Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things You Can and Can't Say to Friends with Kids

I went to lunch with a friend of mine and we were talking about our lives. We hadn't seen each other in six months or so, even though we email here and there. So were chatting about what's been happening--her and her dog, me and my know, the normal stuff.

As we're chatting I realized something. There are some things you can say in front of some people and other things you probably shouldn't say in front of others. I don't mean the real no-no's or being mean. I'm referring to the moments when the person you're talking to has no vested interest in what you're chatting about (ie kids) or they can't relate.

My friend falls into the second category. She doesn't have kids and doesn't want any. She's got her pets and that's fine. She did the marriage thing and it wasn't for her. Swell.

Most of the people I hang out with have kids or spend a lot of time around kids so when the stories start getting passed around, we can all relate. This was one of those moments where there wasn't much relating going on.

I was talking about tot being in the camper and having to go to the restroom. Kids of a certain age feel the need to sing while in the potty. Mine included. I got to listen to a rousing rendition of the Star Wars theme. So I'm telling this story, because it was funny--tot on the pot, singing the Darth Vader song and getting rained on because he couldn't figure out how to close the vent above the restroom--and my friend was both horrified and embarrassed.

I realize that potty humor has it's place and time, but it was the most funny that the tot was being rained on. Her not having kids, she didn't see any humor in what I'd said. She wanted me to shut up. Of course, me being thick, didn't get that right away and finished the story. Yeah, should've quit while I was ahead. I didn't.

But it made me realize, when you're around a certain group of people, you forget what you can and can't say. A group of Mommies would totally be able to relate to the tot on the pot story. Others might not. Thankfully for me and my friend, we both have dogs--hers is a TAD more rambunctious than mine are--and could chatter about the neurotic things they do. Although to be honest, her dog does some things that trump the kid story and no, I won't share because they are gross things.

Anyone else have this issue? Forgetting your target audience and saying something you'd rather take back? I can't be alone in this. Let me know!

Want to know a little more about my latest release? Here you go!

Destined by Megan Slayer 
Number in Series: 2 (Haven House Vampires)
BIN: 06314-02029
Word Count: 19K
Page Count: 63
Price: $4.49
Release Date: April 19, 2013
Editor: Katriena Knights
Cover Artist: Reneé George
Genres: Erotic Romance, Novella, Paranormal
Themes: Vampires

A voluptuous blonde and a creature of the night -- can their connection withstand the strain?

Julian Moran isn’t like anyone Daisy knows. Dark, mysterious, deadly, and sexy as hell. He claims he’s going to protect her, but what exactly is he saving her from?

Daisy Greene isn’t just any woman to Julian -- they are fated. Vampires and humans don’t mix, no matter what fate says. Good thing Julian makes up his own rules.


And a bit about Megan Slayer:
When she's not writing the stories in her head, Megan Slayer can be found luxuriating in her hot tub with her two vampire Cabana boys, Luke and Jeremy. She has the tendency to run a tad too far with her muse, so she has to hide in the head of her alter ego, but the boys don't seem to mind.

When she’s not obsessing over her whip collection, she can be found picking up her kidlet from school. She enjoys writing in all genres, but writing about men in love suits her fancy best. The cabana boys are willing to serve, unless she needs them. She always need them. So be nice to Javier or he will bite--on command.

She also masquerades under the name Wendi Zwaduk and is published through Changeling Press, Decadent Publishing , Liquid Silver Books, MLR Press, Resplendence Publishing, and Total-E-Bound Publishing.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Writing for a Publisher's Established Line - A Foot in the Door

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well.

It's been an exciting month for me, after releasing my first indie title, Alien Adoration, and working on edits for two more stories releasing soon from Decadent Publishing. One of the stories is Another Night, Another Planet, an erotic sci-fi romance that is part of both the 1Night Stand and Elatia lines at Decadent.

Now, I've written for several of the lines at Decadent, Elatia, 1Night Stand, The Edge, and The Challenge series. Why? For many reasons. My first story published was Celestial Seduction, a 1Night Stand story. The series had just started, and Rebecca Royce suggested I write a story for it as my foot in the door to being published. And it worked. The story not only increased my confidence in my writing, but exposed me to so many other opportunities, through my publisher, fellow authors, and more. As a newly published author, I also had a book in the same line as several well known authors who already had established readers. Because I had the same editors, readers could expect the same quality of story from me as the other authors.

With any line, there are established parameters that the author must follow in order for their story to qualify for submission. Usually, you can find that information on the publisher's submission page, or by contacting the editor(s) of the line.

For me, the Elatia line had the most guidelines, including a well-written world bible. Depending on the individual author, that can make writing the story easier or harder.

With my upcoming release, it is a hybrid of two lines, so I had to follow two sets of guidelines. And it was much easier than I expected, since I had already written for both of them, and knew them well. I hope you'll check out Another Night, Another Planet when it releases on June 14, 2013.

So, if you are an aspiring author, or looking to broaden your audience, consider writing for an established line at a publisher. Decadent Publishing has so many lines in multiple genres. Musa Publishing has several lines as well, including the Wiccan Haus, which I've heard a lot about lately, and Finally Ever After. There are several more publishers with established lines, too. If you know of any, please share them in the comments section.


Jessica Subject is the author of contemporary and science fiction romance, ranging from sweet to erotica. In her stories, you could meet clones, or a sexy alien or two. You may even be transported to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.

When Jessica isn't reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to get out and walk. Fast. But she just may slow down if there is a waterfall nearby.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at and on twitter @jsubject.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ending a Series...

I don't write a story intending it to be part of a trilogy or series. Most of my books come from stand alone ideas that then give birth to interesting characters that demand a book of their own.

Yep, I'm one of those weird authors whose characters rule their author - I simply write what they tell me to or the record images that consume my waking thoughts until I've put them on paper.

I'm finishing the third novel in one of my series and, I think, it's going to be the last one in this series. It's awesome to know it's finished. It's fantastic to know that I've created a set of  'real' characters, settings, and stories that have intrigued readers to follow through its entirety.

But it's also really horribly sad to say good-bye.

These are 'people' I've been 'living with' for the last few years. And we've been through some big-time serious stuff, let me tell you. I mean, everything came out okay in the end - which was a huge relief, let me tell you ;) since I was there for every step of their journey.

Again, I know logically that they aren't real people and their journeys are simply the words I put on paper - but... They were, are, and (I suspect) always will be so much more.

I know that I've felt this way when I've become particularly attached to a series I was reading as well. You almost dread reading the closing chapter because you know, when you've read that last page, it's over. You can read it again, and you probably will, but that shiny, new, amazing feeling is different now that you know how it all ends. Does it diminish you're loyalty and devotion to these characters? NO. But it does make those last, fulfilling pages of resolution in that final book harder to tear through?  :)

So, I want to know. What was the last series or book you didn't want to end? Did you read it or will you read the series or book again? What do you do when you're done reading an especially important book?

Friday, May 24, 2013

For Love of a Ghost Story

When I was a child, my brothers would love it when I'd read them ghost stories. We would set up a tent in the house or one of the bedrooms (clothesline and a sheet, nothing fancy). The dogs would curl up next to us and we'd sit around while I read stories. They begged me to read something scary. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a favorite. It's a great book full of short stories. :D 

I remember watching their faces as each story moved toward the end, loving the way their eyes widened and breathing changed. When the scare point happened, they nearly threw themselves out of tent. The dogs would get in an uproar, and I'd laugh until a grumpy adult came out to scold us for being so loud. LOL! I never told my brothers how reading the story to them made it seem less scary to me, but I loved it! 

That one book hooked me on the scare, the wonder of something else being out there. 

Horror movies, ghost stories (tragic, romantic, or scary), RL Stine, Christopher Pike, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc. fed my growing obsession. Over time I'd read most of the ghost stories out there and drifted away for a while, hoping there would be a surge of them again. When I found Ghost Whisperer, my love of ghost stories reawakened. I picked up all the ghost stories I could, but was left disappointed. 

Available May 31st!
I was talking with Ditter Kellen about my frustration over it. I wanted to read a particular type of ghost story and it was nowhere to be found. She suggested I write it myself. Now, why didn't I think of that? We talked about it, talked it over, got really excited about it, and then decided to write it together. Our writing partnership was born on this one little ghost story. 

Ditter Kellen and I wanted to write a ghost story that would draw the person in, make them want to believe in the supernatural, and give them a sexy, incredible romance. I think we did that with Haunting Melody St. Claire. It was our first book together (though another one came out before it).

Haunting Melody St. Claire, coming May 31st.

Melody St. Claire doesn’t believe in ghosts. Until a fire destroys her whole world, forcing her into a beautiful haunted house and the territorial domain of one very real, incredibly mysterious resident spirit.

Sexy Travis Santiago haunts the walls of his family home. Resigned to being alone, he merely exists in a place between the living and the dead until the frustrating little brunette enters his life and his heart. He can give her what she needs, if she would just believe.

The passion he ignites threatens to consume her, heart and soul, but may not be enough to hold back the nightmares. And Melody can’t possibly hope to spend forever with a man who is already dead.

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Keep on down the road...

One of the best things about writing a series is letting the characters grow and expand, show the reader more of what makes them tick. While the first book is usually all about the action the second and continuing stories allow the author to show more of what the characters are all about, what makes them either so lovable or loathsome.

In "Blood of the Pride" I introduced you to Rebecca Desjardin, a cat shifter who can't shift—outcast and shunned by her family until they need her help. With a foot in both the Felis and human worlds she helped find a rogue male and at the same time found love in a curious journalist named Brandon Hanover who not only figures out what she is but loves her for it.

"Claws Bared", book two, was released this past January and sent Reb down to a small town in Pennsylvania to help figure out who killed a popular male stripper. During that adventure she and Brandon figured out where they were going with their relationship and moved to the next level.

Now with "Family Pride", releasing June 3rd from Carina Press, the intrepid cat shifter finds herself in dangerous new territory—dealing with Brandon's family. It's one thing to meet the parents and find them wanting someone better for their son, another to be forced into working for them in order to save your own.

Here's a short excerpt from "Family Pride"!


"My parents want to meet you."

I dropped the thick ceramic mug in the sink. It bounced once before landing in the inch-deep soapy water. The clanging sound bounced around my skull, settling behind my left eye and throbbing.

"Your parents are dead." I turned and leaned against the counter. "Are we attending a séance?"

Bran bit his lower lip. He hadn't bothered to put a shirt on, choosing to pad around my house barefoot in a pair of jeans that fit perfectly in all the right places. We'd finally dragged ourselves out of bed for lunch, ordering in pizza because we had run out of groceries.

His dark eyes met mine, apologetic and pleading.

"They're not, ah, dead. They're sort of alive."

I picked up the mug and contemplated how much strength it would take to smash it. "Your parents are zombies?"

"My parents are alive and well and very much human."

I weighed the mug in my palm, letting him watch my fingers curl around the cool clay. "You lied to me. Four months ago you lied to my face."

"Maybe." Bran put out his hand, pointing at the mug. "Please put that down."

I glared at him.

"Okay, I lied. A bit." His hand didn't move, still outstretched toward the mug. "I told you my parents were dead but that was right after we'd met and we were on opposite sides of the case." Bran smiled. "And I didn't know how good we could be together."

I didn't blink.

"Cut me a break, Reb. You've got your own family secrets." He shifted to one side with a grin, showing off his newest scratches on one shoulder. "And I can make you purr."

Damned redhead had a point. We'd both kept things from each other back then. I hadn't exactly been forthcoming about the fact that I wasn't human, but when Bran had come face-to-face with my Felis heritage I hadn't lied and denied.

I still didn't have to like it. "Who are they and why did you lie?"

He didn't move. My gaze traveled over his bare chest, resting on the fresh scars across his midsection courtesy of our latest work trip to Penscotta, Pennsylvania. He'd fought another Felis for his life and, in his own way, for me.

The least I could do was hear him out before throwing the mother of all temper tantrums.

"My father is Michael Hanover." Bran paused. "Of Hanover Investments."

I nearly dropped the mug.

"Hanover Investments. As in, they make more money in ten minutes than I'll ever see in my lifetime?" I croaked. I'd flipped through a few business articles over the past few years when I was supposed to be reading a paper and instead using it for surveillance. The business section guarantees you won't be distracted by the articles.

"Yeah. Them." He sounded almost apologetic. "It's a family business. Three generations."

"You're related to those Hanovers?"

"Michael and Bernadette Hanover are my parents." He reached out and took the mug from my numb fingers. "The reason I lied was because it'd become an instinctive reaction to explain away my wealth. Easier to say trust fund than explain my dysfunctional relationship with my parents." He shook his head, a sad smile on his lips. "You'd be surprised how many gold diggers are out there looking to snag a rich man. Or his son."

I tried to get my breathing under control. "Those Hanovers."

"We'd just met," Bran repeated. He placed the mug out of my reach and returned to stand in front of me, both hands up. "And I used the same line I use with everyone to explain my wealth. It was automatic."


While I don't think many of us lied to our prospective mates about our family being dead, I think we can all relate to Reb's shell shock at finding out who the Hanovers are—and when she finds out how dangerous they are it'll force her to make decisions that will change her life and her relationship with both families and Brandon forever.

I hope you'll come along for the latest book in the series and get to know Brandon and Rebecca better—after all, there's still plenty of mysteries for them to find and solve!

On another note I'll be appearing from June 12th to the 16th at the Origins Game Fair as part of the Library track – if you're in the Columbus, Ohio area and looking for a great way to spend a day or five, please check out the schedule! I'll be there discussing superheroes and romance writing along with many great authors such as Timothy Zahn and Michael Stackpole and there'll be plenty of great books for sale along with some faboo gaming opportunities.

If you're in the area it'd be great to see you!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paranormal or Super Normal?

I love superheroes. I didn't realize how much until I caught a superhero movie marathon one afternoon. Superman, Batman, Iron man, The Incredibles--all the goodies. All I could think about was how fun it would be to have those powers. But like any really great thing, there's usually a down side. Making a phenomenal situation human and relatable, I think is the appeal of the superhero world. One spider bite. One surgery gone astray and bam, super powers.

Which way does your superhero love roll? Natural powers? Medically enhanced? Radioactivity?

Get in on the love with Super Love

Reuniting to save the world.

Dinah just wanted to save the world. That didn't pan out, so she turned to social work, only to find herself miserable. When she's given the option of returning to the Justice Fraternity and her life as Dinah-Go, super fast superhero, she hesitates because going back means working side by side with her former lover Myles Steele, aka Man of Wonder.

To save their city from gargoyles, Man of Wonder needs Dinah-Go back in fighting shape. But Myles wants more than just his fighting partner at his side, he wants the lover and friend he lost two years earlier. Getting her will take more than even his super strength.


Bonus: Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card, swag bags or ebooks of Super Love

SUPER BONUS: Check out contest details here. Wear your superhero love in your hair!!

SUPER DUPER BONUS: FREE ezine-Obscure Superhero Quarterly. Get the scoop on the lives of superheroes!

All the best,
Stephanie Beck

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blog Hoppity, Contesty Goodness!

Hey, all!

Last month, between The Twisted World : Divine Decadence, my serials Blank and Blue Bloods, and school, I wound up missing the 21st. Mea culpa. Sadly, this month hasn't been much better; I've got all kinds of news, but it's left me no time to report on all of it.

To make up for it, this month I've got a whole blog hop full of contests for you guys. It starts tomorrow, on the 22nd, to promote The Ministry Initiative kickstarter. Go here, follow the directions, win some stuff!

See you next month!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

NEW RELEASE! An Arizona Dreamin’/Buildin’ the Dream Author Collection: MIXED GENRE BOXED SET! ~ Deena Remiel

Once a year, romance authors from around Arizona come together for the successful and exciting Arizona Dreamin’ – A Romance Reader Event! It doesn’t matter what type of romance you’re addicted to, readers are able to meet with their favorite authors, meet new ones, and satisfy their cravings for all things SWOON!
This year, creators of the raved-about event are upping the ante, releasing a box set full of all those things that leave readers breathless – hot kisses, incredible story lines, sexual tension, and characters we can’t help but fall in love with. 

Presenting …

The Wrong Guy

Released: May 14th, 2013

Price: 99c!

The Wrong Guy – 6 Full-Length Novels from 6 Best-Selling Authors
468,387 words
1503 pages
BROKEN PROMISES – Belinda Boring
What would you do if the man you loved became one of your greatest enemies? Would your love be enough to save him? All Bri wanted to do was spend her Friday night with the man she loved and adored. Little did she know leaving her home would result in her relationship with Quinn being tested beyond its limits. 
KIERA’S MOON – Lizzy Ford
Starving artist Kiera always knew there was someone out there for her somewhere. But an exiled alien prince? Really? Together, they have the potential to heal an entire planet, if they can find a way to bridge the differences between them first.
ACCIDENTAL SEAL – Sharon Hamilton
What starts out as a meeting by accident becomes a hot affair neither one is ready
for. Navy SEAL Kyle Lansdowne is conflicted about getting Realtor Christy Nelson involved in his mission, but his hand is forced when he learns the same San Diego gang responsible for his teammate’s abduction has kidnapped her.
LUCKY 13 – Morgan Kearns
A painful past with one very prominent reminder molded Shayne Xavier into the woman she is. She isn’t bitter or jaded, though. She’s a realist. Men can’t be depended upon and only lead to shattered hearts.       Rockets Outfielder, Enrique Santiago wants nothing more than to prove Shayne wrong, but sometimes Happily-Ever-After is too good to be true. 
BOOK WAITRESS – Deena Remiel
Camille Dutton learned early in life Satan was not to be trifled with. Escaping his evil clutches as a child, she’s worried he’s come back with a vengeance for her now. The portal between Hell and Earth is torn asunder, and it’ll take everything she has, and then some, to close it. Satan won’t go down easy, but nothing worth everything comes without a price.

1819, The Missouri Territory
A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.
You can get your own copy for just 99c!! 

Click below to enter our incredible 

 Rafflecopter giveaway !!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What’s in a Name? Guest Blog by Shawna Reppert


            As a writer, I often find myself struggling with character names.  When you think about it, a name is important— it’s how a reader talks about a character, how they relate to a character.  Sometimes the name pops into my head along with the character— a rare gift.  More often, I’m scrambling through odd sources trying to come up with something that fits.

            The protagonist of my short story “The Beast Within” (Gears and Levers 2) owes his first name to an my favorite actor and his last name to one of the dances in the Irish dance class I came home from just before starting the story.  (For the curious, the dance is called “The Humors of Bandon”.)  For my novel, I borrowed James Dupree’s first name from a minor character in a completely unrelated movie and the last name from a Grateful Dead song that has even less to do with the character, the world, and the plot than the movie did.  But when I put them together, they just sounded right.  Having a character with an Anglo-Saxon-origin first name and a French-sounding last name, the remainder of my human characters fell in line with a fairly British-sounding mix of English and French-derived names.

            Even in an original world, the names need to feel like they belong together.  They need to make sense, at least on a subconscious level.  I tend to avoid completely made-up names.  They are hard to ‘pronounce’ in the reader’s head and so tend to be jarring.  (This is a general guideline, of course.  Rules are made to be broken.)

            I honestly can’t remember where I came up with the name Loren for the other principle character in The Stolen Luck.  But once I was there, I knew I wanted to have the other elves to have names with a similar feel.  I looked up Loren in The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook (a great resource for name-challenged writers) and discovered it meant Laurel.  I decided to go with a botanical theme to emphasize the elves’ connection with nature.  One of his cousins became Sil (of the forest) and two others became Ashe and Thorne (The latter two popped in my head from a line in a song about oak, ash and thorn.  You may be noticing a trend here.) Loren’s father became Varen, and admittedly made-up name but one that echoes Vernon (flourishing) and Verne (youthful, for the elves’ eternal youth.)  And yes, that violates my self-imposed guideline against made-up names, but it sounded more pleasant to the ear than either of the source-names, was still easy to pronounce and had a ‘family sound’ when compared to Loren.

            Sometimes I chose a name by meaning.  The father of the protagonist in my urban fantasy is Bredon Ravenscroft, ‘Bredon’ meaning ‘sword’.  Though we only meet the man as backstory, he is every bit as dark and dangerous as the name implies.

            Other times I go by sound.  From the same urban fantasy, the character Zack is as bold and brassy as his name sounds.

            Sometimes the name is integral to the character.  In my current work in progress, a werewolf/steampunk/Victorian detective novel, Royston Jones’s name refelcts the backstory of his birth, his upbringing, and the challenges he faces in his life (hint:  Jones is his mother’s surname and his first name had been his father’s family name.)  In my contemporary fantasy short story  The Sword and the Kestrel (a Writers of the Future Honorable Mention winner available on Amazon as a stand-alone) the protagonist’s name represents his story conflict— Guy Gisbourne, named for a distant ancestor (yes, that Guy Gisbourne)confronts a curse brought down on him by the actions of his namesake.  Even the pseudonym he uses in his work at a Renn Faire (Rob Hunter) has a significance hinted at but not fully realized until the end of the tale.

            So what’s in a name? Nothing and everything.  Sometimes the rose by another name might not smell so sweet, at least not in the reader’s imagination.


The Stolen Luck:

How far will a good man go to save his home and loved ones?

Lord James Dupree must recover his family's stolen Luck, the elven talisman that has protected the Dupree lands for generations. Without the talisman, the Dupree vineyards are failing and creditors are closing in. The Luck is his only hope of saving his home and his family from poverty and ruin.

Despite his abhorrence of slavery, James wins an elven slave in a game of cards. The slave, Loren, provides the only chance to enter the Lands Between and recover the stolen Luck. Despite James's assurances and best intentions, Loren does not trust his new master and James finds it all too easy to slip into the role of slave master when Loren defies him.

As the two work together through hardship and danger, James finds himself falling in love with Loren. And when a hidden enemy moves against them, he must choose between his responsibility to his family and his own soul.

Or directly from the publisher:


Keep in touch with the author:

Twitter: @ShawnaReppert


Friday, May 10, 2013

Cover Reveal

WOOT! Isn't it gorgeous?

This is the cover for PRIVATE RELEASE which is the sequel to MOUNTED RELEASE. My second bear book!

This took me forever to write because of two things. One, it refused to stay novella length and turned itself into a short novel and TWO because every time last year I'd pick it up my editor from Harlequin would contact me about revisions.

Once every thing on the Harlequin front was a go I worked my butt off to get Private Release done before my next deadline.

My Ellora's Cave editor's response was so cute, it made me LOL when I sent it to her. All she said was "YAY!"


Usually she says things like "Thanks got it." I adored her YAY because that's how I felt the moment I hit send on this book. HUGE RELIEF.

It's coming out June 7, 2013.

Here's the blurb:

Jared Stevens hasn’t been the same since he was shot. His duty is to marry a
Mukswa woman and be a strong leader. He lets the elders of his clan choose his bride,
because the woman he wants is only in his fantasies, the only woman who brings him to
exquisite release.

Adele Banks loved being a Mountie, but one shot ended her career and altered
her world forever. Adele is determined to make a life for herself. She’s hired to recover
Beare Enterprises embezzled funds, but what she didn’t count on is being extremely
attracted to her client when meeting him for the first time as he’s naked in his shower.

Adele is Jared’s mystery woman, but she’s taboo. He bonds to her, but has to keep
his society secret, as much as he wants to mark her as his own.

As Jared fights his own inner beast, remnants of the prior chief’s wrath is affecting
the clan and Adele. To save Adele’s life, Jared may just have to betray his clan’s secret
and risk his heart.

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Shake, Rattle, & Writing or Why I Hate Snakes and Earthquakes

I am not a fan of earthquakes. I lived in California for a while and I remember two quakes when I was a child and another when I was an adult. The first quake I can remember hit when I was about five years old. All the dishes in the kitchen began to rattle and glasses fell off the counter. My grandmother told me to get under a table and I did and more stuff fell off the wall.

It was the most terrifying--and longest sixty seconds of my life. The second quake happened a few months later and I took shelter in a doorway--no where near as much broken stuff, but I remember the stomach sinking sensation and the pounding of my heart. We moved away from the area the year I turned seven and I never looked back again until I was in my twenties.

Oddly enough, my second greatest terror occurred later the same year when I was out riding a bike in my neighborhood and a couple of the local bullies thought it would be funny to throw a rubber snake at me. I had lived in the area long enough to have learned that some of the snakes were poisonous--but more than that, they creeped me out. I will never forget the image of that snake flying at my face. I had no idea it was rubber, I came off the bike backwards, skinned both elbows, my leg and cut my head (no I wasn't wearing a helmet, we didn't even have bike helmets).

Fear is a Powerful Motivator

The bullies laughed and laughed and laughed at my predicament and my bike was broken at the same time. Infuriated, I beat one of them up. Yeah, I know, we're not supposed to admit that, but I was a mean little kid when I got scared. It was only my second fight ever (the first happened when I was six and one of the mean boys who lived on the other side of the alley from my house was throwing a kitten up in the air and trying to catch it--he kept dropping it and the cat cried piteously--I blacked his eye and bloodied his nose and took the cat home. Tiddles was my buddy for the next ten years) but that's neither here nor there.

The snake incident stuck with me forever, I could never not react to seeing a snake again. I'd break out in a cold sweat, my heart would hammer and I'd flee. Yep, a full fledged phobia. I've only ever managed to handle being anywhere near a snake again when my kid was around--but even then I'm ready to run like hell if it makes one false move. Let's just say that if I'd been Dudley in the first Harry Potter book, I'd never have bothered Harry again--I'd have died of fear on the spot.

Flash forward a few years and I lived in California again for a few months in my early twenties and my third quake happened while I bunked at a friend's apartment in a high rise.

The effing building swayed.


And I had the exact same reaction to the land shaking that I had to snakes--utter terror.

Confronting Fears

I don't believe in letting fear control me, no matter how motivating, so I put both in the book Plan Witch From Out of Town.  There is a scene in the book where a snake slithers onto Chance that creeped me out while I wrote it and every gut churning, heart pounding, mind numbing earthquake that happened--I reacted to those viscerally. My heart would race, I'd start to sweat and I could feel the bile rising in my throat.

This book remains one of my favorites because I love Chance so much and because writing it presented an opportunity to confront some of my own fears. Has it helped me to put them out of my mind? Not at all--I still screamed like a girl when a snake slithered over my foot a few months ago and when the earth shakes...yeah, not my favorite things.

And for the record...yes, Virginia has earthquakes. I felt the earth tremble when I lived there and you'd be amazed by the number of seismic activities recorded there over the years. Sure it's not California, but the thing about an earthquake is where do you go to get away from one?

Yes, I am sweating just thinking about it!

Plan Witch from Out of Town is available now. It is book 2 of the Chance Monroe series.

All Romance eBooks | Amazon


Life should be getting back to normal…

Chance survived a serial killer returning from the grave and said yes to a date with her ex-lover Jack. But survivor’s guilt eats away at her and her world turns upside down when earthquakes begin to rattle the landscape and devastate the region she calls home.

Madness becomes her…

Terrified that she is the source of earthquakes devastating the land, she tries to shut down her connection to the Earth. But when enemies aware of how to shatter her bond to the earth kidnap her, Chance faces her most desperate hour,

When the earth shakes, the witch bleeds…

Staring into the face of madness, she must learn to trust her allies or risk losing everything—and everyone she loves.

Read an Excerpt

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Inspired By...

Every now and then, we sit down to sift through submissions calls. It’s not often that we actually submit to a particular call—we’re notoriously bad at producing stories on a timeline—but sometimes we’re inspired.

Like we were last month, when we saw a call for “new boss” stories. The obvious path would have been to look at contemporary story concepts, businessmen or blue collar heroes. And that's where we started too. But soon we got to talking about werewolves and pack leaders and regime change...

...and now we’re writing The Mercy Moon.

 We don’t expect to finish it in time for the submission call that inspired it (like we said above, we’re not so great at finishing things to a deadline) but when we do finish it, we plan to send it to the publisher who posted that call. We’re making an educated guess that they’ll still be interested in stories with that theme, even outside the call timeline.

About Us

Anah Crow and Dianne Fox write sci-fi, paranormal, and contemporary queer romance for Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and Amber Allure. They’ve been writing together for more than 10 years. You can find them on the web at and on Twitter at  @anahcrow and @diannefox.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sex and the Paranormal Girl

So I’ve noticed this trend in paranormal romance and urban fantasy where a woman’s magical power is tied to sexual arousal. I’m not sure if Laurell K. Hamilton was the first to do it, but she certainly does it on a grand scale. Jacqueline Carey also does it with Phedre in the Kushiel books, though the reason behind it for Phedre’s character is much more organic, with the circumstances in which she uses it dictated by the world in which she lives—and she uses it cleverly and to great advantage. As a pagan and sex-positive feminist, I’ve always believed the act of sex to be a very powerful and empowering thing, so the premise in these stories didn’t bother me.

Recently, however, I read yet another such story that started to make me uncomfortable, and it began to dawn on me that the magical power in many of these fictional worlds is coming not simply from the ecstatic energy the woman conjures during sexual arousal or the power of the act of sex itself—of joining with another person—but from the woman’s inability to resist an alpha male’s sexual advances. Being overpowered by one’s reaction to someone else’s sexuality doesn’t strike me as powerful. It can be hot; there’s no doubt about it. Who doesn’t have the fantasy of giving oneself over to sexual abandon on occasion? If you’ve read my books, you know I’m a fan of consensual power exchange and BDSM.

But I’d really like to see a heroine having power that doesn’t come from what a man can give her, and sexual power that doesn’t feel like surrendering to someone else’s control over her body. We have enough men trying to control our bodies, quite frankly. Every day, it seems, I read another story in the news about women’s bodies being used as political football, and about men who think they have the right to a woman’s body based on the sexual signals they perceive her giving out with her dress or her drinking or where she chooses to go alone.

How about the next trend for paranormal romance and urban fantasy being heroines whose power comes neither from helpless sexual arousal nor from the phallic substitute of a Really Big Gun, but from resisting the forces in the world around her that seek to control and define what a woman is?

A woman with real power can still have hot, mind-numbing sex with an insanely gorgeous shifter. Or however many she wants. ;)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Computer Woes

Please forgive the short post today or lack of picture. Blogger is being difficult this morning.
My computer is not doing well, and getting online is next to impossible. Using simple programs like Word is not easy.

Technology. It’s great. There is so much we rely on it for. All our financial institutions run on it. Grocery stores registers use it. Our power, our vehicles and societies run on it. We harvest crops, get paid, and use it to preserve food and cook it.
In fact, it would be hard to survive without it these days. What if your life depended on technology? What if life or death hung in the balance? What if this planet went back to the dark ages?
This is the plot of a futuristic novel I’m working on, where the population of Earth can no longer sustain itself. Food becomes scarce and starvation is normal.

Would you survive the technological crash? How much of your life depends on technology?
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Really Huge SMALL!

Really large, big, huge mistake!!

But first, it’s May 5th and Happy Cinco de Mayo, not a day I’d expect to say good luck and be careful to all those shoveling snow or driving in it! What is up with the weather--down to the 30s at night, up to 60s during the day? Uhh, it is May! Sure keeps the utility/electric companies happy.

Okay, my big deal for the weekend was to see Iron Man 3 and I did in 3D Friday morning. Won’t give away anything but will say I absolutely loved it and Robert Downey. This man has grown so much as a person and a star--he is Iron Man! And just look into those eyes. Grew a bit nervous when a couple entered carrying a tiny child (3yrs at the most) who spent a good deal of time crying. After a few heads turned, Mom quickly exited with the little one. Kudos to her for understanding.

Anyway, I had one of those small theater popcorns which is truly tiny and extremely pricey and an overly large SMALL soda. If they give me a SMALL soda that is so very large I guess it’s okay to charge me a huge sum, a small fortune actually. I’m not really complaining because there is something about the popcorn at a theater and the way it smells that, in my opinion, just makes the movie better and you can’t have it without a drink. *smile* The SMALL soda…I blame it entirely as the cause for me leaving halfway through the closing credits where I know, I’m positive I missed some secret little thing they always throw in at the very last moment, some tiny message or come-on for what’s going to happen in the next movie…something that makes you think you just can’t wait…something that...

I did miss something didn’t I?

Damn that huge, gigantic SMALL high dollar drink, damn it to hell!

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

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Carrying On with Favorite Characters

As a fan of Star Wars, I was excited to see this article over on i09:

I've actually read some of the Star Wars books that are threaded through the first three movies (yes, I know they're technically Episodes 4, 5 & 6, but I grew up in a time where those other movies didn't exist, so there) and even  out past where Return of the Jedi ended. One of my favorites is Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly, which actually part of a three part mini-series with Darksaber (by Kevin J Anderson) & Planet of the Twilight (Barbara Hambly). The books play heavily toward Luke falling in love with Callista, a Jedi warrior who died years ago to help thwart the Empire's plan to destroy a sanctuary for Jedi Knight's wives and children.

I haven't yet decided if I'll pick up this new mini-series with Luke, Han and Leia, but it is certainly tempting.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Brenda Novak Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research

Diabetes research is a cause near to my heart. My grandmother and my dad were diabetic. My little brother is too. Less than a month ago, I went to wake my brother up and I couldn't. He was in bed, staring at the ceiling, unable to speak and clearly unaware of what was happening around him. We had to call an ambulance and get him emergency treatment. The paramedics told me my brother had lapsed into a near-coma sometime during the night when his sugar levels dropped.

Every year, Brenda Novak hosts an auction that donates its proceeds to diabetes research. Every year, I bid like a crazy woman and gladly hand over my money at the end. Not only is it a great opportunity to win once in a lifetime opportunities, it's also a great way to make a difference in the lives of those who suffer from diabetes.

Here is the information from the site:

Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research is gearing up for its biggest year yet. Thanks to all who have participated in the past — both donors and shoppers — we've raised a cumulative total of $1.6 million. This year we are hoping to surpass $2 million to help all those with diabetes, including my son, Thad, and little Ben, whose picture you see here. Lauren Hawkeye Jameson is a fabulous author who has supported my auction year after year. She had no idea when she first got involved that she'd soon be fighting the diabetes battle in an even more personal way. Ben is only two years old but started showing symptoms of Type 1 just a few months ago. I'll never forget the night Lauren texted me with his symptoms to see if I thought she should take him to the ER. He had the constant thirst and the excessive urination. Fortunately, she was familiar enough with these symptoms to know something was wrong — and to guess at what it was. She got him the help he needed and now he's on insulin and doing the daily regiment faced by so many with diabetes. So I would like to dedicate this year's auction to Lauren, her husband, and to Ben. Join with me in fighting for a CURE on his behalf, and on the behalf of millions. Chances are you will be helping someone in your own family.

And here is where you can go to view the items and place your bids:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Wiccan Haus

Please join me in welcoming Dominique Eastwick who is here today to tell us all about the Wiccan Haus. (Well, all of you, I knew about it already. LOL)--RR

The Wiccan Haus is a shared world series, meaning the series is written by a handful of different authors. All bringing their own touch and characters into the Wiccan Haus world but always using at least one of the main Characters from the series and the island setting.
The Wiccan Haus is a Resort and Spa located off the coast of Maine, a place of spiritual and emotional healing for both Humans and Paras. Sort of Fantasy Island meets todays Paranormal romance.
Meet the Rowan Siblings owners of the Spa and resort...
Sarka (the eldest)
Sarka Rowan is the Alchemist. She creates potions and practices transmutation. Her skill with transmutation is unparalleled in the paranormal world. Although her gift is most effective with a para, she has been known to assist the rare human. She refuses to make a love potion or to bring back someone from the dead. Neither ever works out well. A powerful witch she has few friends and most give her a wide birth.
Cyrus (the second eldest)
Cyrus Rowan is the Retrocog - when he touches an item, he is able to see the past of the current owner and in most cases past owners. Very handy when they find an item and do not know who it belongs to. He is uncomfortable with his gift and rarely uses it. He wears gloves so he isn’t overwhelmed with information from items he touches. He is the reason the Wiccan Haus exists, the secrets he knows and the power he holds puts everyone he loves in danger.
Cemil (the middle child)
Cemil Rowan is the Empath – although he can sense a person’s feelings from a great distance (even through the telephone when taking reservations), his true powers come when he can physically hold the hands of the person he is trying to heal. Cemil is more whimsical than the others. Cemil is the kindest soul of the group. Cemil is the one who heals the rifts when they occur on the island. Don’t let his whimsical appearance fool you—he is quite capable of taking down a were-wolf if need be.
Sage (the youngest)
Sage Rowan is the Herbalist. She has the ability to know just what materials (herbs, spices and flowers) are needed to help a client—human or para—heal. She creates the shakes, food, candles, and soaps required for each individual client’s needs during their stay on the island. She is of the earth and like Cemil is intent on healing. Although she comes across as pure, this lady has hidden depths.

And two important Residents of the Island... (For the Rowan’s these two are as good as family)
Rekkus is the head of Security for the Haus. He is the were-tiger, hero of Shifting Hearts and mated to Dana. When in Tiger form he is a 700-pound Black tiger with silver stripes. He is officially bodyguard to Cyrus. Rekkus is known throughout the Para world for his super para strength and agility. Even for a Para his abilities are unmatched. No one would dare attack the Rowans if there is a chance of Rekkus being there to stop them. Surly to the point of being unsociable, Rekkus will do all it takes to keep those he loves safe. Never again will someone he loves be hurt, not if he can help it.
Myron is the Romney receptionist and is a card reader. She works the front desk and has what appears to be a standard set of playing cards.  Her ability to read the cards and know what the guest need makes her invaluable to the Wiccan haus. She is also the only one brave enough to call Rekkus “Puss in Combat boots’ If you come to the Wiccan Haus and the name tag reads another name it’s a safe bet Myron has lost hers and has borrowed someone else’s.

The books are stand alones and can be read in any order but it is encouraged to read Shifting Hearts first as it will introduce the readers to the world of the Wiccan Haus and its residents.

Shifting Hearts by Dominique Eastwick
A Man Worth Fighting For by Sara Daniel
An Apple Away by Kate Richards
Siren's Serenade by Dominique Eastwick
Psychic Lies by Sara Daniel
Shifter's Dance By Vanessa North
Unveil My Heart by Nya Rayne
Shifter's Song By Vanessa North

And Coming soon
Lifebound by Leigh Daley
Finding Her A-Muse-Ment by Rebecca Royce

Books can be purchased at
For more information about the Wiccan Haus follow our blog