Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Holy cow it's Tuesday and I have no blog

Oh I have to blog today…

 

It is 8:24 AM and I am supposed to take my oldest son to camp in a few minutes so he can spend the day getting very, very dirty and loving every moment of it.  I’ll admit, I’ve been a little preoccupied and I forgot to write this last night. So forgive me, if it’s not up to par.

 

Speaking of my oldest son, his newest and absolute favorite activity is asking his father to tell him a story.  Now, as Daddy has informed him, Mommy gets paid to tell stories and yet it’s not me he wants stories from.  I understand this, despite his protests, Daddy tells great stories too.


When I look at my oldest, I see so many traits that I had myself as a child. He spends a lot of time living in is head.  At his violin recital last week, he stared at something unknown in the audience until it was his turn to play and then he played perfectly.  I would have done the same thing as a child.  I used to call it living in my head. 

 

To a certain extent, I still live that way.  Try calling me in the middle of the day to ask me about changing a sink that doesn’t fit in the kitchen renovation while I’m writing and see if you et a coherent answer from that makes any sense.  My poor husband, he attempted that yesterday.

 

 A good friend recently called my writing, my secret life, my other life.  On one hand you have me, stay-at-home Mom, volunteers for school activities, runs errands, meets for coffee, and handles bumped knees.  This is the part of me that my friends and family know. 

 

They know I have this other part of me, this thing I do, that I have started to have small successes with. They’re curious because how in heavens does this relate to the Rebecca who handed out cupcakes at the end of the year nursery school party?  How and when does she spend time thinking about dimensional travel and werewolves? 

 

I’ll answer that.  I am almost always thinking about two things at the same time. I am absolutely focused on you when you talk to me.  I listen, I compute, I remember, and I care.  But while we talk about carpooling, I am also thinking about my hero who when I went to bed last night wasn’t sure if my heroine was going to live through the night.  I can’t help it. 

 

But here’s the thing, as I prepare for the first time, to open up private imaginings, what essentially amounts to my hidden life, for the first time on August 3rd when Her Wolf: The Westervelt Wolves Book 1 release from Liquid Silver Books (www.liquidsilverbooks.com) I will be showing not only people who do not know me but all the people who I do what it is that I’ve spent my time thinking about.  I would be lying if I said that this doesn’t scare me to death. 

 

How about all of you? Have you ever had to show something to everyone you love and care about and did that scare you or am I just oversensitive?  

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Manic Monday. We’ll start the week with a few announcements. I will be interviewing RF Long next week about her new release Soul Fire due out 7/7/09.

The free read poll results are in. Looks like I’ll be writing a steamy, romantic adventure between a werewolf hero and a mermaid heroine. There was a tie between mermaid and vampire but I took the liberty to break it since the vamp/were love thing has been done many times.

A large pot of virtual coffee is brewing due to a long sleepless weekend. Not for any of the good reasons a dirty mind can visualize but for overtime at my day job. I ran across this joke a few weeks ago and it came to mind while burning the midnight oil. I wanted to share with it you so the week can start with a laugh.

Three men were hiking through a forest when they came upon a large raging, violent river.

Needing to get to the other side, the first man prayed:'God, please give me the strength to cross the river.
'Poof! . . . God gave him big arms and strong legs and he was able to swim across in about 2 hours, having almost drowned twice.

After witnessing that, the second man prayed: 'God, please give meStrength and the tools to cross the river
'Poof! . . . God gave him a rowboat and strong arms and strong legs and he was able to row across in about an hour after almost capsizing once.

Seeing what happened to the first two men, the third man prayed:'God, Please give me the strength, the tools and the intelligence to cross the River
'Poof! . . . He was turned into a woman.She checked the map, hiked one Hundred yards up the stream and walked across the bridge.

This summarizes my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Homage to an Era

Two of the world’s icons passed away Thursday. Both will be remembered by millions of fans everywhere for very different reasons.

Who didn’t know the smiling blonde-maned beauty in the red one piece swimsuit whose picture hung in places deemed special to teenage boys and men all over the world?

And the child star who became the “King of Pop” and moon walked into our lives with a glove on one hand?

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

Farrah Fawcett portrayed Jill Munroe, a private eye on Charlie’s Angels. She became the most famous of the trio of angels even though she spent only one season on the show. Her career had some ups and downs after she left the show.
Then came her dramatic role in 1984’s The Burning Bed, which earned her an Emmy nomination and the rightful status of a great actress. There was also Extremities in 1986, which was a roll she first starred in on stage. She landed on the cover of Playboy (not for the first time) in December of 1995 at the age of 50 and the magazine sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

The 1976 Life Magazine picture of her in the iconic red swimsuit is what she'll always be best known for.

Michael Jackson, a great singer – a pop icon. In the words of some of his fans: I loved his music, the greatest performer ever, I grew up on his music and I can’t believe he’s gone. There are many, many more, all proclaiming love and sadness.

Thriller, released in 1982, is still the all time top selling album worldwide. In Michael’s own words “I’m bad”. Remember Billie Jean and the infamous moonwalk on Motown’s 25? When I went to You Tube to see I’m Bad and Billie Jean, my favorite videos, it didn’t shock me that most there had views in the millions.

His singing, his voice is silent.


My thoughts are with both families. Farrah and Michael will be missed.
If you want to share your favorite songs, movies – whatever – feel free to leave a comment. Or just read and remember. Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rae's Reading Rec: Blood Tears by Raven Dane

Hey folks!

This week I'm going to do a little something different. I love to share some great reads I've come across and my latest paranormal read was a hefty one. If you like big tomes with beautiful lyrical writing amidst historical detail (and great world building I might add), boy have I got a book for you.

Blood Tears by Raven Dane.

I have to say I really enjoyed reading this book. It is very rich in scenery, language, world-building and characters. It kind of reminded me of Vampires of the Scarlet Order in that it deals with a group of vampires throughout the centuries but there in lies the only similarity. Sort of Anne Rice's vampire world-building with the language of Gabaldon's Outlander presenting a new addition to classic gothic literature. I mention this because I love books of this kind that takes vampire lore and creates a whole world around it. A world seen through their eyes as they live parallel to humans. In the world of Blood Tears, vampires are called the Dark Kind.

It's hard to pinpoint the exact storyline. It's not a high concept one where 'a and b meet c and therefore d happens' but it's more along the lines of 'there are these characters living in this particular world and this is their life through the ages'. Azrar is the Dark Prince of a small country called Isolann and he takes in a young mind reader named Khari. The story unfolds as Khari grows into her powers and learns of the world while offering her gift to help Azrar keep one step ahead of his enemies as the threat of 20th century technology and WWII is on the horizon. I really liked the dynamic between Azrar and Khari. Although he offered her a home and somewhat raised her, she falls in love with him and I had to say I was kind of rooting for them to get together. Although the end was contrary to this, it worked as Khari ended up with someone who shared her mutual love (although the Epilogue raises some interesting questions that may deter that possibility). Another Dark Kind, Eshan, also fell in love with Azrar and tries to warn the young girl that Dark Kind don't fall in love as humans do. Once Azrar did and suffered greatly for it.

There's a certain poetry within the characters because they feel like they are living and breathing. Garan, a Dark Kind who defies Azrar and choose to live by his own rules, is ruthless, a bit arrogant and rebellious but he is likeable at the same time. Sandor is the young abused worker with whom the story opens and his kindness and love for Khari and her mother figure Ileni is infectious. There's also a few side characters that have an agenda of their own amidst the Dark Kind and Ms. Dane takes great care to explore their desires, dismay and complexities as well.

I loved that Blood Tears took place in across the centuries throughout the large world wars and big events that really tie into historical reality. Every time I cracked open the book to read just a little bit I would find myself entranced in the story and the characters. I'm definitely going to check out the rest of the series to see what happens after the events of this book.

Although this was published in 2006, this is definitely going on my best reads of 2009.

If you're looking for a little something different in the paranormal vein, definitely check out Blood Tears, the first in a trilogy of tales focusing on the Dark Kind.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beginnings

The opening paragraph, or even sentence, in any book will set the tone for that book, and lay down certain expectations for the reader. No one likes a weak opening. It’s like a limp handshake—sweaty, boneless, and something you can’t wait to get away from at the first opportunity.

Consider these openers:

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea." – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“Marley was dead to begin with.” -- A Christmas Carol

“Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” – Gone with the Wind

Consider a book’s opening very much like a pick-up line. If it doesn’t grab you or is charming and exciting, your interest probably won’t be captured and you’ll walk away to be potentially tempted by a new one.

Here’s the opening paragraph for my work-in-progress:

Blood everywhere.
The abstract patterns from the violent spray dotted the rose-patterned paper of an unfamiliar drawing room, blending a macabre design with the sedate ordinary. A thick pool of ruby collected under the body of a blond-haired man, a dagger buried to the hilt in his chest, the inlaid jewels on the handle winked in the soft candlelight.
Dead.

I know, right? Kinda cool and spooky and intriguing. Well, I might be biased…

Beginnings.

The thesis paper of your whole novel. But nothing beats them. From the moment I type the opening sequence of a story, I feel such a rush, this wonderful can’t-be-beat feeling that I’m hovering on the verge of quite possibly the most wild ride I’ve ever created. I can’t wait to see where my characters go, why they get into trouble, how they’ll get out of it, when will they kiss, is there going to be a happy ending?

Sigh.

Just one of the aspects of writing that I love. So, as I post this blog, know I’m returning to the beginning of my newest book with high hopes and even higher expectations. See you at the end.

What’s the best opening of one of your favorite books you’ve read or written?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Terminator Legend & Me

So today I am going to talk about something near and dear to my heart and that is the Terminator movies and the legend behind them.  But before I do that, I’d like to first show you all this really incredible book trailer for a book called The Cain Letters and written by an author named Pierre Roustan.  It releases December 4th, 2009 from Eirelander Publishing. 


Here is the summary:


All legends have beginnings— some are worth remembering -- others are better left to darkness.

When college student, Marcus Brennan, discovers an ancient book revealing the origin of vampirism, all hell breaks loose not just in his life but for the world around him. He is holding the ultimate weapon two master vampires desire more than blood. It is the weapon that will give them the power to rule not only the Vampire Nation but all mankind.

 

It is up to Alexandra Glade, fierce and radiant vampire hunter, and her team, the Berith Lochem, to find and protect Marcus in order to prevent the unthinkable…

 

… The awakening of Cain.

Next week, I may have a book preview video I can post here. 


Personally, I can’t wait to read this book.

 

Now, onto Terminator.  Ralph and I recently went to the movies to see the newest installment of The Terminator movie.  (We got a sitter and planned it weeks in advance; this is how two people with an almost two year old and an almost four year old who are pregnant with their third son go to the movies.)  Several weeks earlier, we’d set up the same scenario to see The Star Trek Movie. 

 

I know Terminator was somewhat panned by the critics but we really enjoyed it and I think, as a good friend of ours said, really the only thing wrong with it was that it came out two weeks after Star Trek which was truly exceptional and probably the movie of the summer.

 

Anyway, as per usual, I digress.  I was quite young when the first Terminator movie came out and, in any case, I think I saw T2 first but that is neither here nor there.  Over the years, I’ve watched the Terminator movies many times and enjoyed each and every one of them. 

 

Although I knew T3 was not the favorite of most fans of the series, I loved it. Why? Because Skynet finally won.  Does that sound nuts? Yup.  Let me explain.  In the first two movies, John and Sarah Connor (okay in T1 she’s not even pregnant with him yet but they talk about him constantly) fight to stop Skynet from doing what we are told Skynet has already done.  Even after they destroy it in the first one, it comes back in 2 to try again. 

 

I guess I kind of like the idea that sometimes the inevitable is inevitable and, for me, it was nice to see that John was finally going to become the man we are told over and over again he will be. 

 

I think this is a running theme in most of my works.  If my books have nothing much in common with each other, except for the fact that they all fall within the Fantasy/Sci Fi/Paranormal Romance genre, they share this common trait.  To be honest, it wasn’t until quite recently I wasn’t even aware of this myself.  But there is a character, maybe not the hero, it could be the heroine, and he or she has a destiny to meet if only they can become the person they were born to be. 

 

Now that I am aware of this, I wonder if I will continue to do it. Hmmm….

 

Perhaps another common thread is that each of my books has a little bit of a fight scene in them.  My critique partner once asked me how my husband felt about the fact that I was a little bit bloodthirsty? What can I say?  We get babysitters to go see the Terminator movies and once upon a time I recorded the Sarah Connor Chronicles. 

 

I’m still a girl who loves romance, multi-faceted as I think so many of us are.  

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fun with a Free Read

Good Manic Monday to all. Did you have a good weekend? Are you well rested and ready to start the work week? Mine was hectic and I'm in need of a little fun.

I enjoyed writing Night at the Office and loved having the opportunity to share it. I want to produce another short story free read with a paranormal theme. Ideas and characters keep popping into my head but I thought it would be nice to get some feedback. What would you like to read?

This will be fun! Make your choices in the polls on the sidebar. We'll see where the votes lead us and what I can come with from those results. I hope to have it up before the end of the summer. I’ve a bag full of interesting conflicts to throw at them depending on what you choose.

Sorry, my original post poll function didn't work. It should be functioning now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ellora’s Cave Authors and Their HOT! Covers

HOT! Body Alert. That’s how I billed this week's post and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You’ll understand what I mean as you look at some of the hottest covers (and bodies!) around. The awesome Syneca and Les Byerley outdid themselves on these Ellora’s Cave Covers.

I ogled and drooled over my cover for a long time, made it my desktop background so everyday I can see Hard Case. The gorgeous male there has taken over my imagination, in my mind he’s become my character. I started to wonder what other authors thought about their covers. Out of that grew the selection below. With each one you get to read a little of how the cover art came about and what the author thinks about it.

Get your fans ready before you go any further, tissue in hand.
HOT!
Covers dead ahead. Enjoy.


Ari Thatcher says about HONEY:
Being an Ellora's Cave Quickie, HONEY's cover had to be chosen from a ready-made selection. That concerned me at first, but then I stumbled on the man in a suit and the woman in a little black dress. It's scripted for Honey, isn't it? Rick arrives home from work to find his wife in a sexy little black dress, and as the evening progresses, they steal moments out of the boss's sight to lose a garment or two. I couldn't have asked for a better bod for Rick, either!
http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-7314-50-honey.aspx

J. Hali Steele says about HARD CASE:
I had a vision for my cover, one that involved a man in a suit with the shirt open…
WELL! When I got the cover art, designed by Syneca over at Ellora’s Cave, it knocked my socks off. I mean is there anything more sexy than the underwear he’s wearing? The man is HOT! Hot! And that white dress shirt hanging off – he’s a man I seriously want to do business with. He is HARD CASE Period. You can find out more at: http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-7335-50-hard-case.aspx or http://www.jhalisteele.com/

Fran Lee says about OUT OF HER DREAMS:
I absolutely love my cover from fabulous cover artist Syneca over at Ellora’s Cave Publishing! I asked for a hot and cocky man with a powerful wrestler’s build, and she totally delivered!
I mentioned in my cover request that the guy has a few scars, and voila! She put a scar on his chin! I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind if all he wore were drops of water from a shower. Holy Showercaps, Batman! He has water dribbling down his shoulder and chest. How great is that? That’s called ‘attention to detail’. My guy is big and powerful-looking with latent strength and he is exactly what this author ordered for this story about a pro wrestler. One of the best cover artists I’ve seen, Syneca rocks! http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-7256-138-out-of-her-dreams.aspx

Lise Fuller says about GUARDIAN ANGEL:
I fell in love with my cover the first time I saw it. The man is exactly what I wanted. Hunky, strong--real. The body of a man who works hard. And the expression on the woman's face, well, I can just see my character in that. It's so real. Syneca, with Ellora's Cave, did the artistry. Yes, I asked for certain things, the bed being one, but what Syneca did with what I'd requested, well, it was pure artistry, talent with a dash of inspiration, I'm sure. You can drool over the cover and the excerpt at: http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-7299-50-guardian-angel.aspx

Robin L. Rotham says about ALIEN OVERNIGHT:
Call me crazy, but I was initially kind of disappointed with this cover. It was nothing like I'd envisioned—thank God! If Les Byerley hadn’t ignored my rather idiotic suggestions, I don't think AO would have sold half as many copies as it did. After I emailed my cover request for ENEMY OVERNIGHT (coming out next Wednesday!), I emailed them again and begged them to ignore my suggestions--again!--and do what they thought was best. The EC cover gods know what they're doing, so I'll take care of the writing and let them take care of the art.
http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-4642-228-alien-overnight.aspx

Paris Brandon says about NO HOLDS BARRED:
This was my first cover experience and I have to say it was wonderful thanks to the fabulous Syneca. I asked for a contemporary Viking warrior with shoulder length blond hair and I still remember the feeling I had when I opened the attachment and saw my hero just as I described him! What I really appreciated though was the intensity of longing that was conveyed with a hint of the playfulness between the hero and heroine. Those were two elements I felt very strongly about. The cover was all that I asked for and more. Syneca has my appreciation and gratitude. http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-6931-524-no-holds-barred.aspx

Lyla Sinclair says about HARD ON MISS HARDIN:
This is my first published fiction of any kind, therefore my first cover. My release date was suddenly moved up from September to June (within 10 days of when they sent the release update). After being thankful I hadn’t procrastinated on my website, I frantically emailed my editor asking, “Does the art department know? Will I get a cover soon for my website? Will I have a cover at all?” Of course, E.C.’s art department wasn’t fazed at all, and I got this sexy tidbit in my email the next day, designed by Syneca. http://www.jasminejade.com/p-7332-hard-on-miss-hardin.aspx
Well, there's not much more I can say. I hope you stop back next Friday. Who knows what I'll cook up for you. Until then: Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out. - J. Hali Steele.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brain Blockage and Musings on Writing

Writer's blahs sucks, doesn't it? I don't necessarily mean writer's block kinda blahs because if you don't feel like writing, why force it? It may read, well, forced. But not getting that mojo to write for a while, whether due to stress, work, family or just life, is a bummer. Especially when you know that contract is looking at you. (Eek!)

I've heard of some cool things that work like doing write brained exercises (word bubbles and clusters) and also mood music/movies. I personally love the latter. If I'm writing something like a paranormal I sometimes read or watch something that fits in the same kind of mood I'm writing. On the other hand, I may read a contemporary which offsets my paranormal so I'm not too lethargic when I sit down to write it. The brain, she is a strange thing!

My brain likes to give me a hard time along with my muse. Sometimes I think they conspire together just to torment me. You know, like in those old Greek plays where the gods and goddesses like to mess around with humans for their own enjoyment. That's how I see my brain and the muse. That would actually make a pretty good story: The Brain and the Muse. If anything it would help to get the writing juices again, even if it comes out a bit silly. ;-)

I know it may not be very authorly of me to say this but I think dipping into fan fiction can help writing skills. When I'm in between projects, I try to finish some of my fan fic I started a while back. I'm a huge fan of Star Trek (not the new Star Trek Wars, mind lol), Battlestar Galactica (both versions) and other spec shows but I've only really written in these two shows. Oh, yes and also a Blade fan fic which still need polishing. I don't show my stories to many people but the readers that do have been pretty happy to read them which makes me happy to write them. Sometimes that immediate feedback can help a bit also. Then, when I get that groove to go original, I'm ready to dive back into my own stuff.

Right now I'm working on my sequel to A Kiss of Ashen Twilight called Within the Shadows of Mortals. The stakes are higher than they were in the previous story and my hero and heroine, Jace and Ariya, have their relationship tested as situations really press their differences and vampire and faerie backgrounds. I stopped at a part where everything was in turmoil and some of my characters are hanging on the edge of life and death. Finally I added a new scene and will probably go back to make sure everything is falling into place. I think my muse and brain are finally letting me have a bit of leeway. ;-)

How do you guys get over writer's apathy? Do you ride it out or have little techniques to get through it?

Before I sign off, I wanted to introduce my new cover for my upcoming in-between Ashen Twilight story 'Upon a Tide of Wintry Moon'. The previous short 'From the Night, the Prince Rises' featured a son on the cover and I thought it would be cool to feature the father on the cover here. If you haven't read the series skip the next sentences cause I'm going to spoil!

I always imagined Adrian Paul of Highlander fame as my inspiration for Nightwalker Patriarch Julian Archane and I was so jazzed to find a model with a spiffy pose who looks kinda like Mr. Highlander himself to bring Julian to life. The short should be available around late July/early August time.

Happy reading and writing! :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Endings...

“How does she know you love her? How does she know you care?” – Giselle from Disney’s Enchanted.

Obviously, I’m a freak—a Disney freak to be exact. I always have been and always will be. Whether it is Walt’s single-minded determination to succeed or the promise of a guaranteed happy ending, I think we can all agree on one thing: happy endings equal romance.

What’s my current dilemma, my urgent quandary of the day?

The happy ending to my WIP. I’m two and a half chapters away from finishing my second full-length paranormal novel, and for some odd reason, I find great pleasure in making my leading man and woman work their butts off for their happy ending.

“Now, father, you're living in the past. This is the 14th century!” – Prince Phillip from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty

Yeah, that’s kinda what I feel like. As a writer, I’m parenting these characters (my children) along the road of life, throwing stumbling blocks into their path to let them grow as they weave their way around them. Then I think it’s still not enough. They don’t want it enough. I just can’t hand them a ride-off-into-the-sunset-moment. Real life isn’t that easy! So, with villainous glee I write in another shiny bit of conflict.

“Well, angelfish, the solution to your problem is simple. The only way to get what you want is to become a human yourself.” – Ursula from Disney’s The Little Mermaid

Funny, right, seeing as how my hero is a werewolf trying to be a human, and my heroine is a gargoyle trying also to be a human, little realizing they can be happy if they just accept themselves as they are. Suffice it to say there’s a curse, a birthright gone askew, a ticked off dragon, a dark angel, a stolen soul…well it’s complicated and the path to true love is not paved with the cavity sweetness of the movies.

So then, I ask you, if the stakes are high enough, does that mean the ending will be sweeter, or does that famed happy ending depend on the personalities and emotions of the central characters themselves and how they react to the very conflicts keeping them apart?

“Belle: What do you know about dreams? Gaston: “Plenty! Here, picture this: A rustic hunting lodge, my latest kill roasting on the fire, and my little wife massaging my feet, while the little ones play on the floor with the dogs. We'll have six or seven.” – from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Sound familiar? Yup, ladies, we’ve got the real life versions of fictional heroes at home as we live out our own happy endings. And what’s more, that’s fine with me because I’ll let you in on a little secret—here’s what you don’t see on the screen. Cinderella and her prince fought over the window seat in the carriage, Snow White and her beau bickered over why he didn’t ask for directions on his way over to get her, Aurora and her prince had their first spat when they each met the in-laws, and good ole Belle yelled at the beast for not wiping his paws before coming into the castle.

(And for our male readers, I'm sure our morning-breath, bed-headed, 10 year-old sweat pant wearing, haven't shaved our legs in weeks selves aren't exactly the vision of Miss America you had in mind, right? LOL)

Real life. Nothing beats it. These men we married, they’re the bomb, and something deep down within us knows that given the right mood, in just the right light and with a bouquet of flowers in hand, our guys can beat the crap out of those made up men any day of the week—and we wouldn’t trade them for anything…although, wearing a cape now and then would go a long way…I digress.

Ariel: Daddy, I love him! King Triton: No! Have you lost your senses completely? He's a human, you're a mermaid!

Parting thought for the day. No matter what the obstacle, real or imagined, nothing can stand in the way of true love or happy endings. Sappy? Maybe. Hopeless romantic? Nope, make that hopeful romantic. Every facet of life has an aspect of love in it, but it’s always there, and that’s what makes us smile at the end of a good book or movie, that’s what makes us hold hands in the park and makes us giggle for no reason.

Love—creating happy endings one roadblock at a time. Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Swine Flu is circling my house

The Swine Flu is circling my house…My youngest son has broken his arm in three places…It hasn’t stopped raining in weeks…and We’re Months Behind in Our renovation…And Yet I’m writing so I notice none of it**


**Before I start this let me say, my son is doing fine. (Well as fine as one does when one is 21 months old with two broken bones in his arm. He is not being neglected in any fashion. He has been taken to several doctors and is wearing a cast**


Sunday Morning before my youngest son broke his arm, we sat in my living room.
My Husband: Rebecca?
Pause.
Husband: Rebecca? Hon?
Pause.
Husband: Rebecca, are you listening to me.
Short answer: No.


Now please don’t take this to mean my husband is annoyed or ignored. While I’m sure he would prefer to have my full and undivided attention at all times, he knows how much I love and adore him and it’s not like at this point in our lives he is surprised I can get lost in my own head.
You see this is the problem with me when I’m writing. Nothing else exists besides what I see in my head and what I put down on paper. (Or these days type down in paper.) At that particular moment, my characters were falling from one dimension to another. No more on this, I don’t share my work before it’s contracted, I learned that one’s ideas can become someone else’s ideas out here in cyberspace. Not that I wasn’t thrilled to read Annie Nicholas excerpt yesterday. It was awesome, wasn’t it? Truthfully, I also don’t want to post anything that hasn’t been grammatically polished by a professional either. My friend Dodie loves to point the problems with the things I’ve written, after I’ve posted them. I think I’ve developed a complex. Love you Dodie.


Anyhow, I digress. When I’m writing, I am actually living in the world of my own invention. The characters are having the actual conversations that I write on paper, sitting, eating, or doing whatever it is that I’ve described them as doing. The real world ceases to exist for a little while. I can write almost anywhere and do this. The one place I can’t: airplanes, which is really a problem because I HATE to fly and if I could write on the plane, then I could forget where it was that I actually sat. But I think I’m in such a state of perpetual anxiety on the airplane nothing will help at that point.


I know this is not true for all writers. Some writers can’t write at home, some can’t write anywhere but at home. Some have to be in their ‘space’ where they won’t be disturbed or where they have written notes and made outlines. Not me. If no one was speaking to me, I could write in a bar filled with all my friends.


Do any of you have special writing places or can you write anywhere?


It’s kind of funny isn’t it, you could be sitting next to me in a coffee shop and you have no idea I’m actually not existing in the same room with you, but instead I’m off in some other dimension where the grass is actually orange.


And that’s the entire hint as to what I’m working on that you will get until I either dump it or sell it.


Best to all of you and please be careful this playground we call life this season. People do break bones.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

EXCERPT MONDAY

Welcome to Excerpt Monday. A group of authors gather once a month and share pieces of their art. At the bottom of this blog I've posted some links to other excerpts and the direct link to Excerpt Monday site where all the links are posted. Feel free to read and comment on all of them.

This piece is the opening to my sci-fi romance. Enjoy.



The Captain spoke in Denebolinese, his native language. “Sadie, the ambassador is at the airlock requesting permission to come aboard the ship.”

“Oh my cotton joy, she's early.” She stopped towel drying her hair and dropped the cloth into the laundry dispenser.

“I can stall if you need more time, Liaison.”

“I'd appreciate that, but don't let her get upset. If she does, just let her in.” She yanked open the drawer under the cot and grabbed a clean red jumper. The living quarters on a space freighter consisted of two fold-up bunks, a bathroom, and a wall-bench. Most of the ship comprised of cargo. No passenger liners came to this part of the galaxy so they needed to make due.

“The Cyngi do not upset easily. He'll wait.” The captain cut the connection.

She stopped dressing, only a leg in the one-piece suit. “He?”

Glitch, her SPDD descended from the ceiling and floated in front of her. Various symbols appeared then disappeared on its silver, reflective, round surface, much like a mirrored bubble.

“I refuse to review the file again Glitch, it’s flawed. According to that, the ambassador is supposed to be female.” She pulled her jumper on and zipped it up. Not the most flattering outfit but the Cyngi didn't care about fashion. “Access their space station's computer instead. Find out what's going on. Did they switch their representative to the Central Worlds? By the dark void, I wish they sent me more info on their race. I feel blind.”

More symbols flashed in rapid succession. She didn't need to read them. Glitch had a direct link to her internal processor and communicated directly to her brain. She suspected it did this to express emotions, like how she talked out loud to it.

“Hacking the system is only illegal if you're caught. I'm not asking you to transfer funds or anything. Just find out who's knocking on the airlock.” She ran her fingers through her tight black curls to knock loose any beads of water, and then slipped on her boots. They really weren't supposed to delve into station computer systems but what people didn't know, didn't hurt them. A flutter of butterflies took wing in her stomach. She pressed her hands to it. Maybe she shouldn't have skipped breakfast but the Denebola, who owned and crewed this freighter, were carnivores. She lost the taste for meat after her third day aboard. They promised to obtain some fruit and grains for her here, the Cyngi space station, which orbited their only planet.

This race was a mystery to the Central Worlds. They stayed aloof from aliens and never left their system. Until now. An ambassador had requested an audience with the political assembly at Center Station.

Every dignitary received a Liaison to help with translation and avoid misunderstandings between species.

They requested her.

Glitch flattened its liquid metal body into a disk shape and spun.

“Access denied? You mean they caught you trying to get in their system? Frik.” The butterflies, which fluttered, turned into lead and slammed her stomach into her gut. If this was any other station they'd get a slap on the wrist. Protected by her status as a Liaison she could get away with small injunctions. She didn't know how the Cyngi would react since they guarded their privacy. The file they sent to acquaint her on themselves held minimal information.
“You never get caught.” She whispered.

The space station orbited the Cyngi homeworld on the outer reaches of the galaxy. If they took legal action it would be a long time before the Liaison office could come to her defense. All her work with the Ziar race over the last three years would be lost and she’d paid in blood for the progress they’d made, literally.


Thanks for reading. There are more at Excerpt Monday contemporaries and historicals.

These are the paranormal romance excerpts:
Mel Berthier- Urban Fantasy
Bryn Donovan- Paranormal Romance
Babette James, Fantasy Romance
RF Long, Paranormal
Crista McHugh, Paranormal
Dara Sorensen, Paranormal
Grace Draven, Fantasy Romance
Kim Knox, Erotic- Sci-fi Suspense
Ella Drake, Sci-Fi Romance
Cate Hart, YA- Paranormal
Aislinn Kerry, Paranormal
Aithne Jarretta, Paranormal
Alina Morgan, Urban Fantasy
Kirsten Saell, Erotic – Fantasy

Friday, June 12, 2009

Are you ready?

In case you didn’t know, SCREWED releases today from Changeling Press. I thought it would be kind of nice to have two of the main characters in for a visit. For those of you who don’t know Purple P Rose, she’s a private investigator. Her partner, Richard E Rection couldn’t be with us today. But I see Peter Hard made it.

Hi, Purple and Peter, I’d like to welcome you both to Paranormal Romantics and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Peter, I love your suit. Black looks good on you.

Peter: Thank you. I’ve been told I’m rather extraordinary. Can we move this along? I’ve got better things to do but Purple needed an escort. Anything for my pretty.
Purple: Peter, I’ve told you not to call me that. Pisses me off royally.
Peter: I like Pretty. Oh, all right. I’ll call you Purple. But just for today.
Purple: Go to hell.
JHS: Excuse me? Can I have your attention, please? I’d like to ask you a few questions. Purp, I hope you don’t mind if I call you that, how did you and Peter meet?
Purp: This…this bloodsucker did some kind of witchy stuff to poor Dick at the Mons Venus where we were working on a case and now he’s a partner. So I’ve got to put up with his shit all night. Except when he runs off to see his followers. I’ve not met any of them yet.
Peter: Is that what bothers you? I can introduce you. One in particular can’t wait until he gets his…hands on Dick. He loves blonds. A few of them would enjoy having you too. They’re aware I’m the only one who can have your delicious blood.
Purp: No body has me that I don’t want to have me and I’ll give my blood to whomever I choose.
Peter: If I say they can have you, they can have you. If you’re not careful, you won’t feed tonight.
JHS: This isn’t going well. Uhh, do the two of you mind if I let the readers see the blurb for SCREWED and we tell them where they can get it?
Peter: Go right ahead. She’ll be fine in a minute. She gets upset when she doesn’t get her way or when she’s hungry. You hungry, Pretty? Want a bite?
Purp: Kiss my a….
JHS: Hello! Here’s the buy link at Changeling Press: www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1165

Here’s the blurb:

An irreverent poke into the world of Women’s Erotica.

Purple P. Rose is a brash private investigator. Her latest case has her visiting the city’s seediest nightspot, the Mons Venus, with partner and boyfriend, Richard E. Rection. Their new case is full of surprises -- especially when Dick “discovers” he’s bisexual.

They are both unaware there’s a new and slightly sinister being in town -- Peter Hard, a vampyre who enjoys the taste of women and men alike. He’s chosen Purple to be his. Ready to claim her, he uses his powers to coerce Dick to bring him in as a partner.

Their lives will never be the same again.

We kinda doubt yours will, either.

JHS: That sounds rather interesting. Can one of you explain why this book is an irreverent poke into the world of Women’s Erotica?
Purp: I think it has to do in part with our names: Purple P Rose, Richard E Rection and Peter Hard. Also, I am colorful and have quite a way with words.
JHS: Why are you smiling?
Purp: Dick usually has an erection and Peter…
Peter: Is always hard, at least for you, baby. And Dick too. Wonder what he’s up to? If he’s hanging out at the Venus watching Boyd’s ass and daydreaming about those lips on his…umm…body parts, he won’t eat either.
Purp: We can feed ourselves you know. Except I do love the taste of…
JHS: Sheesh! Enough already. Let’s give the folks a break. Here’s a small excerpt for SCREWED:
It was the crack of dawn. Purple P. Rose woke up with a hairy one in her face -- Boyd’s ass. Shit, had she had too much to drink? She couldn’t think straight. Everything was askew -- even the view out of her ritzy loft’s window. The trees appeared to bow and wave at her as she listened to the shower run in her bathroom.
What the hell had happened last night? Something about the new guy. She looked back at Boyd, who still slept peacefully. Purp gazed across the park and tried to remember. She did have some memories intact -- the worst being her partner Dick. She thought he’d gone soft. Maybe not. She shook her head to clear the clouds of confusion.
Richard E. Rection was a real son of a bitch known as Dick to his friends. Purp found she’d rather have no one else back her up in a tight spot. He’d done that last night. Warmth crept down her thighs as she turned over the pictures in her mind of what she could remember. She’d seen a new side of Dick. Flashes came to her in living color.
They’d checked out the club Mons Venus, a cheap strip joint on the Westside, as planned. The girls there were known to go all the way with customers. So, needless to say, the place stayed full.
Every nut-sac in town turned up at Mons Venus. Purp and Dick had met there last night to interview a bartender involved in their latest case. It wasn’t their usual type of job, but she’d taken it for the money. Car repairs had left her flat broke, and it was the first of the month, which came too fast lately.
Her real problem -- so did Dick.
Now she remembered. He’d been the first to interview the bartender in question. Dick then disappeared with him to a room behind the stage.
After he’d left, Purp ordered her second gin and tonic. She’d decided to enjoy the show. The girl on stage had hair the color of a magnificent western sunset. The bush between her thighs carried the same flaming color. Red knew the pole she used intimately. Purp’s panties were soon full of morning dew. But it was nighttime and she wanted to be full of something else. A hefty dick, a sliver of tongue, it didn’t matter. Anything would do the job right now.
A tremor of premonition lanced through her. She studied the other patrons. As she looked around, her eyes lit on a dark corner table. Someone stared back at her from the table there. She could make out the outline of a body. Male. Smoke wafted around him, obscuring his face. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach, and her pussy clenched on itself. Who was he and why was he watching her? It wasn’t the first time she’d had the feeling lately. Shit, just what she needed -- the witchy stuff following her around.
Purp shook it off and felt her side for the gun holstered there. The wave of raw lust that slammed into her left her weak. Between her thighs, her cunt pulsed. She went through life horny, but what hit her now was hell.
Dick hadn’t returned, so Purp went to find him. What she found didn’t shock her. Not much did nowadays. She’d opened the door to the room where she heard thumping and bumping inside, and found him in a big wingback chair with his pants around his ankles and the bartender’s face buried between his muscular Adonis-like thighs. Purp had never seen Dick in this light. Hmm.
“Purp --”

Peter: Why’d you stop there, it was just getting good?
Purp: Peter you’re such an ass. Maybe some people don’t want to read about our colorful, sordid life.
Peter: Sordid? Who says? Purple, dinner for you tonight is going to be cold as hell.
Purp: And what’s new? Your blood is always cold.
JHS: By the way, I understand you starred in a video? Let’s tell everyone where they can see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqyHFOW35e0.

I want to thank you both for dropping by. Maybe next time you can bring Dick along. In the meantime I’ll let everyone know where they can reach me.
You can find me at: http://www.jhalisteele.com/, http://www.sovereignkind.com/, I’m on Facebook as J Hali and I can be found here every Friday. Remember: Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Love Scenes in Paranormal Romance

Okay this is a segue from Rebecca's great alpha post on Tuesday as a chat a little about the evergreen topic of sex/love scenes in paranormal romance. These days the two are sometimes synonymous in publishing so I'll be coming from a little bit of a different area.

Is it necessary? Not at all. Some readers think the smexier the better but you don't exactly have to delve into the land of TMI to give the full force of a love scene or the connection between the heroine and hero. With a little description of emotion and characterization, a sensuous love tale can be told without taking the reader completely out of the story with shock value.

Put yourself in reader's shoes when considering your story. Is a love scene necessary at all? Does it fit with the characters? Some paranormal romance and UF books put on the sex to give conflict (or as the obstacles themselves) but many a times I've seen the story fall completely flat due to forced sexual tension between the heroine and her love interest. One story even started right off the bat with a kickin' action scene only to fall on it's face once one of the love interest(s) entered the picture. Realistically, would you stop in the middle of a fight just to make oogle eyes at the hot guy? Would you drop kick aside your job just to hop in with the next pretty face? Probably not, unless you want to die with one last smile on your face.

Focusing on the Paranormal Romance genre for now, romance has always depicted a relationship between the hero and a heroine. The couple works to overcome obstacles so they can be together and walk off into the sunset with an HEA. With the rise of the paranormal bit, there is an addition of an otherworldly nature. A bit of our own world but much more extraordinary. The world is open with all sorts of goodie magical creatures like elves, wolves, shape shifters, vampires and more in a battle for good and evil. The human world interacts with the magical world and often times an allegory of humanity itself. Urban fantasy doesn't exactly focus on the relationship but can also feature a love scene or two as well as a romance for the backdrop of the main story which paints the world. Most romance readers expect the hero and heroine to get together eventually and "consummate" their relationship. Nowadays the door is open on the bedroom, as so many editors and agents point out, which can be a good and bad thing.

Good because you can reveal a lot about how the couple feels about each other. Through a love scene, their feelings about each other and love itself can be revealed through how they touch and relate to one another intimately. Some psychologists say that how a couple relates outside the bedroom is just as important (if not more) as to how they relate inside of the bedroom. This is true for romance characters as well. How does he look at her? How does she treat him in front of other people? I love a good amount of sexual tension between my h/h whether reading or writing. I love to see the chemistry build over the course of the story along with that friendship that cements the bond leading to a satisfying HEA. A love scene doesn't HAVE to be there for me to enjoy the story and sometimes a love scene can even kill a story for me if it's too much and too soon. Which leads us to the:

BAD side of open door bedroom scenes and sex heavy PR. Most times I just don't want know or hear about weeping/crying/seeping orifices. Instead of dragging me in it can pull me away from the story and I've heard some readers voice the same feeling. I like sexual tension as much as the next gal but I believe the tension can be achieved and fulfilled without getting too in your face as it builds over time. Some stories rely on bedroom scenes to advance the story and I think this is a grave mistake, unless you're going for a certain audience. Plots often fall flat and the reader ends up getting mad if they are sold one story and end up getting something completely different. I've had this happen to me recently and I was not a happy reader.

Sexual tension and love scenes can't be used to advance the plot or as a way to skip ahead to advance the relationship if you are going for the romance, paranormal or fantasy audience. Every house needs a foundation to stand on and the story itself is the house. The characters, conflict, et al build that foundation for the story to stand on. If these are forsaken for random occurrences just to justify love scenes, that foundation is going to fall apart.

On the other hand, love scenes can still be achieved even if the bedroom is closed. Using wording to show the closeness of the couple can suffice even if you give a short summary of the couple finally coming together. I like to involve my readers body, mind and heart when they read one of my romances and I love it when authors do this in books I'm reading. More than just seeing how the h/h's body parts react to one another, I want to know how they feel. How soft their touch is, how tender they are with one another and how passionate and sweet the kisses are. Each character is different and how they treat others, especially the ones they come to care about, will unravel throughout the story with the love scene being a culmination of everything coming together.

A little goes a long way and with dialogue and some clever description, an author can have their readers on the edge of their seat with racing hearts and heated blood pressure without having to go completely into a drag out knockdown play by play. ;-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's Talk Villains

My topic today is about the villains. The low-down dirty, I-can’t-believe-they-said-that, the people we love to hate bad guys/girls that can make or break a story. Yeah, them.

As much as romance readers root for the hero and heroine, you’ve got to admit, deep down, there’s something about the antagonist that makes the heart pitter-pat. Why? Not because we’re in love with the bad guys (although I will freely admit there have been some that I wished would have given the hero a bit more fight) it’s just because they’re so dang bad that we can’t wait to see what else they’ll do. How difficult will they make it for the hero/heroine to get together? Will they really kill Our Hero? (although, in recent days I’ve been irritated the villains have plenty of time to kill the hero but they waste it by talking about how they’ll kill them. Just do it already!) But that’s a post for another day…

When I first dabbled in romance writing, I was still a fresh-faced, bright eyed kid in school, content to entertain my fellow students with my scribbles in many, many notebooks. I had a creative writing teacher in high school who once said “Your hero is only as good as your villain.” Back then, I was like sure, whatever, villains can’t be good—that’s why they’re villains not heroes. But later on as my writing evolved and I learned I didn’t know all I thought I knew back then, those words returned to me.

And what is more? That teacher was right.

You see, a hero can’t stand on his own. He needs someone bigger and badder than he to create conflict, add drama, and be an all-around pain in the butt so the reader wants the bad guy vanquished and the hero to prevail. On the other side of the coin, a villain can’t exist without the good guy, otherwise, all his oozing underhandedness has nowhere to go. Sure, the villain has minions, but minions have agendas of their own and they’re a dime a dozen to a really good villain.

So, the better you write the villain, the better your hero will look when he defeats the supreme pain. Whether the Ultimate Problem in your novel is a demon lord, a mad scientist, a thwarted lover, or a mentally deranged killer, it doesn’t matter. These people have one goal: to stop your hero from reaching his HEA. The more roadblocks the Ultimate Problem creates, the more the reader will root for the hero.

Why?

Because every one of us has an Ultimate Problem to deal with in our own lives. Annoying relatives, delinquent mortgages, crappy job, broken-down car, sickness, bullies, whatever it is, you can bet it needs vanquishing. The stakes are high and will probably rise higher, but when the rubber meets the road, we are the heroes in our own tales and we will beat the Ultimate Problem—our villain. There is no other option. Do it or die. Fight and die free.

Readers aren’t stupid and neither are authors. When we write, we pour our heart and soul into the story. We’re wordsmiths, story-tellers, and anthropologists, but we also infuse the books with a little truth. The villain in a story can always represent whatever is going on in the author or reader’s life, and we always want the hero—the author or reader—to win. We quest for the happily ever after that sometimes we don’t have in our own lives but we want desperately.

And if reading books can make us braver, even for a tiny minute, then more power to all of us. So, ladies and gentlemen, feel free to take up your imaginary sword and slay that make-believe dragon. Empower yourself with the fantasy and maybe, just maybe, the villains in our real life won’t seem so scary after all.

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you back here next Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Paranormal Hero: The Quintessential Alpha Male

Before we get started, since everyone is posting their book covers, lets post mine. I don’t have a release date yet, but it’s called Her Wolf: The Westervelt Wolves Book 1 and it will be available at some point from Liquid Silver Books . They have a great catalog of books that I suggest you check out if you’ve not been there. (I have sold other books but I have no book covers for them yet, as soon as I do…and all of you authors know how I’m nervously waiting for them…I’ll post them here.)

So, having gotten that out of the way, I decided today to talk (write) about the Paranormal Hero, our Alpha male. To give credit where credit is due, this idea stems from a conversation I was having via e-mail today with the extremely talented author Sandra Sookoo . So thank you giving me the idea for this post, Sandi, otherwise I’m not sure what I would have written today.

Anyhow, one of the things a reader should be able to count on when reading a Paranormal Romance is that the hero will be of the Alpha Male variety. If you’re writing a romance, and I’m still relatively new to this so if you have a different opinion please tell me, I am completely willing to admit to being wrong, you want your reader to fall in love with the couple. There needs to be chemistry, mistrust, betrayals, misunderstandings, and ultimately a Happy Ever After that leaves everyone feeling satisfied. Some people would argue that there also needs to be sex but this is not something I’m going to discuss today. I think we’ll leave that for Annie Nicholas, Rae Lori, J. Hali Steele. They are much better on that topic than I am.

In the contemporary genre, sometimes you can get away with having a less than dominating man as the hero. Our heroine can be a highly successful, genius in her own right with a child she has no father for, and fall in love with the subtle, gentle dentist down the street who is happy to watch her shine.

This is true also in the historical. Our heroine is so abused from the terrible destruction of World War I that she falls in love with the almost blind American soldier who has come over and really just wants to spend the rest of his days growing grapes on her family’s vineyard and it is his gentle soul that attracts her.

Actually I wish I could write these stories. I would love to read them. I’m half-obsessed with historical romances at the moment (Must be the fact that I’m watching The Tudors religiously on Show Time.) But every time I sit down to try to write something, someone ends up having supernatural powers. I have therefore accepted that my creative bug is drawn to the weird and mythical and I’m leaving it at that.
But the Paranormal hero is not a gentle soul. Maybe he has one under layers of violence and mysticism but it is not so obvious at the start. Let’s face it, do we want to see a Wolf acting like a Mouse? No. Part of what makes it interesting to read about Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Ghosts, and any other being you can imagine is the very danger associated with them. Let’s face it, the Vampire might drink your blood and accidently/on purpose kill you.
It’s the fact that we write them, and read about them, and they are so on the edge, so close to losing control but don’t (or maybe do but that’s a topic for another day) that makes them so fascinating to read about.

I don’t think you can write a Paranormal Hero that isn’t a true Alpha Male, otherwise he doesn’t seem to fit the genre. In real life, we don’t want our men telling us what to do all the time (god help them if they try) but in the world of the Paranormal that’s what we love about them.

There is an exception to this statement and it comes in some of the Vampire novels, and to be honest, it is why I read a very select few Vampire novels at this point. Sometimes a Vampire hero can spend half the book (or more) lamenting. You know the kind: “Oh dark night, why was I called to thee? Where is the light to my very dark soul who will bring back the sun to my never ending darkness?” Some people love this but when I read it, I feel like screaming ‘gag me with a stick please.’ But this is a personal preference and in all truth those vamps are still Alpha males as they talk their women into becoming the Undead by the end of the book.

I hope you’re all well. Do you have a favorite Alpha male? Do you like the Vampires who lament? All opinions are most wanted.
Best,
RR

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ghosts, Poltergeists, and Spirits Oh My!

Good day! I’ll be starting your week so pull up a chair, the cyber coffee is fresh and strong. Do a stretch and pop those joints, time to get the weekend out of your system and get your spirit in gear.

Do you believe in ghosts? I do and I’m not alone. There are books and television shows dedicated to this subject. Many theorists debate the different phenomenon but I don’t care too much about the proof. It’s the stories that draw my attention. I love hearing about people’s experiences with the supernatural, a small taste of the true paranormal in our lives.

The movie ‘Ghost’ comes to mind when I think of the romantic aspect. I cried when Patrick Swayze’s character said good bye to Demi Moore before stepping into the light. They were lucky to have the chance to say their farewells but things like this only happen in movies. Or do they?

I collect ghost stories from people I’ve met. It’s an odd hobby. My mother dreamed she took my grandmother to the ocean and stood on the shore with her. In the morning she received a phone call, her mother passed away during the night. A seventy year old soldier returned to Europe to visit his fallen comrades’ graves. He passed away that night at the hotel in his sleep. Coincidences? Maybe.

Ever have a spooky moment? An unexplained apparition or experience? Share it with us over our cyber coffee. Cream? Sugar?

Friday, June 5, 2009

HAPPY FRIDAY, JUNE 5TH

It’s Friday already! What a week this has been. Paranormal Romantics had a wonderful opening day and an awesome week of posts. You’ve read about dragons, vampyres (Yeah, on my day it will be spelled in the old English way with a ‘y’ plus I like how it looks) anyway, I digress. We’ve read about book addicts, sci-fi and fantasy. One thing is for sure – it’s all been about the paranormal and romance.

In my particular case, erotic paranormal romance. In their form of a cat, vampyre, angel or demon, they’ll bite you or eat you, but most of all they’ll make pure, unadulterated love to you. If you have any doubt of what I mean pick up a copy of WITH EXTRA CREAM – it’s in there. Next week you can peek inside SCREWED – it’s in there.

In the weeks to come there will be much more. We intend to fascinate you and pull you in with tidbits and big bits of information. We’ll talk about our books, of course, but also tell you about others. We’ll keep you excited and interested in everything romance.

Annie, Rebecca, Sandi and Rae – you’re a hard bunch to follow and I hope I can live up to the standards you’ve all set. Annie thank you for bringing us together. Sandi, leave a first place or good review for the rest of us – congratulations on Winner Takes All – it’s certainly living up to its name by taking the number one spot at Desert Breeze.

I hope to snag a few wonderful fellow authors to interview and I’ll be asking them to bring along their furry or fanged friend. Should they have scales or slime, that’s their problem, but I’ll deal with it. I’ll delve into the character’s psyche and his creators thought process. There will be days of good old fashioned hunks, nothing fancy, just a picture of a hot body. But who knows, I might throw in a Purple P Rose-like lady here and there. Friday is my day and I’ve also dubbed it Furday, Fireday and Freeday. Anything goes. So be prepared for some crazy fun times. I’ll be knocking on doors for hot, hot book covers. If you’ve got one, send it my way. Now, what you have been waiting for, have been dying to know…

What does gingerbread and electricity have in common?

On June 5, 1752, Benjamin Franklin harnessed electricity from lightning with a kite and a key. Since then, June 5th has been known as Fly a Kite Day in America. Still, if thunder is heard and lightning is spotted, take your butt in the house.

Gingerbread cookies, gingerbread boys and gingerbread houses may be the stuff of Christmas celebrations. Still, June 5th is Gingerbread Day. This is the day when bakers brew up sweet muffins, cakes and baked delights, filled with tangy gingery deliciousness. Scandinavian bakeries, in particular, emit the tempting aroma of Pepparkakors, the traditional Swedish gingerbread cookies.

Gingerbread Day is the ideal occasion for reading the beloved Grimm's Fairy Tale of Hansel and Gretel with children of all ages. Didn’t they try to burn that poor old lady up? Hmmm…I’ll have to read that story again.

Some other little known June 5th facts, thanks to the Brookston Almanac:

1st Vegetarian Community established (Kansas; 1856)
National Brewers College founded (1879) – I like this one LOL
Hot Air Balloon Day
Special Saints day
Sophia Loren released from prison after serving 7 days for tax evasion (1968)
Bananas 1st arrived in US
Alice Cooper’s pet boa constrictor died after its dinner of a rat bit it first (1977)
Elvis Presley gyrated his hips on the Milton Berle Show, causing his 1st scandal (1956)

To find out more visit: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/805009/june_5_holidays_and_celebrations_today.html

So you see, June 5th is a good day. I hope you found something you’ll be passionate about and may celebrate in the future on this day. And I hope you return on Fridays to see what mayhem I can cook up for you.

Thanks for stopping by and remember -

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

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bring on the paranormal (and more books)!

First I want to say congrats to Sandi again for making the Bestseller list at Desert Breeze with Winner Takes All! My copy has been staring at me to read it and can't wait to dive in. :-D

I've added to my ever growing TBR pile and as I was grabbing my latest stampede of books, I realized something...I'm hardcore, unabashedly, fanatically addicted to books. No, really. I collect books even if I'm not sure when I'm going to read them, or even IF I will be reading them soon. I keep so many stories, plots, characters and situations I need to dive into. My latest has me checking out some old Harlequins I have missed. I wasn't one of those girls who grew up reading their mother's or sister's Harlequins. My mother didn't even like HQNs and I had an older brother who loved sci-fi and fantasy (which I loved growing up). I didn't get into the romance genre until recently so I guess I'm doing a little catch up.

Coincidentally this is the same era that the paranormal genre is making a rise. I grew up loving Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and she was about the only person doing vampires at the moment. I read that an editor mentioned she couldn't give away a paranormal a few years ago and now they're still selling like hotcakes!

For a gal who loves her romance mixed in with some noir, hard boiled detective, action-adventure, futuristic and/or fantasy, I'm loving all the great new ideas coming out of this crop of authors. Whether e-published, small press or large press there's lots out there to grab.

As an author, it allows me the chance to combine the genres I love and to experiment with new ones. Often times the paranormal genre toes the line between certain labels. My latest release A Kiss of Ashen Twilight was labeled a fantasy romance although I like to think of it as an urban fantasy romance because of the whole series which deals with a growing relationship (although the first book has an HEA. Some new titles I added to my tbr list have been using this title as well and I have to say I'm pretty eager to check them out.

A lot of people think the paranormal romance (or supernatural romance genre as some call it) is something that is only a fad but I think the current staying power has proven that it's an evergreen. Even when the media stops asking about the allure of undead heroes and whereabouts the genre rose, us reader and fans will still be there. And us authors will still be writing for those readers of the genre. Just like the young crop of fans in the YA genre who were exposed to LJ Smith's Vampire Diaries when they were growing up, so will the young fans of today look forward to similar but more adult fare as they grow.

I'm currently contributing to an upcoming writing guide for new authors entitled, well, The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal from Dragon Moon Press and I'm focusing world-building for new writers. As a reader I LOVE to lose myself in great world-building, especially in paranormal and urban fantasy works. Probably my throwback from reading all those fantasy and sci-fi books! The awesome thing is now a romance is featured in these paranormal genres.

I often wonder what kind of new stories will come as the genre bends, turns and folds with new ideas and authors. Sci-fi as a hard label within itself is somewhat dying but I wonder if the SF romance will give it a boost in the coming months. Publishing itself is changing in the way books are produced, sold and marketed and with the crop of new stories to tell, the possibilities are endless.

No matter how big that pile gets I'll always be on the lookout for more goodies to read...one title at a time. If anyone's at Goodreads, add me as a friend so we can trade titles. If I had a second internet home, that's probably where you'd find me!

Take care all!

Rae :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Romance in a paranormal world

Well, it’s Wednesday so that means I’m in charge today. I’m kinda loving the middle slot because sooner or later everyone has to pass through Wednesday to get to their destination. So you’ll just have to suffer through LOL Don’t worry, I’ll even make it fun for you later on with games and contests.

So, let’s talk romance in a paranormal world

To me, the point in picking up any book and reading it to the very last word is the lure of the happy ending. Now, obviously, some books don’t have that, especially if they will be drawn out over a series of books. I don’t mind a series, but at least each book in that series needs to have its own happily ever after. Romantic tension is one thing but drawing it out through several books isn’t for me. As a reader, I’ll become bored and my To-Be-Read pile contains enough books to substitute the frustrating book.

Be warned, right? LOL

Anyway, to me, the awesomeness that is writing within the paranormal world is the open scope for different facets of romance. I mean, come on, who among us doesn’t love an angst-filled, good looking, hard bodied vampire or demon now and then? Especially if their dark and dishy ways can be redeemed by the book’s end. Up the ante with a set of impossible circumstances or a race to prevent the total destruction of the world, and wham, you’ve got a great vessel to pour a romance in.

That’s not to say the heroine’s are without flaws. Insecurities, fears, concerns, bring me your baggage and I’ll write you in, have you undergo a transformation—internal or external—and sometimes both—but by the end, the journey is very much like a thousand miles.

The reader should be tired, happy, and hopeful at the end.

Because let’s face it: even though we live in a world where aliens and paranormals are oftentimes indiscernible to the naked (or unperceptive) eye, at the end of the day, we go home to our completely ordinary spouses who only grow horns during PMS or man-o-pause. LOL And we love them, but there’s always the urge to have our eyes dart to the shiny new book or e-reader device sitting on the table nearby.

We want to know, what would happen if…

I’m so glad I’m a writer because I can make up my own reality whenever I want to.



If you want a taste of romance and magic, pick up a copy of my newest novella.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

For the love of a Dragon

Let me digress from the start and congratulate Sandra Sookoo for being the top seller in May at Desert Breeze Publishing (http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok) Her book Winner Takes All, is not paranormal, but it is fabulous and we are so proud of you, girl.

Now onto other things.

Let’s talk for a moment about Dragons.

I know, this seems like a strange discussion considering that I write about wolves, wizards, and space creatures, but I will admit that I have a strange fascination with all things Dragon. Which, if I’m honest, is probably why I don’t write about them because I know that’s why I don’t write about Vampires…but more on that another day.

The first time I can remember being aware of the Dragon was when I was a child watching the movie The Never Ending Story.

You all remember this movie, don’t you?

It’s the story of Bastian, who is basically friendless and alone and then finds the key to enter this amazing fantasy world through a book that whisks him away to another land where he gets to save everyone by giving the Childlike Empress a name. (On a side note here, I have never been able to understand him when he shouts out the name, if anyone happens to know what name he actually chose, I would appreciate being informed, thanks.)

Anyway, at the end of this movie, when he can choose anything he wants, he chooses to ride a Dragon. This always seemed so cool to me. What child doesn’t want to ride on a Dragon? (This from a person who white knuckles the arm rest every time I fly in an airplane but we could go on for hours about that.)

So how does it happen? How does a character, admittedly a mythical being often portrayed as the bad guy in literature—let’s face it, they are always burning down a village, kidnapping a princess, guarding the potion that the hero needs to save the princess—go from being a thing of horror or a children’s fantasy to a romantic hero in the lexicon of the paranormal romance genre?*

For me, it was an easy transition. Okay, so in these books some of the time the dragon is green and scaly. Other times, usually, he is able to transform himself into a really hunky guy with a bad temper and our heroine (and yes, I know sometimes this can be reversed, it can be the heroine who is occasionally green and scaly but hey aren’t we all?) has to first learn to accept that it possible for the hero to be both and then learn to love him despite his lizard-like tendencies.

And isn’t that the point of all Paranormal Romance? We take what is inherently scary and we twist it up. What was frightening, is charming. The bad guys are really good at heart and it only took the right woman to know this about them. And I think as a hero, the dragon is actually pretty benign. Wolves have their problems, if they’re of the Were variety, they have to shift every full moon with no memory of what they’ve done...or at least no control over it when it is happening…the shifters have to live with the animal inside of them. Watch out for the Vampire, even though he loves you, ladies, he wants to eat you too and he is very possibly soulless.
But the dragon…I guess you could get swatted by him if he’s not careful.

Am I alone in this? Or does anyone else ADORE a really good dragon-hero in their paranormal romance books? And if you’ve read any really good ones, shoot their titles my way, I’m always looking for a new read.

Best,

RR

*For the record, I am talking about making the dragon the hero, not the books where the dragon carries the hero around. In that case, and I still love those books, the dragon is really a smarter version of a horse. I love horsies and I love dragons in those books but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

!!My very darling husband has just e-mailed me, after reading this post, to inform me that had I read the book version of The Never Ending Story, of which I claim to have been ignorant to the existance of, I would know that he shouts out Moon Child as the Childlike Empresses' name. Thank you sweetheart. I love you!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Good morning to all of you

Hello! How is everyone doing today? My name is Rebecca Royce and as I am writing this I am on hold waiting to speak to someone (an actual person I hope) at a storage company. Don't you hate this? Sitting on hold,listening to sleepy elevator music play endlessly while you wonder if anyone will ever be picking up the phone?

Not to worry though, I'm sure that one of my favorite paranormal creatures will appear shortly and destroy their phone lines while he creates mayhem and mess. What can I say? I do love a good fight/action scene. Truth be told, I was recently called 'blood thirsty' which actually I loved.
So, let me start over. My name is Rebecca Royce and I write Paranormal Romance Novels. I've also been known to occasionally write Science Fiction & Fantasy as well as a quick contemporary. The one thing that all of these stories have common is the Happy Ending at the end. You see, I really believe in Happy Ever Afters.

I will be posting here on Tuesdays (woo hoo! Yeah Tuesdays!) about all things paranormal and romance as well as letting everyone know when some of my books will be released.
So, I'm still on hold here. I hope your morning is going better than mine.
Can't wait to get started!

RR

How's everybody doing?

I’m J. Hali Steele. Welcome. Come on in and grab a cup of tea. I write erotic paranormal romances. You’ll be able to cuddle up with cats and hear wolves howl at the moon. There will be vamps and a few tramps - all for your delight. I’ll even be throwing in a free read now and then, so get out your oven mitts.

I’m happy to be here with four other talented and sassy ladies. We intend to make your visit an exciting one. We’ll mix a variety of fun and mayhem that we hope will make you come back for more. I’ll be blogging on Fridays and I have a few furry surprises in store for everyone as well as some ‘hot’ topics.

Meanwhile, take a cookie, have a seat and stay for awhile. We won’t bite – at least not on the first day *grins*. It’s going to be a blast. And don’t forget – Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.

Welcome to the land of the speculative!

Welcome welcome readers!

I'm Rae Lori and I'm delighted to be blogging with such a great and talented group of authors. I love to dabble into different genres myself with a various mix of vampires, aliens, fairies, shifters, weres and all sorts of goodies. I love to write about strong heroines and handsome heroes in all sorts of times whether it's the distant past, the far future or a contemporary tale.

So sit right back, pull up a subscribe feed and enjoy the posting! :-)

Welcome to our world!

Hi, I'm Sandra Sookoo and have been known to write about things ranging from vamps, to weres, to fairies, pixies, ghosts, with a hint of magic thrown in to "keep things real". And of course, there's always a happy ending and love is an integral part :-)

We'll offer a little bit of everything with this blog, and I hope you'll find it an entertaining and interesting place to spend a few moments. I'll be posting on Wednesdays so if there's anything you're "dying" to know about me or my books, just let me know.

So bring us your undead, your not-quite-normal masses and we'll meet up everyday!

WELCOME

Welcome to Paranormal Romantics where those who love monsters gather. Please, have a seat and make yourself comfortable. Tea? Cookies?

I’m Annie Nicholas, the founder of this blog. Four other fabulous writers will be joining me; J.Hali Steele, Sandra Sookoo, Rebecca Royce, and Rae Lori. Each one will blog on their own day of the week.

The paranormal is comprised of all sorts of creatures and phenomenon; werewolves, vampires, ghosts, mere people, monsters, fairies, aliens, and other sorts. All the things our imaginations have cooked up over the centuries. All the things I love, from Tolkien's Frodo to Salvatore's Drizzt to Butcher's Dresden. Three decades of reading have influenced me and helped the evolution of my writing style.

You want to debate Romulan vs Vulcan? Space opera vs science fictions? You’ve found the right person. I love Nosferatu vampires, each vampire story I’ve written so far has one in it. I try to do my best and not write down the beaten path but explore new avenues of paranormal romance. My males are Alpha and my females down-to-earth.
Every Manic Monday I plan to start your week.

This week I’m offering you a FREE READ. It’s a short story contemporary erotica. The only contemporary I’ve EVER written and I want to share it with you.

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