me will be the next step. The story I plan to send out is almost done. I've been writing it for four years, coddling it, tweaking and playing with it. Though not the same story I tried to sell before (I've hidden that one under the bed), it's one I started the day I changed my tactics. So as I get ready to take my next step, I smile. Maybe this year will be my year, maybe not, but at least I'm moving forward and that alone gives me reason to celebrate.

Here's wishing everyone the best for the new year. May we all achieve our goals and heart's desires.

D L Jackson

Friday, January 7, 2011

Resolution...spell that!

It's wrong,! It has to be wrong. Right? How can the New Year start in winter. Who set this calendar up anyway? And why, oh why, do I have to follow it? Ah hah--I don't!! *grin*

I'm not one for resolutions at any time of year, and I don't do well with setting goals. Things I'd resolved to do, goals I had set, almost always changed. Life gets in the way of both. Resolutions, I can't think of a single one I made--and kept. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. For me the bad thing was making it, and breaking it. That made me feel bad, so I stopped making resolutions. And that's that.

I celebrate the beginning of a new year when trees bloom, when tulips pop up in my yard, and when birds sing a new song. For me the year begins when Spring arrives. I don't resolve to work in my garden, I don't plan to plant a new flower, I don't have to--it happens. It happens because I simply love springtime!!

Everyone has a time that they feel new, refreshed, and alive. Use that time to grow and flourish, resolve only to use that time to do what you want to do!

And in finishing, I found some pics of plants, after all--it's Friday! *grin*

Photos courtesy of Bentboy's Place

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