Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Ah, summer vacation... if you’re a single woman, overworked and undervalued... where would you go to de-stress and live a bit of the good life? And, what if you were about to get a massage from a man known as the Massage Magician... what if you began mentally composing a postcard to your girlfriend...
Yep, here it is ~ Postcard from the Flash Edge
Oops...warning...bad word ahead...
The Massage Magician
I close my eyes and mentally compose a postcard to my girlfriend. After all, she set up this appointment as my birthday gift. Dear, Linda, my tension-abused body surrenders to the mauve, perfectly cushioned table. No, I don’t want to see him as he enters. I just want to feel what he’s going to do to me. You said he’s known as the Massage Magician. I soooo HOPE so. As I wait, I listen to the soothing ebb and flow of the ocean. The island birds trill and squawk, the perfect entertainment. I smile and drown in the paradise fragrances.
I hear footsteps, a strong slow stride, and almost silent. He’s probably barefoot. A breeze seems to follow him in. For moments, it plays over the bare skin of my shoulders and lifts strands of my hair. I’ve left it loose. I feel loose here. Everything is enchantment. The sun, the sea, the sky. Walking on the hot fine sand. The tropical blooms surrounding me. I swear they know how beautiful I find them. As he comes closer, I smell him. Lion, I think, because his scent is regal and sun-golden. He reeks of power, the deliciousness of I’m-here-to-take charge.
Something about him is familiar. But, I’m so zoned out and peacefully drunk on this paradise island, I don’t bother trying to figure out what it might be. I notice his steps stop, as if he’s slightly taken aback. However, I hear him move to me. The confidant way he brushes my hair to the side, then eases his hands onto my shoulders and begins a light massage, lulls me into a sweet much-needed relaxation. Gradually, he intensifies the pressure on my shoulder muscles, kneading them toward nirvana. “Oh...oooooh,” I moan. “That is so good. Don’t stop, Massage Magician.”
He pulls the sheet down my back, a sensual sliding of the lightweight cotton. Even though, his touch remains professional, somehow there’s a sense of intimacy. If his massage hadn’t been pure magic, relaxing me in a way I could only dream about, I would have paid more attention to the warning in the pit of my stomach. He pauses, then his fingertips graze the length of my spine. “You always did have the most beautiful back.” Shock drills through me. I launch upward. “You!” My fist shoots for his jaw. A direct satisfying hit, even if it does sting.
Okay, his expression suggests he’s stunned more than in pain. The fucking I-hate-him bastard! I grab for the sheet covering my naked breasts, and glare as he rubs his chin. “Get out of my way, or I’m punching you again.” His large lion-like body is blocking my exit. His gaze peruses my face and he doesn’t move. “You do remember,” he deeply purrs. I boil inside. My ears burn. “Get out of my way.” Feeling ruthless, I clench my hand and wind up. “Why wouldn’t I remember being dumped just before the prom?” Taking aim, I land another punch. Hard.
May your summer romance reading dreams come true...
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thanks for having me on your blog today. I’m so happy to talk about my two recent releases!
The first one is a paranormal romance called ROCKET’S RED GLARE and is themed around the Fourth of July. With this book, I wanted to include my love of cooking with the paranormal. Cooking can be a very sensual thing if you use it right and so can the paranormal. What I came up with was a food critic vampire meeting again with the woman he ditched at the altar years before. She’s also a chef.
If you’re interested in my other books, please drop by my website at http://www.sandrasookoo.com/
Rocket’s Red Glare blurb and excerpt
Blurb: Their second chance at love could be deadly.
Jamison Rocket is a food critic who rarely gives a 5-star rating. His palate for food is flawless. Trouble is, he’s a vampire, and even though he enjoys his job, he’s been haunted by memories of the love he left behind ten years ago—the woman he can’t forget.
Meredith Kirby works as a sous chef in a brand new bistro. She’s given the chance of a lifetime to prepare a meal for a renowned food critic and seizes the opportunity. The meal is a success. As the critic arrives in the kitchen to meet her, Meredith’s pride sours into confusion when the critic ends up being, Jamison Rocket—the man who ditched her at the altar and stole her heart.
Neither one has been able to forget the love they once shared. Over the Fourth of July weekend, their romance is rekindled into an inferno they once thought impossible. Though the need for acceptance burns bright within Jamison, it’s Meredith who’ll ultimately need to decide which ingredients she’ll need in order to whip up a happy ending and add fireworks to her own life.
Excited whispers floated through the dining room and spilled over into the kitchen. High energy crackled among the staff as aprons were tied and chef’s jackets were donned. Silverware clattered. China clinked. Pots and pans jangled together. All this activity provided the soundtrack for the night’s performance.
Meredith Kirby’s day had deteriorated in one-hour increments. She couldn’t check her email or pay the bills that loomed due because the internet was down for some inexplicable reason. Next came a ninety minute jaunt at the local DMV where the quest to renew a driver’s license took on horror movie qualities. After they’d jacked up the photo on the retake, she was so annoyed, it looked like she was about to kill someone.
Maybe she was.
Last, but not least, after being home for all of twenty minutes because she’d forgotten the dry cleaning she needed to drop off, when she attempted to start her car to come into work, nothing happened. A sick, death gurgle which resulted in a call to the local emergency auto assistance place and “I’m so sorry for your loss” looks from the mechanic at the garage where it was delivered.
Just another day in the life of Meredith Kirby. Was it a case of bad luck? Not likely. Maybe the Fates had a vendetta against her for some reason. Maybe she’d ticked someone off in a past life. Whatever it was, Meredith wished it would move on.
Now, on the single most important night of her life to date, the head chef of Algernon was tossing her cookies in the restroom down the hall, a by-product of the worst case of morning-noon-and-night sickness Meredith had ever witnessed. And they had a dining room full of first time guests.
On opening night.
The bustle in the stainless steel kitchen ebbed and flowed around her in a complicated dance of frenetic energy. As much as she loved cooking, Meredith admitted that her nerves were frazzled beyond the norm tonight. Steam swirled above bubbling pots, waiting for pasta orders while the savory aromas of cream sauces blended with the earthier smells of grilling meat.
Deciding to take a quick peek at the diners she’d have the pleasure of cooking for, Meredith cracked open the connecting door. With one innocent sweep of the room, her world wheeled then crashed and burned in a blaze worthy of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
What the hell was he doing here? Her insides clenched with remembered hurts and new resentments as she stared.
She narrowed her eyes. The dark-haired man who’d just entered the restaurant was Jamison Rocket. The man who’d walked out of her life ten years before. Bile rose in her throat as she recalled the haunted look in his eyes as he told her he needed to leave. It was the same look her mother had when she abandoned a fourteen-year-old Meredith.
* * * * *
Jamison Rocket gently pushed open the glass door to Algernon, a brand new bistro-style café. Immediately, tempting aromas assailed his nostrils: roasting meats, savory vegetables and a subtle undertone of caramelized sugar, no doubt from some sort of confection.
Typical fare and in what would most likely be a boring, uninspired meal, but then, if the food let him down, there were other ways of getting his required nourishment.
As the door swung shut behind him on silent hinges, the soft buzz of conversation surrounded him, punctuated by the delicate chime of crystal and a metallic clink as silverware scraped against china plates. A couple of black-clad waiters shot past, the white of their Parisian-style aprons contrasting with the somberness of the attire.
Before he’d gotten three steps into the ridiculously small foyer, Jamison was greeted by an older gentleman, distinguished by the gray at his temples and the lines of seriousness crisscrossing his face.
“I assume you have a reservation this evening?”
Jamison’s lips twitched at the highbrow treatment. “I do, indeed. Jamison Rocket.”
The man’s whole demeanor changed, typical of anyone in the restaurant industry upon hearing his name. “Follow me, please. We’ve set aside the best table in the house and please indicate your favorite wine as the bottle will be a gift this evening.”
Of course it would. Little “on the house” gifts filled his guest bedroom. As if those freebie offerings would sway his opinion on the eateries he visited. He didn’t exactly consider them income, but had a hard time convincing the IRS that they weren’t. One couldn’t spend a bottle of wine or gift basket of jam like currency, but then, if it weren’t for the perks, he wouldn’t be in such high demand. Silly mortals. If only they knew their offerings had no affect on the outcome and in this case, his pen was mightier than the sword. Jamison focused his gaze on the man’s stiff shoulders as they navigated through intimate round tables covered with black linen.
“Here we are, sir.”
“Thank you.” He waved off the man’s assistance and pulled out his chair. “I’d like a bottle of Merlot, please.” Dismissing the host as soon as he sat down, Jamison glanced around the smallish dining room. Probably no more than fifteen or twenty tables cluttered the rustic, cobblestoned floor. Lights dimmed, soothing music tinkling in the background, the soft flicker of votive candles on the tables all created an atmosphere of calm.
Jamison nodded. The place was packed and chances were, as the evening dragged on, there’d be a waiting list. Algernon passed the first test. A crowded eatery was a happy eatery. Now, the challenge would come in the food itself. A tiny part of him hoped the start-up would succeed, but the practical man he was knew it would be an uphill battle. This economy didn’t lend itself well to yet another restaurant in an already saturated area.
But that wasn’t his problem. He couldn’t let empathetic feelings for an underdog cloud his judgment. He was a food critic. If the food passed his palate favorably, they’d be lucky. If not, he’d have no regrets when he left the establishment with a less-than-glowing review in his pocket.
Strictly business. That was all.
A bark of mirthless laughter passed his lips. Nothing in life was that easy. Being a food critic was definitely not all he was. The funny thing? Only a handful of people knew the truth.
He wanted to keep it that way.
Book video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-7gFIv-gPo
Buy Link: http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/rocketsredglare.htm
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Rockets-Red-Glare-ebook/dp/B003P2VH20/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1277328204&sr=8-3
The second book that released June 7th is my first paranormal mystery, except this one has a twist at the end. I decided since I liked reading mysteries, I’d try my hand at one but put my own spin on it. It’s a “locked house” mystery and I hope you like it.
Dead Ruby Slippers
Excerpt from Chapter 1
Blurb: Dancing may be hard…but no one expected it to be murder.
When sexy tap dancer Abigail Carlton, a.k.a. Ruby Slippers, is found dead and arranged in an artistic fashion on her coffee table, it’s up to Special Agent Quentin Banks to solve her murder.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Not only is Quentin a FBI career man, he doubles as an officer for the Institute of Magical Instruction…and the dancer’s death has super natural energy written all over it.
Quentin must find who murdered Abigail, and he only has 24 hours to do it before it’s taken over by his superiors.
He wished investigating murder was easy because it certainly wasn’t fun.
Special Agent Quentin Banks glanced at the white, waxy skin of the high-end housewife and wondered yet again what would possess someone to kill. What sort of zeal motivated a person to pull the trigger? To snuff out a life?
Sighing, he gestured to the forensics team to start the investigation. At least this was a cut-and-dry case. She had been bored, the husband came home and found her with the gardener, killed her in a fit of rage. Eventually, they’d catch up to the man and track him down.
At least magic wasn’t involved. That paperwork alone could take days.
Quentin swung around to see a young cop standing in the doorway of the palatial entryway, the motion sensor lights creating macabre shadows on his gaunt face. The rookie had followed him around for the bulk of the night. Quentin didn’t have the strength or the interest to be a mentor.
“What is it?”
“Will you return to the scene this evening? We should have prelim results by then.”
“No, I’m going home. Haven’t been there much in the last two months.” Quentin winced when the rookie’s hopeful expression crashed into disappointment. Well, the pup would just have to find a new role model. “Fax any pertinent information to Sarah.”
“Will do, sir.”
With slumped shoulders, Quentin flung himself behind the wheel of his black Dodge Charger then navigated out of the ritzy neighborhood, the vehicle’s headlights illuminating the wrought iron gate of the exclusive community. Did having a big house, expensive cars and wealth make a life complete?
An image of the dead woman flashed in his mind. Maybe not.
Twenty minutes later, Quentin sailed into downtown Indianapolis and pulled cleanly into the lot of his condominium building. As soon as he parked and exited the car, his cellphone rang.
“Banks.” The word was sharp and short.
“Now is that the proper way to greet your overworked, underpaid secretary?”
A grin curled his lips as he walked across the lot. “You’re not just my secretary, Sarah.” It was true. She had worked for him for at least ten years, maybe more. Through all of his moves around the country, she remained the one constant. “You’re my right-hand woman, my moral compass.”
“You can prove it to me by bringing me flowers next time you’re in the office.”
He made a mental note. “What do you need?” Quentin slipped through the exterior door to the high-rise and pushed the button for the elevator.
“Oh, besides your six-foot, two-inch, one hundred eighty pounds of pure molten, muscled heat?”
Quentin knew the tips of his ears turned red at her blatant flirting. Even though she was old enough to be his mother, she had the power to make him feel like a geeky freshman in high school again. “Sarah, please.” He stepped in the elevator when it arrived, grateful the car was empty.
“Please what, baby?” Her thick Southern accent sounded more exaggerated than usual. This struck him as funny because Sarah grew up in central Ohio and only recently moved to Virginia.
She had never been to his local office in Indianapolis. “Please let me run my fingers through that thick chocolate hair? Or how about charmin’ me with those baby blues?” She huffed into the silence that followed. “All right. You’re not in the mood for my little jokes today.”
“You know how it is after I’ve finished a case.” He exited the elevator and walked past three condos until he reached his. “What’s the problem?” He slid his key in the lock and turned the knob.
“Oh, no problem, just a notice from the League.”
Stifling a sigh, Quentin closed the door and tossed his key ring onto a low table in the entryway. The Magical Enforcement League was his real job. The FBI gig was only a cover, albeit an interesting one. “What now?” In his capacity as an enforcement officer, Quentin’s job entailed keeping a check on practitioners of magic. If they got out of hand with their power or attempted to use their magic for personal gains, it was his responsibility to issue citations. If the warnings went unheeded, he had the authority to revoke their magic license or, in a worst-case scenario, drain their powers.
“The usual. The League wants to remind its officers it will be closed for two days in observance of the Founder’s Day celebration. If you should be called out on a case within the next forty-eight hours, you’ll be without backup for awhile. They also remind you to use whatever method you see fit in solvin’ a case.”
“Great.” He rifled through the basket in his entryway. Once a week, the woman who cleaned his place collected his mail for him. Nothing caught his eye so he moved into the living area. Quentin purposefully kept his condo streamlined, clean and aloof. No personal effects, no cheery mementos of happier times and no photographs. Nothing gave away a hint of his personality or mindset. He preferred it that way. Less hassle. Less mess. “Anything on the docket then?”
“Not a thing, honey, unless you wanna come down and keep an old girl company durin’ the slow hours.”
Quentin rolled his eyes. “Not today. I figured I’d spend some time at home.”
“At your depressin’ condo? At least adopt a dog.”
He heard her fingers race over her keyboard, the simple act making him grin because it meant she was busy working a case. “A dog? I don’t even have a plant. Don’t have the time between both jobs.”
She clicked her tongue. “You work too much. What you need is a good woman to take your mind off things, soften you up. You’re starting to get prickly around the edges.”
“You know why I can’t date.” He moved into the kitchen and grabbed a cold bottle of beer from the fridge. “How would I explain the double life?”
“Who says you need to? What if you find a woman who’s got a secret too?”
“Don’t you have anything better to do than poke around in my personal issues?” Quentin dropped into a black leather recliner in the living room then frowned at the chrome-and-glass coffee table. Nothing in his home could be construed as a memento. He didn’t want to be reminded of what he’d lost. “Not that I don’t appreciate your enthusiasm.” He grunted with satisfaction as the first sip of liquid coated his throat. The simple things in life were best.
“Now, stud muffin, don’t get your boxers in a bunch. I’m only lookin’ out for you.”
Another sigh. “When I find a woman that interests me, you’ll be the first to know, all right?”
He rubbed a hand over his face. “Call me if there’s a change in the case load. Until then, I’m gonna sleep in my own bed for the next couple days.”
“You wouldn’t have to sleep alone if you would hurry up and find a girlfriend. Maybe you’d crack a smile every once in a while too. It won’t kill you.”
“Good night, Sarah.”
Quentin snapped his phone shut and took another pull on his beer. He had to hand it to his secretary. She certainly made life a bit less lonely. Remote in hand, he clicked through the TV channels. He quirked an eyebrow as a commercial’s colorful images flitted across the screen.
“For three nights only, don’t miss your chance to see the incomparable Ruby Slippers perform on stage! Tickets on sale now!” At the close of the blurb, a slender blonde did a sliding sort of step, a pair of ruby red tap shoes on her tiny feet.
“Not in this lifetime.” With a frown, Special Agent Banks switched off the TV and stared morosely at the darkened skyline.
Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9K4AH-IKBU
Buy link: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_25&products_id=154
Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Ruby-Slippers-ebook/dp/B003HF0N2U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1276686310&sr=8-1
Monday, June 21, 2010
Linda Banche here. Today we are delighted to host romance superstar Patricia Rice. Ms. Rice has written in many romance genres, including historicals, paranormals, and contemporaries. Her latest book, THE WICKED WYCKERLY, a Regency, will be available in July (and which I’m buying as soon as it hits the shelves).
She has chosen to offer her backlist to new readers via self-publishing. While most self-published authors go it alone, Ms. Rice has joined two author co-ops, A Writer's Work, and Book View Café. Here she shares with us her experiences self-publishing with a group.
Thank you for inviting me here to share my experiences with an audience who may even be more e-experienced than I am! I think I’ll just explain a little bit about what I’m doing and open the floor for questions and discussions.
I’m Patricia Rice. I sold my first book in 1982 and the current opus, THE WICKED WYCKERLY, out in July, will be my 47th full length print novel. I’ve probably sold millions of print books over the years, not counting anthologies.
1. You're a USA Today and NY Times bestselling author. Why did you enter self-pub/epub?
I like to consider myself market savvy, although I’m not certain anyone can really predict the book market. My husband is a techie who tells me about innovations in the e-reader industry, so I’ve been watching the e-book market for years. Friends of mine established their own publishing companies during our last slump, and while they aren’t competing with the big guys yet, they’re making a comfortable living. Some of them started with e-publications. Others started with print and are branching out. Several of them wanted my backlist, so I was more or less handed easy access. And because of my early interest, I believed I saw opportunity on the horizon when I finally jumped in last year with www.regencyreads.com
I had very little to do with any of those first books except proof and edit scans of my old Regencies. Old category Regencies have a steady niche market and they immediately produced a small stream of income, so I began turning some of my recent paranormal historicals over to their paranormal division and looking around to see how else I could get in on the ground floor of this opportunity.
What I really want to do is establish an e-book audience because I believe that’s the future.
2. You're part of Book View Cafe and A Writer's Work, both author co-ops. Why did you decide on a co-op for your books? Why not go to Smashwords?
I began wondering why authors couldn’t publish themselves and claim the lion’s share of the profits. Smashwords, fictionwise, et al, take a huge percentage for simply listing our work on their website. Why couldn’t we have our own websites and keep that percentage? We were already doing all the rest of the work—writing, creating covers, marketing. So I began experimenting with www.awriterswork.com and www.bookviewcafe.com. Both are essentially author co-ops but with different operating methods.
Essentially, we are establishing our own publishing houses where we’re in control. We hope they’ll be a ground base for distribution in the future, eliminating the middleman—something print publishers have failed to do.
Once we establish a book on our author-owned website, we expand to Smashwords, Kindle, et al, just as a regular publisher does. But if we can enlarge our operations to equal that of the larger distributors, we can remove our books from the distributors at any time. We’re in complete control of our rights and where we sell.
3. You’ve been involved with Book View Cafe and A Writer's Work for a while now. What are your impressions of self-pub so far? What do you like? What do you dislike?
Since I still spend most of my time on my print books, which are my bread and butter, I don’t have a great deal of time for working on the e-books. I’ve hired people to scan backlist and create covers for me. I am not technology-oriented, so websites and formatting for different readers, etc, are all a mystery to me. I can’t say I dislike them so much as not understand what’s done. What I’m loving is the freedom. I’m adding back pages that have been edited out for word count. I can decide when I want a book produced. I can choose my book cover. I can decide whether or not to sell to Kindle and what cover price I want.
The jury is still out on sales and marketing. I’ve put roughly twelve books and an anthology out in a year. Because I’m not tech-savvy, I’m probably breaking even with income from the books paying for covers, website and formatting costs. I’ve learned to do Twitter and Facebook but that’s about all the marketing I’ve done. But after this year, it’s all gravy on those first dozen books. If the e-market continues to grow, my sales and income should grow proportionally, knock wood. And conversely, as sales grow, the more I can reduce prices. It’s a fascinating balance.
4. Book View Cafe and A Writer's Work both feature e-pub. Why not also POD?
POD technology is not e-technology. The people who produce the books have their own systems and requirements. I don’t claim to understand it, but BVC has their toes in the water and their more tech-oriented people are exploring. It will come.
5. How much of the work of the co-op does each author do? For example, do you format your books yourself? Pick your own cover photos? (I love the cover of LOST LOVE. LOST LOVE is sitting on my electronic TBR pile. I just bought a SONY eReader. *grins*)
Thank you! I’m loving my Nook. *G* The LOST LOVE cover was my first experiment in choosing my own cover. My Belgrave House books (www.regencyreads.com and www.belgravehouse.com) were all designed by the publisher. For A Writers Work and Book View Cafe, I’ve been working with another author who knows how to create cover magic. I choose the design and she whips it up for me.
Each co-op works differently.
Pat McLaughlin owns the website at A Writers Work and is handling all the organizational duties that most writers resist. She receives a small percentage of sales until she recoups her costs. Authors put together their own books (backlist or original), create their own covers, and pay the web designer directly for setting up their web pages and formatting. We’re hoping to establish a large collective of multi-published authors that will draw an audience simply for the convenience and discount of buying directly from authors without the middleman.
Book View Café began several years ago and is totally a co-op, with each member doing what they do best, sharing services, with no upfront costs involved. If I had time and was willing to learn, I could do it all for free with the guidance of more experienced authors, but I’m cheating and paying someone to set the books on the site for me. BVC has reached a point where it can produce its own original books—writing, editing, and marketing them. Again, they’re all experienced, multi-published authors who know the business inside and out. Some have been editors with NYC houses, so we have a strong editorial staff.
I’m learning a great deal from both places, and we learn from each other. The best part is that we’re small and far more adaptable to the winds of change than major houses. We may not retire on millions, but our goals are to sustain our writing careers, make reading affordable, and provide readers easy to access to a wide variety of original fiction. And we’ve achieved that. So we’re already successful to that extent. World domination isn’t on our horizon. Yet. *G*
Visit Patricia Rice at her website, http://www.patriciarice.com
Some of her earlier works are available in e-format at the co-ops
Book View Café: http://www.bookviewcafe.com
A Writer's Work: http://www.awriterswork.com
And also at the e-bookstores
Belgrave House: http://www.belgravehouse.com
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The father-daughter bond is magical. Several years ago, I wrote a poem for my dad. I think sometimes we get busy and forget there are people around us we need to keep in touch with. I love my dad more than he could ever know. He's my hero though I know he's not perfect.
A VERY SPECIAL MAN
He should never be an afterthought
Only thought of when times are rough
Or just on special occasions
No matter what you do, he always loves you
Phone calls are nice, cards are sweet
But to sit and visit is the best
Even if it's on a riverbank, or in a boat
Maybe walking through the timber
He gave me life, I can give him time
Life's too precious to be selfish
Consumed with my own pleasures
Tied up with my own family
Time isn't forever, love is
Give him the time he doesn't demand
Let him know you can be counted on
That he does hold a special place in your heart
I grew up thinking I was beautiful, because my daddy told me so every day. I also grew up thinking we were rich because we always had new dresses and polished shoes to wear. Neither belief was true, for I am quite ordinary looking, and we actually lived on the wrong side of the tracks. It's just that Daddy always told Mother, "Time to cut and curl those girls' hair, honey." He polished our white-high top shoes every night to go with the cotton dresses Mother made for us. He always wanted us to shine like a new dime.
My self-assurance came from words that I heard everyday from Daddy. "You sure look pretty today," and he kissed me on the cheek. Of course, that was his way, very loving and happy and giving. He told my sisters the same thing, and he praised Mother, too.
I loved and adored my daddy. Every child on earth should be so lucky.
My Dad has passed. It's been awhile, now. I know he's in a much better place, and, at times, I feel his presence, as I did on his birthday, this June 11. My favorite time with him was when I was young. Since I'm the oldest, I had him all to myself for a short time and we'd share all sorts of wonderful things together, including the time he took me outside to see Sputnik pass through the heavens.
My Dad gave me incredible insights about the world, many of which are the foundations of my life. For example, he didn't believe in commercials, meaning whatever they were selling, or whatever the claims, well, it was just propaganda... like smoking is good for you... yep, there were commercials back in the old days of black and white TV, that said cigarette smoking had health benefits.
I say Dad's are beyond special. They are magical. I know, my Dad was, in so many ways.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I woke up early and went into the city. There was a cd I wanted to purchase along with a few other items I could easily get here in town. I was appalled how the music section was almost non-existent. Seriously, my son and I were just there a couple of weeks ago looking for one he wanted and they had four isles of cd's. Now, it's barely one section, not even a full isle. Of course, they didn't have the cd I wanted. I picked up the other items and came home where I purchased from Amazon.
What's this world coming to? We don't download our music from the internet - we like the thrill of having the hard disc of a cd sitting on the shelf in case, heaven forbid, our music drive on the server dies.
Anyways, then I sat here and got to work. My days start with checking review sites for reviews on my latest release so I can update my promos before I drop them for the day. Low and behold, there was one. It really made my day, because I was begining to think I wasn't getting more than the one I had. Some of the sites have had the book for six months while the book itself hasn't been out even two months yet. So you can imagine my joy to find one, and seriously, I'd take a bad one at this point.
5 Stars, Sheryl - Sensual Reads
"Sizzling yet thoroughly enticing, Jewel Of The Sun's Blood Destiny by Bekki Lynn left this reader craving for more. I loved this book and all of its' characters from the first page and as I traveled more into it I fell in love with this mystical yet sensually tantalizing story. Envisioning your dream lover is an ability any woman would love to experience and for Cassandra she not only dreamt it but also experienced it first hand. This book is a happily-ever-after that conquers uncertainty and heartache to discover the strength it takes to hold on to your wildest dreams and Ms Lynn has been able to do just that. Kudos Ms Lynn on your fantastic tale." I happily bragged and posted it, updated my website and then got to work on a project. Until I needed a much needed nap. I slept about an hour. And then since I know most sites don't post reviews as early in the morning as some, I made a pass before I got back to work. Low and behold, another review had been posted. Two in one day thrilled me to death.
3.5, Heathermh - Night Owl Reviews
"Great spicy quick read. I liked the idea behind the story and the involvement of the grandparents. The chemistry between Elan and Cassandra is hot and can be felt blazing off the pages. If your looking for a quick read to get lost in for a while, than this is something I would recommend."
Have a fantastic day!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Geez, the middle of June already. Can you believe it? The storms have been relentless on the tame prairie and a bolt of lightning out of the blue zapped my phone line several days ago. That required days of finding out the specific problems, then having a new modem installed.
Since no one was scheduled to blog, I thought I’d jump in and offer up a poem I wrote yesterday under the influence of the New Moon and because of Flash Fiction Sunday at the Liquid Silver blog ~ that is, before I enter deep into the edit cave.
Poetic vibes must be in the stormy air or in the stars, since there was exceptional poetry instead of the usual flash-ing at Liquid Silver.
This X-poem is about my goddess heroine in a novella [not pubbed] that I wrote about ten years ago, titled ~ Goddess from the Dark Side of the Moon ~
she slid down his cheek
as one drop of rain.
To torment him further
she rained herself
upon his dark golden hair.
To torture his need for her
she sluiced her goddess essence
over his Apollo-handsome physique
caressing every bold muscle,
every masculine plane of him
until he raised his face
to Earth’s gray pearl sky
and silently shouted her name.
She bathed him in her
beauteous Venus nature
until he clenched his eyelids
and begged for her.
She showered him with her desires
until he groaned like Mt. Vesuvius.
Until he screamed through the cosmos
pleading for her favor.
His human body strained,
a statue of blazing marble for her.
Taking her woman’s revenge
she whirled as sheets of rain around
his naked body, shuddering him.
She saturated him with her
erotic dreams of him.
Slowly, she slid her watery being,
her silvered transparency
down his taut agonized groin
and spun up his pillar-standing phallus.
Wickedly, she drove him to the brink
of ecstasy, then flowed from him,
denying him, leaving him to feel
the lava blazes of Hades,
as if the Lord of the Underworld
consumed his flesh to punish his
lover’s misdeeds, his betrayal of her.
Satisfied, still she cried her own tears
as splashing drops of rain
upon the thirsty Earth.
Transforming to ethereal goddess
above him, she whispered his name.
He opened his dark-as-midnight eyes
and she vanished from him
like wisps of fairy mist
before the gold-soft brilliance
of the morning’s risen sun.
May your romance reading dreams come true...
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Why are Vikings romantic?
When Vikings were raiding Celtic monasteries they were not romantic. When Vikings - unkempt, insanitary, prone to arthritis after years on the sea - ravaged coastal settlements and came upriver to pillage and steal, they were not romantic. When they desecrated Christian sites, they were not romantic.
When an Anglo-Saxon village caught a Viking raider they pinned his skin to the church-door, which took the romance right out of it.
Do real Viking nicknames like 'Geirmund the Shifty', 'Ragnar Hairy-Breeches' or 'Eysteinn the Fart' induce swooning?
So why are we drawn to them?
Perhaps because they were pirates, the free-wheeling buccaneers of their age, who refused to be overwhelmed by anything, including the glories of Byzantine Constantinople - their runes and messages have been found carved into the church of Haghia Sophia in Istanbul.
Perhaps because through their sagas and art they reveal a fierce spirit of independence, a laconic, 'give-it-your best-shot ' attitude that is appealing.
Perhaps because women in Scandinavian society had many freedoms and rights, and at home Viking men were hard-working and respectful to their wives and mothers.
Perhaps because the image of the tall, blond, blue-eyed hulking warrior is a delicious fantasy that - with the benefit of historical hindsight - we can indulge in.
Here, as a partial homage to the romance of Vikings, is my short story, Seal of Odin. This is a different version from my more paranormal story, The Beach and is the earlier of the two:
Seal of Odin (PDF)
Friday, June 11, 2010
Jonathon Rhys-Meyers as Henry VIII from Showtime's "The Tudors"
By Stephanie Burkhart
Little known facts about the Tudors
Watching Showtime's "The Tudors" series is my sinfully delicious treat for the week. I love seeing the colorful sets and lavish costumes. Heck, I can't believe they wore those things way back when! I mean, how did you get off those puffy dresses?
Jonathon Rhys-Meyers is a real cutie on the show. He plays Tudor king, Henry VIII, who is probably the best known of the Tudor Monarchs.
The Tudors came to the throne in 1485 with Henry VII. In 1603 with the death of Elizabeth I, the Tudors dynasty ended, but they changed England in ways never dreamed of.
I thought I'd share a couple of little known facts about each Tudor Monarch. Henry VII's father was Edmund Tudor. He was in his 20's when he married Margaret Beaufort. She was 13 when she gave birth to Henry. The age difference was acceptable then. Nowadays, it would not be. Henry was known as the 2nd Earl of Richmond.
During the time of Henry's birth, the Wars of the Roses (between Lancaster and York) had just began. In July 1483, Edward V (of York) was a 13 year old boy and mysteriously killed in the tower of London along with his younger brother, Richard of York. Richard III, Edward's uncle came to the throne and was the last York king. Who killed Edward V? For years, Richard III was thought to have killed him for the throne, but history poses that Henry VII also had strong motives to kill the boy. Killing Edward would mean Henry was that much closer to the throne, as he exerted a weak dynastic claim through his mother, Margaret Beaufort, who was a granddaughter of Edward III.
Henry VII was the last English monarch to win his crown in battle at the Battle of Bosworth against Richard III in August 1985. Henry married Elizabeth of York who had a stronger dynastic claim to the throne than he did, but because he won the crown in battle, the crown was his in his own right. It was reported that Henry VII loved his wife very much, but he was known to be cold and calculating in his younger years.
Henry VIII succeeded his father when he was 17 years old. He was the Duke of York until he turned 10 and then was made the Prince of Wales upon his brother's death. (Arthur) In 1510, Henry VIII executed two of his father's most unpopular advisors for treason. What a way to start his reign, huh?
Margaret Tudor, From Showtime's "The Tudors"
Margaret Tudor, Henry VII's, eldest daughter married James, the King of the Scots, in the 1st decade of the 1500's. Henry VII was quoted as saying:
"Supposing, which God forbid, that all my male progeny should become extinct and kingdom devolve by law to Margaret's heirs, will England be damaged thereby, or rather benefited?"
Was Henry feeling guilty about what he'd done to the sons of Edward IV? We'll never know. Henry VII loved his daughter very much and treated her with much respect.
Edward VI, Henry VIII's surviving son upon his death, was 9 when made king. A regency council ruled for him. He had poor eyesight. He spoke French and Spanish and wrote a treatise about the Pope being an antichrist. Sounds like a lovely child, doesn't he?
Mary I, Henry's eldest daughter was the first Queen Regnant in over 400 years. She earned the nickname "Bloody Mary" for burning 300 religious dissentients. Mary also had poor eyesight. All though never invested with the title, Henry VIII would refer to her often as the Princess of Wales when she was younger.
Mary's reign was short and her sister, Elizabeth, came to the throne in 1558. As a young teenager, Elizabeth lived with her father's last wife, Katherine Parr and her new husband, Thomas Seymour. Seymour made advances toward Elizabeth and she was sent away.
Elizabeth could write English, Latin, and Italian. She was one of the best educated minds of the time. She named James VI (Stewart) of Scotland her heir. He was Margaret Tudor's great grandson.
Remember Henry VII's thoughts about Margaret and her heirs. How ironic his old demons came back to haunt his children. History will never know how Edward V died, but there are several theories that point out Henry VII had everything to gain if Edward V and his brother, Richard of York, were dead. There is a theory that speculates Henry killed the princes in the tower, not Richard III. If you believe in karma, than the end of the Tudor dynasty was karmic indeed.
History has an interesting way of resonating with us, doesn't it?
Source: The Sisters of Henry VIII by Maria Perry, DaCapo Press, ISBN: 0-306-809-89-3, 2000
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Here's some information on publishers who publish historical romance and who look at mss directly, without the need of an agent. I've also included information on a mystery publisher seeking historical whodunits. Most of the links go to submissions guidelines.
Publisher who accepts historical whodunits:
Midnight Ink Books
Harlequin take historical romances and will look at work without an agent.
Pegasus Publishing is a UK traditional print publisher for genre fiction, including historical romance. (submissions guidelines)
eTreasures Publishing. (A new ebook publisher, interested in historical romance.)
Other publishers of historical romance - in no particular order:
Noble Romance Publishing
Vanilla Heart Publishing
Another new historical novels publisher (for UK based writers only, I'm afraid) is Quaestor2000. This is a small, British publisher is publishing historical novels in all genres, and is actively seeking unusual periods.
Avon(Avon like sensual historical romance.)
Avalon Books (These are USA Library publishers and are very sweet - no bad language, no alcohol.)
Blue Leaf Publications
Dorchester Books. (Leisure and Lovespell Romances, sensual historicals. You can now submit to Dorchester via email.)
Five Star (Another library supplier publisher. You need to be living in the USA in order to submit.)
Robert Hale (Historical Romance. They like books with a strong plot. Robert Hale are based in the UK.)
Wild Rose Press
Parker Publishing (Quality fiction for readers of multi-racial romance.)
Siren-Bookstrand will take historical romance novellas from 15k and full length novels.
Desert Breeze Publishing
Romance at Heart
Carina Press (New digital only ebook publishing from Harlequin - all genres. They are interested in complete manuscripts only at this time, but ask that you query first. Send your query to email@example.com)
Publishers for shorter forms of Romance.
Harlequin publishes two different types of historical short stories/novellas that are open to submissions of 10,000 to 15,000 words:
Harlequin Historical Undone features sexy stories set in any historical time period.
Spice Briefs are short erotic stories for women, from 5,000 to 15,000
The other places for really short - 1,000 words - Long and Short Reviews and All Romance Ebooks both looking for short romance stories of 1000 words.
Sea Creste are looking for short historical romance and fantasy stories - 2000k and up.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I've been writing for over 30 years, most of that time writing either futuristic or contemporary. All have had some level of romance in them. I just can't imagine writing a novel about people where there isn't some sort of connection. Most of my books also are usually HEA. I just can't seem to write one that isn't. Then, out of the blue, I came up with an idea for a historical novel set in Los Angeles during Prohibition. The more I researched, the more fascinated I became. I looked around for other books set in that time and found there weren't really that many. So I decided I was going to write one. There was just so much going on in the 20s. Especially when, like me, you write about crime, cops and the bad side of people. So finding out that the LAPD in those days filled the role of the Eastern gangsters. They protected the speakeasies and kept the gamblers safe. So a character came to me, a 30ish, Anglo (L.A. was very racist back then, so was the LAPD) good looking guy who acts as a thug and protector for his boss, the Chief of Police. His name was Billy, Billy Brewster. William, but he never used the name.
Already this guy was coming alive. He wasn't really a nice man. But he was the type of bad boy that some women have always been attracted to. Billy has no trouble getting a woman. Then he meets Maddy, Madeleine La Rue. There are all kinds of rumors about her, she's the illegitimate daughter or the Prince of Wales, or a Russian prince or... she was exotic, like he'd never seen in a woman. The attraction between them was instant.
Then a title. I have to have a title before I can really get to work. It might change later, but I want one. I'm calling this novel Color of Shadows and Smoke.
But now what do I do? It's not realistic that this classy, high-born lady would fall for a thug like Billy. So there had to be layers to these people. Billy was capable of becoming a better man -- in the right hands -- and Maddy couldn't be what the rumors claimed. It turned out Maddy was something else, but she was still a good woman. The finest lady Billy's ever known, and he worked at being that better man, worth Maddy.
The negative is Maddy is married. Her husband married her for political reasons -- he wants to be the Lieutenant Governor of California. And he'll do anything to get there. Include have people killed to further his goal. Billy suspects the man, so he sets out to prove it.
Since this is HEA Billy and Maddy end up together, but the road to their HEA is very rocky indeed. Since this is my first historical it will be interesting to see if my gamble that I'm not the only one who would find a romantic-suspense novel set in the 1920s fascinating. I hope so. I have other novels planned in the same time frame. The next one is about a good, upright cop called Ben Carter, who meets an wannabe actress, Anna Marie Daniels (Daniels was my mother's maiden name) who's not quite so upright as Ben. Seeing how they end up together is going to be an interesting journey.
Award winning author of the L.A. crime novels.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Romance? Didn’t read it. None, zip, nada. Too trite, I’d heard—the novels always ended the same way—happily-ever-after. Same plot, boy meets girl, they fall in love, have a falling-out, make-up, get married.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked a cynical friend who only read literary works.
Then, one day in 1990, I visited a used-book store and bought a paperback by Janet Dailey titled
This Calder Range. I couldn’t put it down. Remember, I love Westerns, and this even had a HEA. I fell in love. I searched the used-book stores and eventually the library until I’d found and read all ten in the Calder series. Her latest, I believe, was released a couple of years ago. From there, I discovered LaVyrle Spencer, a master of romance writing, Dorothy Garlock, Maggie Osborne, Linda Lael Miller, and Jodi Thomas—plus many more. I still search for new authors who write exciting, satisfying Western Romance.
In 2004, I sat down and began to write a story. And yes, it was a Western romance—a historical. Probably I’ll never be in the same category with my favorite authors, but each one has been an inspiration and a benchmark for me.
Why do I write the West? I find it difficult to put into words.
The Last Frontier, perhaps? That’s the name for space exploration and Star Wars.
Romance in Sweeping Vistas with a love story set in a different time, perhaps? That’s how we describe novels set in early Scotland.
The Era of the Strong, Silent type who always gets the girl while he brings justice in full measure, perhaps? That’s how we describe Indiana Jones adventures.
See? I cannot exactly describe my feeling when I begin a new Western Historical novel, either reading one or writing one. Oh! Now I know Why I Write the West! It’s like falling in love.
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas
TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print
SHOWDOWN IN SOUTHFORK—eBook
ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS-eBook and Print
As I sit here among the modern world of jangling cell phones, endless boring meeting and traffic jams, I ask, how can the modern world be romantic?
The commonplace, the everyday, is not the stuff of fantasy. Take me to a world lived against a background of life and death struggles, a vivid time, different from my own, but not too different, where vast possibilities reign--and that I can experience from a safe distance among all the modern conveniences.
Welcome to the English Regency. This historical period ran from 1811 to 1820, when George III of England went mad and Parliament appointed his son, the Prince of Wales, as Regent to rule in his stead.
But the Regency is an elastic term and can encompass the time from the French Revolution to Victoria's reign. The Napoleonic wars, that decades-long struggle which could have sounded England's death knell, occurred then. The literary giant Jane Austen lived and wrote in its midst. The time was one of extremes, of fabulously wealthy aristocrats and desperately poor commoners. But the era was also one of transition, when the old world, which defined a person solely by his birth, slowly and with great reluctance, yielded a new world where a person could make his own destiny.
The period was elegant, at least among the rich. In general, Regencies are tales of the upper classes two centuries ago. I love the sparkling conversation in these stories, the elegant manners and beautiful clothes. If I had lived then, most likely I wouldn’t have been the pampered lady of the house, but a poor servant, even more overworked and underpaid than I am now.
But in the realm of these books, I am the young, beautiful Lady of Quality, married to the same husband I have now, but who’s been transformed into a young, gorgeous hunk. We're both filthy rich so I can do what I like and not have to sit in boring meetings.
And I have all the modern conveniences. Ah, what a fantasy.
Thank you all,
Enjoy Some Historical Hilarity!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Taglines are used for many reasons, but what is their purpose?
A person's time and attention span these days is so short that you have to get their attention and then hold it. A Tagline about your book must convey the heart of the story -- a dramatic, but basic overview. Taglines are also used to give people an insight into what you write. My tagline is 'Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality' -- this should tell the author exactly what kind of stories I write in a nutshell. Coming up with one for your story may take a few more words, but keep it short and always one sentence. For A Psychic Hitch, I use 'Cheri London wants a baby, but not the man.' This should give the jist of the storyline, but also leave unanswered questions -- make them curious.
Book trailers are no more than a teaser -- a venue to entice the viewer to buy the book. You think writing a synopsis for a 50,000 book in less than five pages is hard, well, it's nothing compared to this.
The reader needs to feel the emotional tug, they want to know more, and a reason to rush off to buy it. How do you do this? Use the emotions -- reach right out and twist the heart just enough to hook them.
Find the scene which stands out as an emotional kicker and choose snippets, no more than six words. Or you can write snippets which coincide. Find music at royalty free site and carefully choose a piece to reflect the story and the scene. Gather up photos at royalty free sites, keeping in mind the characters, what they look like - color of hair and so on.
Now you have everything for the video in one place. I use Windows Movie Maker, so then I upload the photos and music to it. It's time to make a masterpiece.
Blending images and text to the music, hitting the right tempo at the height of the scene is important. I find my program easy to work with. You simply place the images and text in the timeline bar in the order they should appear and choose the pacing - how fast it changes from one image to another. It's important they glide from one to another rather than come off choppy.
With A Psychic Hitch, I used music to tell the story. The lyrics are perfect while the photos give the gist of Cheri's conflict and that is 'the man'. This was my first attempt two years ago, so yeah, if I did it again, I'd do it different. I'd use text and maybe focus more on the hooking with a teaser; draw on the emotions. I might yet redo it, and make one for the other two books.
Since I ventured out in the book trailer world, Windows has improved the functions of Movie Maker. This helped making the second video so much easier. Also, I have a graphics program in which I can add text to anything. I did this with my second video where I used text from my brochures to introduce to people what kind of an author to expect from me. What I don't like about the video is the sharp end of the music. I had shortened it to meet the images. When I go to redo it in order to incorporate a review for my new book, I'll have to figure out what to do about it.
Do you have a tagline? For you as an author? For each of your books?
Check out Lindsay's Romantics June 23 for my post on Interviews.
Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality
Jewel of the Sun's Blood Destiny - paperback
Last Glass of Wine
A Psychic Hitch
Servin' It Up
Love, Stalker of the Heart
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
My historical romance, A Knight's Enchantment, is released today by Kensington Zebra. This is my third knight novel, the other two being A Knight's Vow and A Knight's Captive. They take place in different time periods and different places, but all have knights as their heroes.
For me the appeal of a knight isn't his shining armour or his wealth. It isn't even the knightly code which he would be supposed to follow: too often in the middle ages, such ideas of courtesy and honour applied only to the nobility and no one else. But a knight as a protector - now that appeals.
My heroines, too, are great rescuers. In A Knight's Enchantment, Joanna is striving to free her father from captivity and throughout the novel she 'rescues' the hero Hugh, prompting him to reconsider many part of his life and his relations with his family.
Their early encounters are fraught, as neither is sure they can trust the other and Hugh especially makes wrong-headed assumptions about Joanna. He has his own powerful reasons for seizing her, but his self-justifications are flawed. Later he realises and admits this and they join forces.
You can find more details, the 4-star Romantic Times review and an excerpt here.