Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Geeky Analysis of Rogue's Descriptors for Gwynn in A Covenant of Thorns

Rogue's Paradise, the long-anticipated third book in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy, released on September 8. That means readers are finally getting their paws on it and - best of all - sending me messages about how much they love it.

Fortunately they're loving it!

There were some pretty high expectations built up there...) At any rate, one reader asked me if anyone had counted Rogue's endearments/descriptors for Gwynn over the three books. What a fun question! And no, no one to my knowledge had. So I decided to.

See, the premise is that Gwynn is a scientist and university professor who is accidentally transported to Faerie. Once there, she meets a fae noble named Rogue. They naturally don't speak the same language, but a version of mental telepathy allows her to understand the intent behind what people are saying to her and vice-versa. So, his name isn't actually "Rogue," but that's the meaning she understands from what he tells her it is. Likewise, she's actually Jennifer, but he hears the name meaning and calls her Gwynn, an affectionate shortening of Gwynhwyvar (or Guinevere), which is the Celtic root of the name Jennifer. Most of the time, however, when he talks to her, he's essentially saying "you," but shaded with however he's feeling about her.

Thus he calls her lovely Gwynn. Or foolish Gwynn. Or stubborn Gwynn. Or clever Gwynn.

And so on.

So, to begin, here's a table of all the descriptors over the three books, Rogue's Pawn, Rogue's Possession and Rogue's Paradise, in order of first occurrence:
You can see from the table that both the number of different descriptors, as well as the number of descriptors overall (which counts repeat uses), increases significantly over the three books. Here's a pretty chart illustrating that.

Some of this reflects the amount of time they're together over the course of the books, but also a growing familiarity. Which descriptor is used most changes, too.

In Rogue's Pawn, he calls her "lovely" more than anything else, followed by "beautiful." This reflects his ongoing attempts to flatter and seduce her, which continue into Rogue's Possession. Most interesting, his use of the simple "my" as a descriptor increases over the course of the series. Here's all of the descriptors and how their incidence changes.
That's kind of an overwhelming chart. This is better, a list of the descriptors he uses only in the second two books:


And only in the third book:

my dear
my forever

I love how the progression of these words reflects both his changing regard for her and the deepening of their relationship. Finally, this is my favorite chart of all:

She gets more powerful over time. Something Rogue recognizes and values.

Doesn't get better than that.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Let Me In

A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.

It's no secret that I love to read, write, and watch vampires. So it surprised me that I missed this film. I hadn't even known it existed. Someone from Canada was chatting with me about this movie (It's on the Canadian Netflix.) The movie came out in 2010.

Here's the Trailer

The movie appealed to me. It's old school vampire, which I'm a huge fan. I like it when the vampire actually acts like a monster and not a human with a blood fetish. The actress who played the vampire did a beautiful balancing act of innocence and cunning.

I highly recommend this movie to vampire fans who want a new spin on the genre.

Annie Nicholas

author of the ANGLER series

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A new world

Recently I wrapped up the Magic Born series after three years of working on it. The last book of the trilogy, Firewall, won't be out until December, but all of the writing and editing is completed. All that's left is promo for that final book when it's released. So it's been a while since I started something completely new. It feels like starting all over again, in more ways than one.

After twelve novels and novellas, I've learned some things about my writing process. There are certain things that seem to be part of the process every time. For instance, at around the ten thousand word mark I always wind up stopping briefly to work up a detailed outline. Then around the twenty thousand word mark, I have to stop or at least slow way down and work all the doubt out of my system. There's always plenty of doubt. Doubt about the story, the plot and characters. Doubt about my ability as a writer and that I'll be able to do justice to my ideas and my hopes for the story. Doubt that anyone will want to publish and read it. When I say I have to work all that doubt out of my system, what I really mean is I have to push past it, because the doubts never really go away. By the time I get to thirty thousand words, I've got a book on my hands and it takes a lot to slow me down past that point.

What I've also learned is that every book is different in some ways. Starting a new manuscript can feel like learning to write all over again. Immersing yourself in a new world can be a lot of fun, but there can be a lot of wrong turns, too. That initial period of discovery and exploration, as you map out the plot and develop the characters and dive into research, is both exhilarating and a little scary. Sometimes it takes some heavy focus to fully get your head out of the old world of a previous series and into the new. Just getting back into the routine of daily word count can be tough at first. I'll have weeks of managing only 500 words one day, then 1500 the next, only to not get any other day. It takes time for the story to get rolling and to settle back into a routine. Once things gel, I tend to get between 1200 and 1700 words a day.

Mostly I'm having fun as I work on something totally new. My head was primarily in the Magic Born world for three years. Learning my way around a new world is exciting. Right now I'm at that twenty thousand words and all the doubt stage. Even so, it feels really good to be developing a new world for a new story, with new characters and different rules for the paranormal aspects. For me personally, it’s the best time of year to be starting a new manuscript. Autumn is my favorite time of year. Everything about it is inspiring to me. As the temperature cools and the nights lengthen, I can feel my creative energy on the rise and my excitement about this new story begins to trump all the doubts and fears.

Add a little pumpkin spice to my coffee, and I should have a brand new book in no time!


Learn more about Sonya Clark as www.sonyaclark.net

Saturday, September 13, 2014

New Beginnings

For the first thirty-one years of my life, September meant back to school—first as a student, then as a teacher. September always meant a new teacher or a new class of students. It was a time to begin again. A starting over, as it were. Learning from the past, trying something new.

We need opportunities to begin again. In my writing career, I took a chance to begin again when I self-published my out-of-print book, Switched. Definitely a challenge. My learning curve was a lot steeper that first time. After five books, the curve has flattened a little, although each time I feel like I’m starting from scratch.

A new beginning is the theme of The Chameleon, the second book in my Outer Rim series. It is a stand-alone book, as are (will be) all the books in the series, connected by location and recurring characters. In The Chameleon, the heroine is fed up with playing the role of a ditz in order to help her father. She desperately wants to run the family business. She’ll do anything to prove to him that she’s capable. The hero has his own dream and is steadily working toward the day when he can leave behind his current job to start his own business.

Two dreams, two new beginnings.

Legally Blond meets Mata Hari

Socialite Jileena Winslott has perfected the image of the spoiled, rich, bubble-headed daughter of an industrial magnate. In reality, she’s a smart, savvy aide to her father in social situations where she is his eyes and ears. She yearns to be her true self and run the family business. When her father sends her on a covert mission to the Outer Rim, she has the chance to prove herself. Big problem. He insists she take along a fake fiancĂ©—the man she’s secretly loved for years.

Security Officer Laning Servary has better things to do than babysit a spoiled rich girl on a tour of the Frontier. If he refuses, he can kiss his career good-by. Then Jileena’s father sweetens the pot. If Laning keeps her safe, his family will receive the land they share-crop. He can’t refuse.

In the close quarters of her ship, Laning and Jileena discover they aren’t who they seem. Pirates, weather, and her recklessness threaten to derail the mission. As Laning and Jileena revise their impressions of each other, they’ll have to make hard choices about their goals. Can their budding love survive?

The Chameleon is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Smashwords.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I was thinking about settings recently, because I hate flying and reading can sometimes take me to new locations. I really reading books set in different locations, but as I looked back on some of my favorite reads that I read over and over again I find I buy more books set in Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, Alberta.

Pretty much anywhere west and north.

I also like reading about Washington State.

Probably because I love out west.

I went out west in the summer of 2012 and absolutely fell in love with South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Alberta.

This picture is a picture just outside of Broadus, Montana at a rest stop on Highway 212. Right before hitting Big Horn country which is where Custer met his last stand.

There's something rugged and wild about the great plains, badlands and mountains.

I've started to set books in my favorite places.

Pregnant with the Soldier's Son is set in South Dakota
Mounted Release is set the in the Yukon
Private Release is set in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Wild Release is set in Jasper, Alberta
Building Bridges (In the Brought to His Knees Boxed Set) is set in Alberta

So, what are some of your favorite settings? Have you thought about settings before? Do you find you buy more books or write more books with particular settings?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"A Visit to Ancient Egypt" - New Book Trailer for Magic of the Gods!

Today I'm sharing my USA Today/Happily Ever After -recommended book trailer for my latest novel set in ancient Egypt: MAGIC OF THE NILE.

I have such a good time collaborating with Theresa McClinton of MakingItReel on these book trailers. We go back and forth on the music choice first and then try to settle on good stock photos for establishing the ancient Egyptian atmosphere. This time around she found one that was perfect - until we noticed the electric light hanging in the foreground LOL. Oops!

It's a bit more tricky to find the right images for the main characters, since often the actual cover models on the book itself may not have other suitable poses we can use. Someday hopefully I'll have the budget to do my own photo shoots in full Egyptian costume and commission actual mini movie trailers but in the meantime I think we've managed to do a good job of conveying the feeling of the book itself.

I hope you'll enjoy!

The story:
After a childhood spent scorned and ignored by her family because of her crippled foot, Tyema was magically healed then installed as the High Priestess of his temple by Sobek the Crocodile God. But Tyema is still haunted by her memories, scarred by the abuse she endured. Despite Sobek’s protection, as an adult she’s become a near recluse inside the temple grounds…
 Until Captain Sahure arrives in her remote town, sent from Thebes on an urgent mission for Pharaoh, requiring High Priestess Tyema’s help. From that moment on, her quiet, safe life is upended in ways she never could have expected.
 But after a whirlwind romance with Sahure, the two part as Pharaoh orders him to undertake another assignment on Egypt’s dangerous frontier, far from Tyema’s remote town.
 Heart-broken, Tyema is ready to return to her life of loneliness, official duties and, now, regret. But the Crocodile God has other plans for his priestess: she must uncover the sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh’s life with black magic. Soon enough, Tyema finds herself thrown into the chaos of Pharoah’s court, neck deep in intrigue and danger. Just when she thinks she can’t take the pressures of a very public court life and her secret investigation for the Crocodile God any longer, Sahure re-enters the scene.
 But is her former love there to help or to hinder? Can they resolve their differences and work together to find the dark sorcerer who threatens Pharaoh and Egypt? Will the love between a proud warrior and a shy priestess lead them to a future together?

Novel Available Now at Amazon   Barnes & Noble  All Romance eBooks  iTunes   Google Play Books Kobo

Friday, September 5, 2014

An End Signals a New Beginning

End of Summer and the end of a series. Hellacious - 3 short, irreverent, erotic, and funny novellas about triplets, all sons of Satan, whom are restless and looking for love!

Firstborn-Hellacious 3
Available today at Changeling Press!

Hell is no place for a human…unless they’re dead!

Wicked Sathariel, the eldest son of Satan, has finally met his match, and at the oddest of times, she turns up in his head. Accustomed to having his father and siblings rummage through his mind, he can’t handle his woman seeing his hellacious thoughts. And when it becomes clear she’s heaven bound – all hell breaks loose!

Lori Thornton’s psychic ability is new, and never one to control her temper or her mouth, she often finds herself in bizarre predicaments. One such event is meeting Satan’s first-born and calling him a pretty boy. When his eyes fill with hellfire and he releases horns, talons, and the long, leathery, forked tail that swings treacherously toward her, Lori knows her life is about to spin deliciously out of control.

Wicked hadn’t intended to kiss her so soon, he wanted Lori to get used to him. Eyes that rivaled his in their blueness stared at him. She ran a hand nervously through her neck-length blonde hair and her full lips quivered. The smell of her fear made him anxious, unsure. How could he make her understand he’d never, ever hurt her. “I’m going to kiss you.”
When she didn’t step back, he leaned down and pressed his lips softly to hers. His hands were now clenched at his sides as he vowed not to touch any other part of her body. Wick knew her wide hips would be soft, her plump breasts would more than fill his palms, and her nipples, taut beneath her shirt, would be so damn sweet. Easing his tongue past her lips, he tasted her for the first time. His senses reeled at the exotic flavor of who she was. Her thoughts, her needs, tumbled headlong into his mind and blinded him with the light of goodness from her soul.
Snatching back, he gazed at her long and hard. “Hell’s sake, I didn’t expect you to be so fucking devout.” Especially knowing what she desired of him. No matter, he would take her tonight, make her his. He ran the tip of a finger around a bud. “Are they hard for me, Lori?”
“Wicked… I… please, don’t…”
“I will do nothing you have not dreamed of.”
“I didn’t realize you invaded my dreams.”
“I watched them.” He smiled. “I wanted your sleep to be peaceful.”
“You can do that?”
“I can do anything I want. I’ve been through your mind a hundred times since that first night.” Shoving hands back in his pockets so he wasn’t tempted to touch her again, he tilted his head. “You’ve been in mine also.” He still couldn’t fathom how that had happened. Probably his mother’s doing. “Have you seen anything terrible enough to condemn me for?” He felt her feeble attempt at reading him, but he’d closed that pathway for now aware another would only spring up. Damn Josette.
“No, but, unlike you, I haven’t seen everything. I know it’s there, I feel it.” She averted her eyes. “You are the devil.”
“I am his son.”
“Like father, like son.”
He moved to stare out the window of his loft. Lights shone brightly from the many high-rises surrounding his building. Looking up, he saw a myriad of stars, and one shot toward Earth in a solitary path. He remembered when he was a boy Josette told him shooting stars were angels falling to Earth. Wicked never believed it. They were pieces of dying planets or stars, nothing more. “Tell me what you feel right now?”
“I can’t.”
He turned to face her and rested his hips on the sill. “Yes, you can.”
“I want… damn it, Wicked, I want you.”
He grunted. “I know what you want, tell me something else, something I don’t know.”
“You know everything there is to know.”
“I don’t know why it took you so long to come to me.” He should have had her in his bed long ago.
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve known since the first night we would be together.”
She stuttered, “I-I guess I did.”
“I scare you that much?”
He walked to her. “Yet you envision me between your thighs.” He ran a finger over her lips and sighed. “I don’t want you afraid, and I won’t take you that way.” His body shimmered in and out of view. “You will stay here.”
“Don’t leave me!”
“You can’t stand to be with me, but you don’t want to be without me.”
“Wicked, I need time.”
“You’ve had enough, but I’ll give you a little more.” He vanished, heading below to visit with his father. Relax, honey, you got what you wanted. For now.

Labor Day signals new beginnings. For me, it's the start of a new series at Loose Id - The Essentiants. First up is Healing Hell:

Healing Hell
Available at Loose Id and other ebook outlets

Healing a hell creature…
Ion Toso models and poses as a live mannequin. Weary of one-night stands, loneliness threatens to consume him until, while posing in an upscale department store window one evening he sees the perfect woman jump from a cab wearing a fake green flower on her lapel. His dormant body comes to life for the world to see. Once he finds her, convincing her to accept everything he is, even the part no one dares look at twice will not be easy. Ion is an Essentiant—an immortal creature who steals and devours souls of human vermin.

Sandy Brittingham hasn’t been out on a date for months yet pretending to enjoy another aimless blind date is intolerable. Unable to bear the thought of murmuring polite lies at the end of the night forces her to act recklessly. Before she’s seated, she snatches off the fake green flower she wore so the man would know her and tosses it into the trash. Sandy walks out the restaurant and unwittingly into the arms of a thief, but she’s not sure the model who rescues her isn’t worse.

The crowd of mostly women thinned. Some entered the store hoping to catch Ion up close and personal, others made their way into the fancy restaurant next door, and a few departed for what he guessed would be a quiet night at home. What might a lifetime with someone who truly loved him be like? He’d spent his entire existence in and out of one-night stands and short-lived relationships, which always left him seeking more.
Lately, Ion sought no one to slake his lust.
A yellow cab bumped the curb coming to a stop. The woman who exited leaned in the front window and gave the cabby a bill. Tires squealed as the driver lurched back into traffic.
Recklessness, warm weather, and a short, black skirt stretched across a plump ass caused something to happen for the first time in years while posing--Ion’s cock sprang to life. Impossible to conceal it, considering he wore only the name-brand brief. The world held ringside seats for the rise of Ion Toso’s dick. He thanked God for what little support the constricting underwear added to his pitiful situation.
Cameras flashed and fingers pointed when Ion closed his legs in an attempt to hide his predicament. He had not moved on assignment since the early days. As a live mannequin, unlike a model on the catwalk, he worked with smaller crowds so he didn’t need stringent mind control. Tonight, he lost power over the throng and was sure, with modern technology, pictures and videos already flooded social media like a storm. Unfuckingbelievable! Another round of queries regarding his real age would simultaneously bombard the airwaves.
Attention drawn by the hubbub, the woman turned and looked. Red lips curved into a smile, which distracted Ion from awful thoughts for a bit. Blonde hair curled just above her collar, and a low-cut white camisole held generous mounds peeking from the top. The fake green flower pinned to her jacket lapel marred an otherwise perfect picture. Pivoting on at least five-inch heels, she sashayed away. What a sweet ass! Ion didn’t have to look to know a drop of precum left a wet spot front and center of the snug white underwear.
In one tiny moment, internationally famous model and poser Ion Toso tumbled from his public throne.
A quick glance at the clock placed out of sight beneath the window ledge let Ion know he had ten minutes remaining. He wasn’t going to make it. Damn, growing complacent and lax, he had not taken sustenance, which would have given him more power to control the small crowd and avoid the awkward situation.
Standing, he twisted and bumped the plastic female mannequin in white lacy underwear behind him, sending it flying with a crash through the curtain. Jumping from the rise, he ignored murmurs and smirks from workers unpacking merchandise, and walked quickly down the hall. Not wishing to run into someone in the elevator, he took the stairs down to where the dressing room provided for his privacy was located.
When he entered the room, his best friend peered at his watch, set his coffee down, and stared at him. “You okay? It’s only ten till nine.” Giving Ion the once-over, Dresdan Mati burst out laughing. “I’ll be damned, you’re sporting wood.” He continued to peruse Ion’s body. “Christ, did you come in your panties?”
“Shut the hell up. They’re briefs.”

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Never Stop Learning

Except for math...I was told there would be no math 

By Maureen L. Bonatch

“School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days
Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic”  

It’s that time of year again. When the buses start to clog the early morning rush to work, the kids pack the corner bus stops showing off their ‘back to school’ clothes purchases honed to the latest fashion as a new school year begins.
After a long summer hiatus, as a parent I feel it is my job to remind my children that there are a few things they can be certain of...

1.     Mornings can and will start at a horrific hour before the sun has barely greeted the day
2.    The obsessive worries on the first day of school of what to wear will fade within the first week and by the end of the school year you’ll be throwing on any old thing just to grab a few extra minutes of sleep (make a note to yourself to be sure to put on real pants before you race out that door-- ditch the PJ pants and slippers)
3.   Listen carefully in class…because I’ll gladly help with your reading and writing assignments, but when it comes to your ‘rithmetic homework…you’re pretty much on your own 

Some things never change.
·      Like the fact that my children will disregard #3 and come to me with the insane hope that I might somehow be able to help them with square roots (hello..have you just met your mother of 13 years?)
·      And that school days may come to an end for the semester, the year, your lifetime, but education and learning is, and should always be, ongoing

It may not be in an actual classroom, and you may not ride a bus to get there and you may not have any new school clothes (perish that thought--you're the adult now, this can be a valid reason to buy new clothes)… 
...but the opportunity to learn new things is still, and always will be, there.

As a writer, there are a plethora of classes to choose from online. I know, because I have a slight addiction to continuously taking classes because there is always so much more to learn about the writing process, marketing, branding, deepening POV, writing a synopsis, social media...and much, much more.
Classes can vary in length from a day, to a week, to a month, to a year. They're held on listserves, in chatrooms, or webinars... No worries, there is no one size/class fits all! You can find what you like to take, when you like to take it and where you like to take it.

To name only a few places I’ve taken classes:

Besides combatting the mundane of the everyday and the thrill of learning something new, many studies have shown that lifelong learning helps defend against mental decline.  (And you can learn new words to throw around and toss out comments about enlightening things you've learned from your teacher and classmates)

So get out your notebooks, fire up your computer and go ahead and buy a couple new ‘back to school’ outfits.
Because even if you’re staring at a computer in your own home in your sweat pants or pajamas…you’re never too old to stop learning…
...well maybe not when it comes to square roots…but perhaps that’s just me..

“You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”~ C.S. Lewis

Visit my website, or follow me on Facebook to find out about my upcoming release: 

Destiny Calling
~Hope doesn't know if the man she can touch is a dream come true, or a nightmare just beginning


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