Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Change is in the wind.

Today, I want to talk briefly about changes in our life. Usually, when something unexpected—good or bad—happens to us, we usually react with knee jerk swiftness.

Nothing wrong with it. It’s just how the human race does things.

Once again, I’ll refer to my vast love and knowledge of the world of Disney:

“My world has changed, and so have I
I've learned to choose and even learned to say good-bye
The path ahead, so hard to see
It winds and bends, but where it ends depends on only me
In my heart I don't feel part of so much I've known
Now it seems it's time to start a new life on my own

But where do I go from here?
So many voices ringing in my ear
Which is the voice I was meant to hear?
How will I know, where do I go from here?”
—Where Do I Go From Here? from the movie Pocahontas 2

It seems a butt load of change intercepted my life in the past week. People come and go. Words are said we can’t retrieve. Books are accepted and rejected. Pounds are lost and gained. Confidence is shot to hell and carefully rebuilt again.

It’s all change and guess what? It’s inevitable and it’s not always a bad thing.

Change occurs for a couple of reasons. First, it stops destructive patterns or behaviors, kinda like warning signals at train tracks. And second, it allows us to see a new, very different path to trod, one that could quite possibly bring us to a different, better place. Change can make us stronger, give us a handful of new options.

As I type this, the fate of my husband’s job is in flux. Changes in congress have shaken up the company he works for. Now, we wait to see if he’ll be one of the lucky ones.

Another fat steaming pile of change.

Am I happy about it? Not by a long shot. Can I do anything about it? Nope.

So I wait and continue to plug away at my book, which I should finish by the end of next week if all goes well. This is the only thing I can control right now.

At one time in our history, they discovered the world was actually round instead of flat. Imagine the look of shock and horror and delight on the faces of those people.

That was a big change and it altered the course of human history.

The discovery that Pluto is not a planet? Not so much.

But it’s all change. And we didn’t—and won’t—die from it. Life goes on. I just wish I knew how. I'm choosing to hope that April will be better...

While you ponder, let me share a snippet of an excerpt from the Be Mused Anthology. This will release tomorrow from Desert Breeze Publishing. Please look for my short story entitled Not Amused, which is where the excerpt is from. I hope you’ll check it out because this was one of my all time favorite stories to write.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Vivian Vandergarten crossed her legs at the ankles and popped her cherry-flavored lollipop in her mouth.

"Knock it off, Viv. You know why we're here."

"I know why I'm here. You have no place on the same plane of existence as I do." Vivian frowned at Dirk.

He stood just at her elbow, all six-feet of him, lean and toned to perfection. Too bad Regency England-era clothing hid that yummy body. "If you insist on bothering me, you might as well sit. I'm getting a crick in my neck looking up at you." She ignored the snug fit of his fawn-colored breeches or the exquisite way the crushed velvet jacket of bottle green enhanced the broad set of his shoulders. She'd seen it all before -- and then some.

Wouldn't mind seeing it again, but he'd need to jump through a few hoops first.

"Hate to disappoint you, babe. I'm here for the same reason." Dirk pulled a white
Adirondack chair near hers and sat heavily on it. "Tell me again why we're stuck in period costumes?" His blond curls danced on his head in the slight clover-scented breeze.

"I guess you didn't get the memo?" When he shook his head, Vivian sighed and shoved the urge to run her fingers through that hair into the back of her mind. "The boss decided we'd inspire our mortals better if we dressed in period pieces. Thus, the get-ups." She sucked on the sweet treat, but kept her eyes focused on the scene below. "Today just happens to be Regency themed."

"Great." He adjusted the fit of his dark sunglasses, very much out of place with his costume. "For what it's worth, you look great."

"Can it." Her cheeks heated. She looked at him once more. "You had your chance with me and you blew it." Vivian squirmed under his gaze, hating the low-cut bodice of the pale lavender gown she wore. She just knew he stared at her boobs. The thought didn't bother her, merely made her insides threaten to melt. "So, what's the deal with your charge?"

"His name's Jack. Writes action-adventure novels. You know the grittier stuff guys like to read, although I'm sure he's got quite a following of women." A grimace twisted Dirk's chiseled face. "Except now he says he's got writer's block. Personally, I think he's distracted and coming to this conference won't help." He looked over the tops of the sunglasses at her. "And yours?"

Vivian shrugged. "Angelica is whining about being uninspired." She rolled her eyes. "If she'd turn off the in-home shopping channels, maybe she'd have enough brain cells left to finish her book. Personally, she's ticking me off."

"Oh, I love it when you're irritated." He waggled his eyebrows in exaggerated silent movie villain style. "It's a tiny jog over to amorous from irritation."

"Save it for Oprah." Vivian moved her tongue over the surface of the lollipop and grinned when his green eyes darkened. "I'm mad because she works for me. Every moment away from her writing means I don't get to move on to bigger and better things."

"Like what? You're a muse, same as the rest of us. This is as good as it gets."

"No, Dirk, it's not." Vivian scrambled out of her chair with some difficult as her filmy skirts tangled about her legs. She teetered, but recovered by the time Dirk stood. "Do you know how hard it is to watch countless mortals fall in love time after time while I spend my free time dancing around that same issue with you?"

"I thought you liked the game we play?" He lifted a hand to her hair and encouraged one of her auburn tresses to curl about his finger. "You seem to enjoy the flight and pursuit."

"Remember the rule." She skipped out of his reach. "While on work time, muses cannot touch each other in anyway, otherwise--"

Dirk sighed and dropped his hand. "Otherwise, we risk banishment from the immortal realm. Right." He rubbed his fingers over a day's worth of stubble on his chin. "What is it you search for?"

"The same as Angelica wants."

Buy link: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-73/Be-Mused--dsh--%3Ci%3EAn/Detail.bok

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The first time I fell in love with a paranormal romance

Hi, I'm Teirney, and I'm so happy to be here with you filling in for Rebecca. Sorry I'm a little late in getting this up, but my infant and I take sleep where we can get it. Today we slept until nine thirty. So, now that I'm here, I debated about what to write about. I thought maybe a post on secondary characters might be fun, but as I woke up this morning to a beautiful day in Georgia, I realized I wanted to know when was the first time you fell in love with paranomal romance.

I know I fell in love with a paranormal romance story at the age of five or so. Yes, five. I wasn't allowed to read what is paranormal romance today, and probably wouldn't understand the concept at that age anyhow, but as a five year old, I did get to see my first paranormal love story.

Yes, I said saw my first paranormal romance and it came from the most unlikely of sources. Disney. I'm talking about Beauty and the Beast. In it's basic elements, Belle and the Beast are hero and heroine of their very own paranormal romance. In what other genre could you have talking objects, a witch, a beast and spells? As I think about it today, I still love Beauty and the Beast. It's probably still my all time favorite paranormal romance love story. I'm sure when Disney set out to make the movie, they never thought about it the way I did, but to me, this is the perfect category for such a movie.

Anyhow, as I grew, my love for paranormal romance grew and expanded. I picked up my first Christine Feehan novel at the tender age of 17, and am still reading her and a variety of other paranormal romance stories, including the wonderful ladies of this blog. But I'll never forget the awe and wonder of seeing that movie for the first time. The heroine conquers the spell and reveals the true prince beneath the beast. And how? Love. That's all it takes to create a good story, whether or not paranormal elements are present. But for Disney and me, the talking candle stick and clock just made the movie all the better.

So, how about it? When did you fall in love with a paranormal romance story and what was it?

Thanks for letting me share! It was wonderful to be here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I've Got Nothing

Morning everyone.

Got a late start today. Apparently I'm suppose to blog everywhere this week. I missed the memo. Still not sure how I booked myself like this. Thank goodness my blackberry buzzes two minutes before something is due. LOL

So I'm brain dead today.

No amount of coffee will kick start this baby. I suppose to go to a meeting and work on a project for my day job this afternoon but I all I can think about is crawling into bed and watching Sponge Bob all day with my kids.

Why am I in this state? My muse kicked my ass this weekend. She would stop babbling in my ear. Blah, blah, blah, bordello this and blah, blah, blah, slavery that... Give me a break, it's four in the morning. I awoke to the first line of the book ready to be placed on paper. 'Every breath became precious.' 

Hey muse, I was trying to sleep! Heck she even drew me pictures. So, my plot bunny book grows and my free time shrinks. It amazes me how she's taken over my life. Two years ago I never had this problem. LOL

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sounds...

That inspire...or just plain annoy you!

I live near a steel mill. That in itself is no big deal. Except last night I heard the train horn. All night. That, and a flapping piece of siding on my house, kept me from sleeping. The siding I can fix--the sounds I can't stop. I grew up in a house about a half mile from where I live now. It was right across the Brandywine River, and smack dab across from the mill. Much closer then, but I don't remember that the sound of the horn disturbed me so much. The picture above is similar to what I saw everyday of my life growing up (although this is not the mill I live near.)

I sat up at about 3 o'clock in the morning and really listened. The horn had such a mournful tone. One that made me wonder where it was going. It's not a passenger rail line, it only chugs back and forth from building-to-building carrying metal or scrap. Maybe that's why it sounded so mournful--it's not really going anywhere! Back and forth.
 
At 5, the birds started tweeting. I'm up for good now. The mournful horn still blows, the siding flaps away. I'm tired. This morning there's no growl, only a purr. The beast slinks and stretchs, waiting to be released.


Ideas seap into my head, percolate right along with the fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen. I peer out the window, watch leaves swirl around the yard.
 
Yup, trouble is coming...
 
It's in the form of a new story I can't shake. There was only one thing left to do--I sat down to write my blog.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making the 'Other' Easier to Digest



My critique partner makes fun of me because she says that one way or another someone in one of my books ends up being psychic. This is entirely true, I have a current release called Behind the Scenes with Eirelander Publishing, which is a modern contemporary erotica that has no paranormal elements at all. Also, my Sci Fi short story Yes, Captain is also psychic-free. But her point is taken none-the-less so today I’d like to talk about putting the ‘other’ into words.

Probably the reason why I write so much about psychic abilities, whether they be in a wolf pack or outside of it is because the subject has fascinated me since I was a child. I can vividly remember watching that silly scene in Ghost Busters where Bill Murray’s character is hitting on the blonde college student by making her think she is psychic when really she is not while he zaps the heck out of the male college student who is actually getting some of the psychic answers correct.

But it’s a challenge, as a writer, to write about things that go in people’s minds without ‘telling’ them about it. As writers we are particularly concerned with this concept of showing versus telling. For example, and this is a very mundane example, if I tell you “Rebecca felt embarrassed” that is me telling you how Rebecca is feeling. However, if I saw “Rebecca’s cheeks got red” then I’ve just shown you that Rebecca is embarrassed. How much showing versus how much telling is appropriate in a story is a topic for another day and I’m not going to get into it now because I will have fifty writers all saying different things fighting in the comment section here. Let’s just say that every writer has their opinion on this subject and what makes ‘good’ writing versus ‘bad.’ I really don’t want to open that can of worms.

It is hard to find the language, I have found, to write about that which is not ‘real’ to everyone. If, and let’s go back to our fictional character of ‘Rebecca’ again, Rebecca is psychic and she wants to find the man who kidnapped and killed another fictional character of Marc, I might write ‘Rebecca sent her senses searching, where was he? Feeling the shimmer of her other senses turning on, she could see him where he sat. The man was hungry, but it wasn’t for food. No, what he wanted was more death.’ To me, this would be fine. In fact, when I read books that describe things like this I really like it because it allows me, the reader, infer a lot of what the character of Rebecca is doing. However, I certainly did a lot of ‘telling’ and for some people they just can’t get into a character’s head unless they are ‘shown’ completely what the character is doing. So the rewrite would be ‘Rebecca’s hands tingled. She closed her eyes. Where was he? Sending her senses outward always caused the base of her neck to stiffen up. She knew she’d have a killer headache later but it would be worth it if she could find the bastard. Boom, like lightening striking a tree her senses found what they were looking for. He was there and he wanted to kill again. This time she could stop him. A smile formed on her lips. She loved this part.’

For me, as the writer, it is always a challenge to figure out exactly how much I have to show versus how much I have to tell without sacrificing my voice to the description.

How about all of you? How do you like to read your ‘other?’

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Art of Fang Shui...Remix?

Nope, just in print format now and since my week has been less than ideal, falling back on this news always makes me feel better :-)

Seeing a book in print was one of my goals for 2010 and I'm please to announce that my first full length humorous paranormal book has lived up to the challenge.

To celebrate, here's a never before seen excerpt:

She huffed her irritation. “Are we running to or from Andre Valkaret, because it seems to me we’re definitely running and by the way, who the hell is he?” The hot tea warmed her throat. She savored the faint spicy aroma and took another sip.

There was nothing in life that couldn’t be made better with a cup of tea.

“Unfortunately, we are running toward Andre. I believe he is the one behind the disturbances in the paranormal world, unless I find out Duncan has truly gone on a rampage.”

“Why? What’s the big deal about this Andre person?”

Edwin’s gaze wavered. “Do you truly want to know?”

“Do I?”

“You will sometime during this quest. Andre is a demon lord who has gotten a taste for the wealth and prestige power can bring.”

“Great. A paranormal dictator. Just perfect.” Hannah chewed the inside of her lip. “And do I even want to know who Duncan is? You keep throwing names at me, and I don’t know any of them from Adam. I need information, bounty hunter.”

He sighed. “Duncan is my friend, I have known him for years. I do not believe he would lose all reason and embark on a killing spree. I will not know for certain until we talk to Marilyn McAvis, the Witch of the North Forest.” He stared at her in the mirror over the dresser but his blue eyes betrayed no emotion. “We will use the daylight hours to rest, buy the supplies we need, and plan our strategy. We will resume travel at dusk.”

She lifted a brow. “Hmm, let’s see, sleep by day, travel by night. It seems you’re more of a vampire than you want to admit.”

After setting the mug of tea on the nightstand, Hannah padded to the mirror to examine her appearance. “Perfect.” She cringed to see her short-layered hair stood up in spiky disarray, the red wisps hopelessly out of whack. She leaned closer to the glass, horrified to discover a piece of pretzel embedded into her cheek. It was part of her late night snack from the vending machine. Hannah met Edwin’s gaze in the mirror. Mortification washed over her to see faint amusement lurk in the frozen blue depths. Was he trying to develop a sense of humor? “Just perfect.”

“Your flirtation with sarcasm will not get you very far in life.”

In annoyance, Hannah picked the offending snack from her cheek. She stuck her tongue out at him then belatedly realized it must look terrible after a full night’s sleep. “Yeah, well, that’s how I deal with abnormal situations, and this one takes the cake.” She turned to the mirror, determined to make sense of her situation.
The splash of freckles over her nose stood out in sharp relief, her green eyes appeared faded from lack of sleep. Why couldn’t I be one of those women who looked great when they woke up? “What you see is what you get.”

“Vanity is wasted emotion.” His lips twitched. “I am not a vampire. I only have a quarter of those genes. I have found when I am on the hunt of a criminal it is best to travel at night. The darkness is good for concealing movement, and the criminal element, whether they are human or not, do most of their illicit activity when the sun goes down.” He brushed at a speck of lint on his shirt. “Will there be any more questions?”

“I can’t think of any at the moment but give me time. I’m still attempting to absorb all of this.” After a brief rummage in her bag, Hannah procured a green toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste. “Good ole magic bag.” She glanced at him again. “Look, I’m sorry I teased you. This situation is so bizarre. I still don’t understand what I’m doing in the middle of it.”

“Hannah, if at any time you feel uncomfortable then you may leave. My mission will suffer, but I cannot bind you to me. I will not force you to do something you do not want to do.”

“I doubt that.” She gave an unladylike snort. “Powerful men like you have probably done your fair share of creative detainment.” The baby fine hairs at the back of her neck quivered at the thought of being “detained” by him. “In spite of the fact I feel death and destruction will show up at any time, I’m intrigued by your quest. Killing is wrong, no matter who does it.” She tapped her toothbrush against the palm of her hand. “Besides, it’s not like my life was at a pinnacle of success.” Tears unexpectedly filled her eyes as despair washed over her.

“Success is only how you measure yourself, Hannah.”

She swallowed past the tears then watched him slip a slim brown wallet into his back pocket. “Okay, so let’s get a couple things straight. You can’t be ordering me around all the time. You may ask me, but not order me. We are now a partnership. Equal responsibility, equal effort. And, you have to loosen up because you’re too anal for your own good.”

“Anal?” He sipped his coffee and lifted a glossy brow. “I am not familiar with that term. Please explain.”

“You’ll need to know some slang of this century. Anal means straight-laced or stiff.”

“As in my body? I will become rigid?”

Warmth heated Hannah’s cheeks at the images his words provoked. “Uh, no. As in, an unbending will. Or unable to compromise.”

“I see.” The corners of his mouth tipped up in a tentative smile. “Agreed.” He held out his hand. “Partner.”

“Partner.” As soon as Hannah took his hand to shake on their deal, emotions flashed through her mind. Pain, sadness, and anger echoed through the corners of her brain, and rocked her senses with bright flashes of white light. She yanked her hand from his grasp. Blinking rapidly, she stared at him in apprehension as her vision returned to normal. “Who are you?” Her voice was barely a whisper. “What are you not telling me?” Her fingers itched to touch him a second time just to see if she’d experience the same sort of reaction again.

Sadness clouded his eyes for a moment before he retreated behind the fa├žade of calm indifference. “If I told you now, you would not believe me. I have held onto the secret for more than a century, one more night will not make a difference.”

She took a big gulp of now tepid tea, disheartened when her hand trembled. “Fine, I get it. It’s sort of a need-to-know basis, right? I’ll accept that. However, I have learned, over the years, to accept all sorts of things. Call me Alice if you want, but you’d be surprised what I would find normal.”

“Why would I call you Alice when that is not your name?” He shot her a pointed glance. “But I would caution you to remember normality is relative, Hannah.”

Wanna find out how these two got into this mess and what happens next? You'll have to buy the book!

You can buy The Art of Fang Shui here: http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/artoffangshui.htm

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bad Boys in Fiction

Hi, my name is D.L. Jackson. I'm an author, daydreamer and worldbuilding fanatic. I'm thrilled to be here and I'm even more excited to talk about one of my favorite subjects.

The bad boys of fiction.

The bad boys of fiction come in all shapes and sizes. Some we love, some we love to hate, but all add that something extra to a story that keeps you turning the pages. Sometimes they’re the hero, sometimes an anti-hero or villain and when they're well developed, they can bring a novel to a whole different level.

Here are a few of my favorite bad boys from fiction.

We’ll start with Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars. Anakin was a slave who was freed, separated from his mother as a child and taken to another world to train to become a Jedi Knight. He later engages in a forbidden romance and secretly marries the love of his life. When he returns home, he learns his mother has been kidnapped by raiders and sets off to locate her. When he finds her, he’s too late to save her. Anakin destroys the village where she was being held hostage, killing every man, woman and child.

Even after he destroys them, he carries the guilt of his mother’s death instead of any regret for butchering the village and innocents caught in his path. He carries this guilt forward and it plays out later when he learns another he loves, Padme, will die in childbirth. He does everything he can to save her. He gives himself over to the dark powers of the force, turns his back on his friends, betrays the Jedi and murders young children in the Jedi temple. In the end, the power to save her costs him the one thing he couldn’t bear to lose, Padme Amidala. 

Young Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal rising is a classic socio-path the reader should have zero sympathy for. However, the way Thomas Harris writes Hannibal is brilliant and I found myself relating to Hannibal on a deeply emotional level. He’s a villain. He’s evil and yet you can’t help but sympathize with his plight.

Harris takes the reader through the metamorphosis of a young innocent to a monster. During the transition the reader can feel Hannibal's pain as he watches Nazi soldiers murder his mother and father and later murder and eat his baby sister. You see him as an orphan who is ostracized and as he grows into a troubled young man who moves in with his uncle and aunt. Later, when he finds those responsible for the deaths of his mother, father and sister, the reader understands the rage that drives him toward revenge.

Clyde Shelton. What can I say about Clyde? The recently released movie, Law Abiding Citizen, explores the dark side of a man who loses his family in a violent home invasion. Clyde is portrayed to be the victim, an innocent man caught up in a tragic situation, but that doesn't last for long.

When the law releases the man responsible for the deaths of Clyde Shelton’s wife and daughter by accepting a plea bargain, it triggers a chain of events that change our victim into an anti-hero. Clyde sets off on a mission not only to teach the men who killed his family a lesson, but to punish the legal system that failed him. We soon learn who Clyde is, how deep the darkness has seeped into his soul and how far a man will go for vengence. We see a once loving father and husband dismember a man while he’s alive, kill several people in car bombings and murder a judge with her own cell phone. We get a look inside the man who holds a city hostage with fear. Is he justified or wrong? Is any vigilante?

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. A well developed bad boy can make or break a story. They can be the hero, the villain or both. Regardless what role they play, they all have one thing in common. They have layers. So if you like bad-boys, hold on. I’ve got a bad boy for you.

Ian Saefa is an enforcer, a member of a corrupted legal system and a futuristic version of a bad cop. My goal when writing Slipping the Past, my urban fantasy erotic romance with Liquid Silver Books, was to give you a villain that was nearly as developed as the hero and heroine. Like the examples above, I wanted him to have layers. He doesn’t run around chuckling in a deep evil laugh, doing nefarious things just to do them. He has a method to his madness, a reason to be what he is.

That being said, I’ve included a few excerpts that feature Ian in his current incarnation and past lives. They peel back the layers and give you a deep glimpse into the mind of a serial killer and  a man that so desperately loved a woman, he would kill for her, again and again.

Here we meet Ian in a past-life as Justinus in ancient Rome. Below is a view through the heroine's eyes.

Justinus eyed her from across the room. Handsome, powerful and wealthy, everything she should desire. He’d been a friend from childhood. They used to sneak out and ride together, play in the fields and they even learned about sex together. He’d been her first and at one time she thought herself in love with him. But lately he’d taken on a serious air, watching her with hunger, always questioning where she went and with whom.


“Where were you this night, Jocasta? I came by earlier.”


She shrugged and twisted a beaded bracelet on her wrist, a trinket Augustus purchased for her earlier. “Taking in the celebration.”


“Did you attend with someone?”


She glanced up and caught the look in his eyes. Fire. Lust. Her stomach fluttered. “Alone.”


“You shouldn’t go out unescorted. A beautiful woman could find herself in trouble. I might lose you to another lover.”


Jocasta laughed. “You tease me, Justinus. You’re not my lover.”


“I tease not. I’ve asked your father for permission to marry you. He has agreed that the arrangement would be quite satisfactory.”


“Marriage?” Jocasta’s heart thumped in her chest. She could do worse. She cared deeply for him, but regardless she could never love him, not like the Centurion with the amber eyes.


He rose from where he’d reclined and walked toward her. “I’ve loved you all my life.”


She tipped her head back and stared into his face. “You’re my closest friend and I love you as such, but not as intimately as you profess.”


“I hope it will become so much more.” He knelt before her, pulled a bundle wrapped in bright fabric from the folds of his military tunic and held out a jeweled collar. “I’ve had this brought this all the way from Egypt for you. I’ve heard Cleopatra wore something very similar. Here, take it, a small token of my affections.”


Jocasta glanced down at the beaded bracelet she wore and back at the lapis and gold collar. “It’s lovely.”


He reached forward. “Lift your hair.”


Jocasta shook her head. “I can’t take that. I’ve fallen in love with another.”


Justinus’s glared and a tick pulsed in his jaw. His black eyes looked darker, full of rage. “Who?”


“Does it matter?”


“Who?”


“His name is Augustus. He’s a Centurion.”


“Augustus?” Justinus’s eyes fell, a frown creased his face. Pain burned across his countenance.


“Justinus?” There was more there than he was saying. “Do you know him?”


“He’s my brother. Anyone but him. I can’t kill him, but I can’t let you go either. I could never let you go.”

Ouch. Jilted for his brother, but is that a reason to carry a grudge for centuries? In Ian's mind--it is. This sets into motion a series of events that put Jocelyn Miller in danger of losing her soul.

Let’s move forward several lifetimes to Ian’s final incarnation and again we find ourselves in Jocelyn Miller’s head. She's now homeless and on the run for past-life crimes. If she's caught she won't lose her life, she'll lose her soul.

Yeah, the source. There was no way anyone would believe her over Enforcer Saefa. He was the best of the best, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t crazy and he wasn’t wrong.


She’d heard stories of the reading of her warrant and of Ian’s visit to the hospital nursery from her mother. Saefa had been fourteen at the time and was considered a prodigy. They claimed he was one hundred percent accurate when reading and not once had he been proven wrong.


He’d walked from basinet to basinet, studying each child, listening as they cried. A man followed behind him, recording everything he’d said. He’d stop every now and then to nod at a baby. Murderer, rapist, drug addict, he listed crime after crime in a cold tone, unconcerned those he accused were but days old and helpless to defend themselves.


Most he passed without mention, but when he’d reached her, he’d stopped, stood in place and stared down for over twenty minutes. When he began to speak he’d looked at her mother and smiled. “Murderess.”

You learn several things here. For one, the past hasn’t been kind to Ian and he’s got it in for Jocelyn. Not only that, he’s got power. Scary power. What you don't see in the excerpt--he’s a reader, a genetically enhanced psychic referred to as a reaper for his ability to take souls, but more than that, Ian has a special gift he might be using to frame Jocelyn. Did he fake the warrant or did she commit the crimes? Is it Karma?

One last scene, twenty six years later. Here we have Jocelyn caught out alone at night and who of all people do you think she bumps into on a dark street?

The barking dog began to howl, long and painful cries. Jocelyn stopped and tipped her head to listen. Animals were sensitive to energies. Even someone not attuned to the sound would know something wasn’t right. A charge raced across her skin and she turned to peer into the darkness. A streetlight overhead began to buzz and pop. The light flickered and shadows danced across the sidewalk at her feet.


“Hello?” Jocelyn let go of her jacket. Her gaze swept the empty street. The darkness appeared empty. Something told her it wasn’t. Psychic senses or not, someone watched. She shifted her weight to the balls of her feet and braced. Two ways to flee, both into the dark. She could make a run for the room, but something told her she wouldn’t make it. That something had the hair on the back of her neck standing on end and that hadn’t happened since she’d last blacked out.


Reaper.


“Who’s out there?” Either she was sensing energy, or she was spooked by the howling dog. Since it took a lot to scare her, Jocelyn bet on the other.


“Jocelyn Miller.” The voice. Deep, familiar and not Gabriel.


S*!#. That would be the other one. She took two steps back and a gust blasted her from behind, lifting her hair from her shoulders. She whipped around and stared into the dark. Ice pelted her face and stung her cheeks.


She couldn’t see their aura. When he took her energy, Gabriel rendered her vulnerable to the Enforcers. Gone was her ability to see and sense them coming, an ability she could really use right now.


“Identify yourself.”


Somebody tsked. “And I thought we had something going.”


“Who are you?”


“Don’t you recognize my aura?” A man slid out of the shadows and pulled a staff from behind his back. She knew the face and the brand that scarred the side of his cheek and neck. She didn’t need to see his aura. The wind caught his charcoal hair and whipped the loose strands around his face. He stood there smoking in his boots. Two words described him. Lethal and sex. He was far from ugly, but if a girl played with him, she’d end up dead.


Jocelyn instinctively took a step back. Cloaked head to toe in black, Ian represented evil to its fullest potential, and could make the devil rejoice. “Psycho reaper.”


“Hello, love.” Ian stepped closer and spun his staff. No sparks like before, but she knew they were there. Every time she’d ever seen him, he was awash in angry red. “You’ve been a bad, bad girl, Ms. Miller.”

Um, so he's not a toad. Ian is charming, attractive and dangerous. A lethal combination and a bad boy with lots of layers.

So there you have it, a glimpse at the villain and the bad-boy of Slipping the Past. For more Ian Saefa, Enforcers and reapers, check out my novel, Slipping the Past, available at Liquid Silver Books. http://liquidsilverbooks.com/

A big thanks goes out to the hosts of Paranormal Romantics for their hospitality and for letting me blog today with them. Thank you all and I hope I can blog again with you in the future.

Best,

D.L. Jackson

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's In Print!

Happy Manic Monday! I've got something to celebrate this week. BAIT is out in print and it has a new shiny cover. I am very pro-ebook and wouldn't expect all by stories in paper but this one is special to me so I haz a happy.



Sent on a mission to lure Budapest’s vampire Overlord into a trap, Connie Bence is instead caught red-handed by the dark Casanova. Her employer has concrete proof of the dubious leader’s misdeeds but she is surprised when this ruthless killer, Rurik, offers her protection and rescues her from his own kind. It plants seeds of doubt in her mind and she begins to question his guilt. Now she is thrown into his world where blackmail determines her every move and where she must betray those she cares about or let them die. The stakes are high. She either puts her trust in Rurik or leads him to his execution.

Love or life.

BUY NOW LINK

Excerpt:


Rurik maneuvered me deeper into the hall. We passed more guests too busy amusing themselves to pay us any heed. They lay in a pile of tangled bodies on a nest of cushion, feeding. I imagined it would be different. Hands stroked through hair, lips met, and fangs pierced smooth skin. No one fought or screamed, just quiet sensual touching. Almost erotic.


I didn't notice that I'd stopped to watch until Rurik whispered in my ear, "We can sit and enjoy the show if you'd like. I'm really in no hurry to return to that bitch." His warm breath brushed against my skin.



"No." My voice sounded hoarse. The eerie scene made me morbidly curious, like watching at a car wreck. They all seemed to enjoy themselves, but the blood and the bites appalled me. "You said Lizzy wouldn't kill the boy because she wasn't allowed. What about them?"

What about him? We hunted Rurik for just that crime.

"Killing attracts too much public attention to our kind." He pressed himself against my back as he quietly spoke into my hair. I watched this intimate moment between predator and prey while I felt his warm breath against the nape of my neck. It gave me a flutter of confusing emotions.

His firm body along mine aroused me. When he continued his explanation, I almost missed it. "Our governing body has worked very hard over the centuries to make mankind dismiss us." His hands wandered down my hips, gathered the hem of my dress, and touched my skin. The brush of his fingernails along my thighs caught my breath. "We need to protect our obscurity, even if it is against our nature."

"You agree with this?" If he did, maybe Colby had mistaken his target and I could seduce Rurik to keep me for himself instead of passing off as a present. Distract him long enough for my rescue to find me.

"I don't have to agree with it, just abide by it. We are predators, Connie. We need the hunt...” He leaned in closer from behind so his lips brushed the base of my neck, running his fangs along my skin. “And the chase." He continued tasting me until he came close to my ear once more. "We all have our weaknesses, our favorite types of prey. You caught his attention at the hot springs last night and fit his tastes. He won't be able to resist you.” Rurik took a deep shaky breath and stepped away from me. “It's why I brought you here."

I turned to face him and slid my hands along his chest to his shoulders. If I stood on tippy toe my lips almost touched his. "You could keep me.” It wouldn’t be all bad to let him have me, as long as I could get past the fangs and keep my dress with the tracking device close by.

His expression changed from a flirtatious playboy, to one of regret. "No, I can't.” He stared toward the back of the basement then back at me and scratched his chin. “I’ll make you a deal, though. If you do your best to please him, I'll help you survive the night."

My heart skipped a beat and I plunked back onto my heels. "How?"

"I’ll watch over you."


“You won’t dump me for Lizzy first chance you get?”

His cold stare told me his opinion of that action

I got the impression Rurik didn't mean a little flirting when he said ‘please him’. “What do I need to do?” How far would I go? I’d like to think I’d keep my dignity but knew I’d dance the can-can, naked in a pool of chocolate syrup, to save my ass.

“I need him to feed from you. It’s what he’ll want the most."


"You'll make sure he won't drink me dry?" I hated the insecurity in my voice, the sound of my plea.

Rurik stroked my cheek. "It's against our laws and we’re at a public event. He should behave himself. I'll make an effort to stay close to you and intervene if he starts to harm you."

That didn't comfort me. Fighting was suicidal, nowhere to run, and no one to care about my cries for help. It came down to placing myself on the menu while I waited for my rescue by Colby. Damn, I was screwed.


". . . one hot read. I found myself caught up in the scene, traveling through alleyways and screaming as if my own life were in danger.” Sin from Two Lips Review



“The Amazing Race has nothing on Connie Bence’s trek through the narrow cobblestone streets of Budapest. You can almost feel and hear the pounding of her pulse, as her blood screams through her body not only with terror but passion.”

Lototy from Coffee Times Romance

"I found myself thoroughly engrossed ... The dark and edginess in the setting was perfect ... The sparks that are ignited between Rurik and Connie had me anxiously waiting for the explosive sex I knew that was coming. Whew! am I glad I wasn't disappointed."  L.T. Blue from JERR






To celebrate I'm giving away a copy BAIT. Just post a comment on this blog. Don't forget to leave me an e-mail address to contact you. I'll announce the winner on the side bar tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It was MAGICAL!

Liberty States Fiction Writers did Create Something Magical, and no, I didn’t take a single picture! Sorry, I just can’t ever remember. Plus I hate taking pictures—always have.


It was their inaugural conference and I don’t see how it could get any better. I met most of the members for the first time and guess what, now that I know some of them--they will find a way to make it better! Mark your calendar next year for an awesome conference experience, one you won’t want to miss. I’ve attended a few conferences and this one will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best. LSFW doesn’t only encompass romance writers, its members range from Horror, Young Adult, Suspense, Romance (including Erotica) and more—they were all there and the knowledge base of this group is fantastic.

The March winds roared away outside of the Renaissance Woodbridge in northern Jersey, but the atmosphere inside was one of camaraderie and warmth. Sirens blared and a pole or two toppled in the parking lot but the hotel did a great job at working around Mother Nature.

The sessions brimmed with information on every facet of crafting a good story, how to promote and market your book and yourself. Agents and editors were in attendance not only from New York, the E-Publishing community was very well covered. I don’t believe there was an empty slot for pitching!

F. Paul Wilson was the speaker at the luncheon and his humorous speech on an author’s life drew laughter from the group of over 100 attendees. He regaled us with the fairytale of what most people believe a writer's day consists of.  All to the point of saying “No, we don’t have it like that, and there are very, VERY few writers who make the mega dollars and grab that pot-of-gold contract." I had the opportunity to moderate and sit in on his session for Self Editing and found it very informative. I'll edit my stories with a brand new eye!

Networking and talking with other attendees had me wishing I could have cloned myself for one day so I would not have missed a thing. There was Plotting and Pacing (Caridad Pineiro is my new hero even if she did say I can't fly by the seat of my pants anymore!), She Said, She Said which was about communication skills. Sessions on how to use digital publishing as a promotional tool, a look at how to work with your editor, how to prepare the ultimate submission—everything—it was all there and the presenters couldn’t have been better.

The chocked full day ended with a ‘delicious’ reception that was followed by a book signing of many talented authors. (Thanks Cris Anson and Judi Fennell--you guys rock!)

I’ve been a member of this awesome group for less than a year and I’ve been nothing but impressed with the LSFW site which abounds with all kinds of information and learning materials for every genre. Every member has been nothing but generous and helpful. As an epubbed author—I’ve never felt more welcomed anywhere! My calendar is already marked for next year.

To find out more about Liberty States Fiction Writers, its members, and its goals, visit: http://www.libertystatesfictionwriters.com/

Kudos to everyone involved in the event--I wish I could name you all. One person stood out for me--Rayna Vause, you are AWESOME!

LSFW did CREATE SOMETHING MAGICAL!

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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's not my day but...

I saw that RK Charron didn't post today so I think I'll go ahead and jump right in. (I hope he's doing well. Maybe he's in the same situation I was in.)

We finally got our power turned back on today after five days without any. Let me tell you, living in the dark is really something. We were luckier than most. My parents have a generator. It's not the kind of generator that you can use forever. But it did run the heat and one or two lights at a time. Still, as we couldn't have the lights on wherever we wanted and I was mostly concerned with the children, during the day I spent most of my time in dark rooms, letting the kids use the light for their toys.

Also, it's really something to try to live in someone else's home, especially when they are not there. My parents, lucky dogs, are away right now. The first day we were there, my 2nd son (I have 3 if you are new to this blog) colored all over my mom's leather sofa with marker. After a huge effort on my husband's part to get it out, we gave up and I phoned my mother expecting an explosion. Instead, she was completely wonderful about the whole thing telling me the colorings would always remind her of my son. If it had been me as a child doing that, it would have been another thing all together but this is her grandson and apparently that is different. LOL

Then my dog peed on the bed. I got to call about that too.

At some point, we lost water and when it came back on we received a call from our local police station telling us it was contaminated and we couldn't use it unless we boiled it.

Why did all this happen? Because we had hurricane force winds on Saturday that came and sat over our area for most of the day.

Mother nature was ticked.

Lots and I mean lots of trees came down and telephone poles and transformers. They're still hanging all over the road. Some of our neighbors still don't have power. When the lights came back on last night, people came outside screaming and applauding the power people who were on the block.

It was amazing.

In any case, I think it's safe to say I got my priorities in order. I'm always just going to be grateful to live in the light.

best to all of you

Rebecca Royce

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shamrock Sprint

I thought today we’d do something a little different. Let’s play a game in honor of St. Paddy’s Day. There’s only one rule. You have to stay within a shamrock/leprechaun/magical/Irish theme.

Here’s what we’ll do. This will be a round robin sort of story. Each time you comment, make up two or three sentences that will “continue” the story. Let's see how long we can keep it going!

Ready? Let’s go!

Crowds clogged the streets. The deep thump of the base from a band echoed off the tall building and skyscrapers, reverberating in her chest. With so many people meshed together, the cooler temperatures of March in the Midwest didn’t feel so chilly.

Tia took a sip from her plastic cup of green-dyed beer, wondering for the third time that evening why local bars thought coloring the alcohol was so darned funny. Because, really, looking at it and thinking too hard about the liquid made her stomach turn.

With a sigh, she scanned the throng, looking for a guy wearing a green top hat. Or at least that’s what he said he’d be wearing when she chatted with him online the night before…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do You Believe?

Reading fiction requires us to suspend belief in some matter, regardless of the genre or sub-genre we enjoy. What surprised me recently was discovering that accepting werewolves and vampires is easier for some than accepting the possibility of Happily Ever After.

I’m talking long-term relationship, till death do us part. The foundation romance novels of all sorts are built on. When I read a blog by a somewhat prominent reviewer who felt that serial monogamy and revolving doors are the new normal, I was shocked! What world does she live in?

She held the jaded view that men will always leave women for younger and prettier, and this reality drives us all to read romantic fiction. Wow, I don’t want to live in her world!

My first thought was, has she heard the term “cougar”? I thought older woman younger man was the new norm. Well, okay, one of many norms. In her world, women are waiting until their thirties to marry, putting business first, and basically aging themselves out of the market. In my world, enough young people are getting married to have their elders shaking their heads that they might be too young to understand the commitment.

Sound familiar? It’s an age-old saying when two people marry: It’ll never last. This is what the blogger is saying, too. There is no hope for eternal love.

Yet I have many friends celebrating 40th, 50th anniversaries and beyond.

One line shows up repeatedly in my books, paranormal or not, “Things exist whether we believe in them or not.” Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Think air. On a good day, you can’t see the air, but you can feel a breeze when it touches you. Love is like air; it’s always there, but only sometimes do we notice it.

Not believing in love will not make it go away. It’s always out there, waiting for you to breathe deeply and allow it to penetrate your being. Seep into your blood. Stir your brain cells.

I’m single at an advanced age but I still believe in love. I believe my daughters and their husbands will achieve their happily ever after. I believe monogamy will continue to flourish. And I believe we’ll continue to read romances because they enrich the love in or lives, not replace it.

Do you believe?

In Kyle’s Redemption, Lily confronts two aspects of herself where she lost her confidence. She has to believe she is a capable artist in spite of past events, and that she’s worth loving. Kyle must believe himself capable of putting others’ goals first, not the goal he sees for them. He has to believe he can offer Lily the love she deserves. Without believing in themselves, there’s no hope for a relationship.


Blurb:

Six years ago, Lily Astor looked forward to establishing herself in the Los Angeles art world. In one painfully public moment, those dreams were shattered. Now she has the chance to try again, but the invitation to exhibit comes from a gallery owned by Kyle Ventura. The man who should have cleared her name.

After a night of eyebrow-singeing sex, Kyle realizes who Lily is and his role in her downfall. Now, as his heart falls deeper for Lily, he needs to make amends. But Lily doesn’t want his help, just his body.

For the first time in his life, sex isn’t enough for Kyle. He wants to show Lily he’s not the man he was six years ago. But first, he has to prove it to himself.

Kyle’s Redemption is available now at Ellora’s Cave.

**Exciting news flash! Death by Sex is now available as an audio book! Check it out!**

Monday, March 15, 2010

Curves Are In

Between me, you, and the world wide web I’m fascinated with the fashion world. Growing up I wanted to become a fashion designer. I even remember making clothes for my Barbies!


Why am I so excited?

Because SKINNY IS NOT IN AT FASHION PARIS WEEK.

It’s about freaking time people. The average American woman is 5'4", weighs 140 lbs, and wears a size 14 dress. Not only did they use different sized models on the runway, they used older ones too. Elle MacPherson walked the runway at the 2010 Louis Vuitton Ready-to-Wear show during Paris Fashion Week at the ripe old age of 46.



The new curvy look comes after designer Karl Lagerfeld, in response to criticism over skinny models at European fashion weeks, told reporters: “Nobody wants to look at round women.”

HA! Tell that to my husband. (or any of my past boyfriends  ) There are definitely those men who appreciate curves. I guess you can tell what category I fit in. It’s not the fashion per se that I’m happy about but the message they are sending to world and more importantly to the young woman.



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And Curves ARE In. Spread the word.
Now where's my chocolate?

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm off!

Not literally!

But I'm leaving shortly to attend the Liberty States Fiction Writers Convention Create Something Magical.
I'm looking forward to the convention for a couple of reasons. I've been a member of this group for a few months and I'm anxious to meet everyone. It's a great group and the information they share has always been timely and helpful. There will be some really great authors, editors and agents in attendance and I look forward to learning a lot and having a good time.

This will be the first time that I have moderated at a con and I hope it's not silly to say I'm excited! It's the F. Paul Wilson session on Self Editing. The session will also have plenty of information I'm interested in as I've done a lot of self editing lately. I'll find out if I'm on the right track--are there things I should be doing that I'm not, things I'm doing that I should not. Did that make sense?

Though I can't wait to get there, relax and settle in, there is a question in here. And I promise to post pictures next week (even if I have to borrow some!)

How do you handle editing before you submit a manuscript to a publisher? Do you only self edit or do you use a critique partner, or a group?

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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paranormal Romance & Promotion

I loved Sandra's post yesterday & it got me to thinking about promotion.

I've been introduced to authors & their novels via book bloggers and Twitter and I've been turned off of authors and books by the same. To me, as a reader, promotion works best if it is honest and not a constant drum beat. I don't really know how to explain it, but "genuineness" comes across. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh No They Didn't...

I’m an observer of life. I think this is why I’m a writer because there’s so much going on around me that I must take it all in.

It’s not uncommon for me to turn to my hubby and say “Did you see what that woman just did?” And most times he won’t. That’s okay. He’s not an observer.

I am.

To this end, I’ve been shocked at what I’ve observed around the web in this week. It wasn’t big, newsworthy items, just smallish things that I’ve seen in the writing community.

An author I formerly respected has built herself into quite a spectacle on a social networking site and seems to be her own biggest fan. That’s okay for her but for me, a potential reader, it’s annoying and off-putting. To “read” her, you’d think she ranked right up there with Mother Theresa. Excuse me. I think just vomited a little in my mouth. Have I bought her book yet? Nope. Still deciding. After all, I can wait months until it comes down to a decent price, but I have decided to drop her from my acquaintance base on the site.

Enough is enough.

Another person, respected in the publishing world, had a big old-fashioned hissy fit on a social networking site this weekend. It doesn’t matter what side of the issue she falls on. The fact remains that she demonstrated less than professional restraint by beating the issue into the ground. Does it affect the way I see this person? Maybe, but then, I’m not impressed by titles and who a person thinks they are. To my way of thinking, respect is earned—not automatically given. Is it disappointing? Yes, but not unexpected. Fame and notoriety is addicting and some people love the power.

Moving on.

And still a third person, and a writer to boot, seems to be a literary “groupie”. You know the type. The ones who follow the “popular, best-selling” authors or agents and editors around the web, comment on their every little thing, post on their blogs, forums, whatever, rave when these folks spit out a wad of gum, etc. Really? I’d say you nailed the whole sycophantic thing. Good job. There might be a restraining order—or four—in your future.

Yes, every person in these instances is human. I get that. We all are, we’re curious, we want to be liked, to fit in and we make mistakes. We’ve all been in these exact situations. The key is to live and learn from them--and don't repeat them.

So what’s my point in doing this blog post? Well, here it is. If I’m noticing these things, you can bet other people have noticed them as well.

Whether we want to believe it or not—and maybe we forget from time to time—but once we have a book published, or we’re a blogger, agent, editor, publisher or anyone else involved in this very small writing community, we’re "out there". In the public eye. In front of our peers, readers and potential bosses--and yes, an editor and publisher is a boss.

We're all being observed.

It’s vital to behave with respect at all times, no matter how much of a fan-girl or boy we want to be, no matter how cheesed off at the world we’ve been, no matter how wonderful we think we are, people are watching and they’re taking note.

And they’re forming opinions and making decisions.

In this day and age, when money is tight and admiration is hard to come by, we need to handle our public identity with grace, dignity and common sense. The world won’t come to an end if we don’t announce to everyone the subject of our current angst. Do it sparingly. This community does rally together around a common complaint, but know when to draw the line and walk away. Sometimes silence is the better part of valor.

Show your love of a good book, but don’t get too chummy with the author. Bond with the movers and shakers in the business but don’t become a nuisance. Comment and walk (or surf) away. Realize you don’t actually walk on water and you will sink if you try.

Always remember, I’m watching you—and so are others.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Overcoming a Challenge

First, I'd like to thank Rebecca Royce for asking me to guest post today while she is out of town. I'm honored to be in some great company here at Paranormal Romantics for today!

For every writer, there is always something that proves to be a challenge for them. No two writers are exactly the same and everyone will tell you they have their own ways to overcome those challenges. I heard someone once say "write with your five senses". When you think about it, that makes perfect sense - however, that's where my biggest writing challenge comes in.

See - I don't have five senses. Way, way back in my youth, I developed scarlet fever from a cold/sore throat. something happened during the time of the high fevers and the doctors believe my olfactory nerve was damaged. I suffer from what is known as anosmia. Meaning that I do not have a sense of smell.

Zip.

Needless to say, that presents quite a challenge as a writer because none of the characters I've developed have the same affliction. This is where research really, really comes into play. Because the illness was so long ago, I have no memory of what things smell like, so telling me "Oh, that perfume smells like roses." doesn't help because I have no idea what a rose smells like in the first place. So even comparisons don't help. I rely heavily on people around me to help when I need to have a character reference a scent in one of my books.

In my first book, Flash of Dark, there's a scene where the hero, tells the heroine what she smells like:

“Why? What do I smell like?”
He dipped forward, pulling in my scent again, but this time he did so gently and unhurried as he savored it. A sliver of hot, powerfully intense lust snaked down my spine and curled tight fingers through me. “Vanilla I scent immediately, but it’s mixed with something else. A flower that I can’t quite place that softens the scent of it.” I was silent as he inhaled again. “Narcissus and oranges,” he said finally, drawing in another breath. This one was different, as if he wasn’t trying to place the scent any longer. Now it was like he was making sure that the smells were ones he never forgot. “I’m never going to be able to eat an orange again and not want you.”

This was one of those instances where I had to draw on information from friends and family. I don't know what vanilla, narcissus or even oranges smell like. My husband does a wonderful job of comparing scents to tastes for me and hence why a lot of times, scents in my books are associated with taste. It's something most readers wouldn't be aware of and probably see it as a better way of detailing scents, but it's simply a necessity for me to understand it.

This is just one example of a challenge I face as a writer trying to tell a story to a reader. Anyone else have any challenges they have to overcome in their writing? It doesn't have to be anything as drastic as my example, but I'm sure we'd love to hear it!

----

Sara Brookes
http://www.sarabrookes.net
https://twitter.com/sara_brookes

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Monday 56

Technically this game has been called the 'Friday 56' but since I post on Mondays I'm bending the rules.

Rules:


* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.

* Turn to page 56.

* Find the fifth sentence.

* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.

*Post a link along with your post back to this blog. As I'm going to post a link to Renee's blog since this is where I got the idea.

* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.



HAPPY FRIDAY  MONDAY!

The closest book I have at hand is DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS by Jeff Kinney. What can I say I have boys. At least he's reading, right? Unfortunately, he can't return the book on his self and left it by my computer.


pg. 56

"Then I called Mrs. Canfield and did my best imitation of Gramma.  I guess I'm lucky my voice hasn't changed yet.  Believe it or not, Mrs. Canfield bought it."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Real Housewives of Orange County

I know everyone that comes over to PR today will be dying to know the outcome of the final show of the season. Right? Lmao.

Paranormal--HEY—it is another world!

Guilty pleasure? HELL NO!—I love this show and I am going to go into serious withdrawal! Every Thursday night I settle down with a glass of wine and tune in to BravoTV. I even watch when it’s rerun during the week just to make sure I didn’t miss anything! I don’t watch the New York or Atlanta shows—just Orange County. Could be because I was fatally hooked on OC the first season. They have sunshine, palm trees and the Pacific Ocean.

WAIT! I do have next week’s wrap up show where all the ladies sit around and sling mud at each other—I’ll be there.

Anyway, this is where my mind is so it’s what you get today. Remember, the only thing I ever promised is you’d never get the teachy and booky stuff from me. Otherwise, anything is fair game. A quick summary of the cast and last night is below.

And like reading a book—it’s subjective.

Alexis and her husband, Jim Bellino, are new this year and could leave and I wouldn’t miss them. They are tied at the hip and one can’t wiggle without the other shaking. Neither one brings anything new. My guess is in a couple years Alexis will know exactly how Tamra feels. She breathes very little without Jim’s permission. Oh, he has allowed her to take a pt job with her plastic surgeon.

Lynne (who came in midway last year) and her husband, Frank Curtin, got evicted from their lovely little Laguna Beach home and she’s blaming him! I’m pretty sure she was aware his construction business was suffering when she got a face lift and decided the oldest daughter needed a nose job and a designer purse that was over 1K! Lynn took the girls and moved in with mom because she doesn’t know if she can stand being with the husband. Frank’s lucky to get a break from her and those two girls. He should hide out for as long as he can. Those three women are the reason he headed to the poorhouse. She needs to worry about the youngest daughter who curses at the parents like a sailor and she’s on her way to being a teenage drunkard. At 16 she arrived at the end of season party soused. Mind you, she rode in the limo with her parents and Lynne claims to not have seen her drinking in the limo. She said something like “I couldn’t see what they were doing way over where they sat in the car!” Crazzzyy!! Unfortunately, Frank now works for Lynne…Uhh, she has a jewelry (cuffs) line!

Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley—Gretchen found out Slade dated another housewife. How many is that now? Hey, she got him on the rebound from an original OC housewife, Jo De La Rosa, and however many more he schlepped around with. He goes everywhere she goes. He had his eye on a few ladies at the party last night! There is something about Gretchen that doesn’t allow me to care one way or the other whether she stays or goes.

Tamra Barney, came along in season three—Poor Tamra she got stuck with Simon for a husband and can’t make a move without him. Once she sheds his dead weight, she’ll be a much better woman and person. If she gets back to work and learns to stand on her own two feet without Simon dictating when and where she’s allowed to go and who she can be friends with, she’ll be okay. I’d like to see her be happy.

Jeana Keough, one of the originals (her legs appeared in the ZZ Top video for "Legs")—Ex playboy playmate and she is one of the women who I thought had some sense, though she could start stuff, and then she’d sit back and watch the fireworks. Her last season but I hope she pops in now and then.

Vicki Gunvalson, one of the originals—I like Vicki and I like her husband, Donn, who is so laid back. Unlike the other men, he is secure enough to not follow behind Vicki’s every move. Vicki takes a lot of criticism for crying so much and I think it’s because she has to deal with the ladies above. I’d cry every time I saw one of them coming and head the other way! If we were friends, I’d have to have a stiff drink before I let them through my door. Otherwise, she’s tough, high powered, runs her own financially thriving insurance business, and when she’s not around the other women—she’s one hell of a lady. Other than the TV show and exposure, I don’t know why she stays. If it’s because she does truly value their friendship—I like her even more.

I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, who’ll be around next year. One thing is for sure—I’ll be front and center on my couch, wine in hand, and eyes glued to the set.

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

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Paranormal Romance & Movies

The upcoming Oscars got me to thinking about Paranormal Romance and movies. 


Underworld & Twilight were, to me, paranormal romance movies. 


There are so many great PR books which would make great movies.


Unfortunately there aren't that many PR movies & there's definitely a market.


Which paranormal romance book would you love to see made into a movie?


And is there a paranormal movie out that you love?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Release of Five Leaf Clover

I'm pleased to share with you my latest book release: FIVE LEAF CLOVER. This is the third book in my Holiday Magic series.

Blurb: Jinx may have a handle on her job as the town’s baker, but it’s the leprechaun jig that’s out of control. She has a tendency to spill coins wherever she goes...not a good thing in a small town.

With big city hotels booked solid for the college basketball tourney, Conor is forced to cools his heels in the tiny town. It’s by pure accident that he stumbles upon Jinx’s secret. He demands three wishes and threatens to hold her hostage unless the curvy redhead complies.

Jinx will need more than the luck of the Irish to convince her sexy suitor she’s not his fortune at the end of the rainbow. Or is Conor the one man who can make her chose love over magic?


Excerpt

“You’re a leprechaun.” He inched toward her with slow, deliberate movements. “I’ve heard the legends. I know the folklore. Female leprechauns are rare, and the most lucky of the magical beings.” For one insane moment, Conor gave silent acknowledgement to his crazy uncle.

“I… I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, right.” Another two steps brought him around the table’s edge. He paused, his heart pounding a staccato rhythm as he gazed at her. He could see her panic, but he didn’t know how to alleviate it without missing the fantastic opportunity she presented. Catching a real, live leprechaun! Maybe he wanted to pay back the old ills for his family. Too bad his uncle hadn’t lived to see an actual magical being after a lifetime spent in the hunt.

“I saw you last night, with your bag of coins. You are a leprechaun, and I will catch you.”

Vaulting between the table and the door, he nearly caught the hem of her green-and-gold plaid skirt, but she danced out of his grasp to run down the hall and he skittered on the polished hardwood. Recovering, Conor gave chase, his adrenaline giving him the added burst of speed he needed to keep pace with her. She paused then bolted to the left, stumbling up the staircase.

At the landing, Conor gripped her arm but was foiled again as she wiggled away. “You have nowhere to go. Just give up.” His foot slipped as he climbed, slowing him down. She raced up the next flight of stairs, gave him a glance over her shoulder and hesitated. Conor bounded up the remaining stairs, two at a time.

At the top, the woman ran down the hall to pause once more in front of a door only two rooms down from his, fumbling with her key. He almost reached her when she wrenched it open. Just as it swung inward, he crammed his foot against the frame, preventing its closure.

He shoved the pain in his right foot to the back of his mind. It could be dealt with later. He let loose a victorious laugh as he grabbed the edge of the door and limped into the room. Conor leaned his full weight against the wood as he closed it without a sound. “There’s nowhere to run, leprechaun.”

“Don’t call me that.” The woman backed away from him, panting. “Get out of my room.” Her shapely backside connected with the edge of a bed much like his own, but a quilt in bright cheery colors covered hers.

Conor’s chest heaved from the impromptu workout. He grinned. She was his ticket to the good life. No longer would he need to work twelve-hour days in the management office of Worldwide Parcel Delivery. No more crappy schedules, meaningless red tape, unbearable bosses. He lunged at her and they both tumbled on the bed. “I’ll let you go only when you grant me my three wishes.”

All thoughts of anything but her leeched from his brain as she struggled beneath him. He couldn’t help but notice she was warm and soft in all the right places. When one of her flailing fists cracked him on the jaw, Conor winced and the lustful thoughts were forgotten. “I won’t hurt you, I promise.” Guilt tightened his chest at the apprehension in her eyes. He truly hadn’t meant to terrify her, but he didn’t release his grip on her wrists. “You have my word.”

“I have no reason to trust you.”

“You have no reason not to, but it would be very unlucky of me to harm a leprechaun.” He grinned, his lips inches from hers. “I’m Irish to the core. My grandmother taught me a thing or two about charm and cleverness, but it was my uncle who taught me about the magic of leprechauns.” Conor held her gaze, ignoring the threads of desire that swirled through his gut as her curves pressed against his body. For someone so petite, she had big appeal.

She swallowed. “What’s your name?” Her breath warmed his cheek. “I can’t reason with a nameless man.”

“Conor Leath.” Her scent wrapped invisible threads around his consciousness. Light and elusive, it reminded him of the fields of clover he used to run in on his grandmother’s land. “You’re like a five-leaf clover. Rare, exclusive and very, very lucky.” Tentatively, he touched one of her deep red curls, pleased when it wound around his finger. “I’m glad I found you.”

A splash of pink stained her cheeks. “My name is Jinx. Jenika, legally, but I hate that name.” She drew a shaky breath that caused the curve of her breasts to push against his chest. “I won’t run away. You have my word.” She stirred beneath him. Two silver coins tinkled together on the quilt near her waist. “What do you want?”

He spared a glance at the money, reminded of his original purpose. “Three wishes. The legends say if a person catches a leprechaun, he or she gets three wishes—anything they want, as long as the leprechaun remains their captive.” He lifted a brow. “If the leprechaun escapes, the captor’s luck runs out.” Conor smiled. “I have no intention of letting you go.”

Jinx shivered but met his gaze. “Fine, I’ll give you three wishes, whatever you want, but you have to at least allow me the freedom of some movement.”

“Okay.” He eased his body from hers a fraction of an inch.

“Are the wishes the only thing you want?” The tip of her tongue darted out to wet her lips, leaving them a glossy, rose-hued Cupid’s bow.

Conor followed the nervous gesture, and stifled a curse. He’d probably regret it, but he couldn’t help himself. “And this.”

Swiftly, before he could lose his nerve, he pressed his lips to hers. Lush and pliable, they yielded to him as his mouth moved over hers with deliberate care. Just like in the diner, a brief electric shock tickled his insides, and he raised his head to stare at her.

Jinx slapped his cheek.

Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHg9SjwRnEg

Buy Link: http://www.lyricalpress.com/five_leaf_clover

Author Website: http://www.sandrasookoo.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My World Building Brain

My World Building Brain

So with all of these earthquakes coming lately I’ve been wondering if Joss Ware’s fictional Beyond the Night series is coming true. (SPOILER) Is Atlantis rising and bringing with it all these changes in platonic activity?

My heart goes out sincerely to all the people in Haiti and Chile who are suffering. This post is not meant in any way to make light of their situation.

It’s just that I—an admitted not religious scholar—can’t help what my imagination does in times like this. Every event I see, read about, or experience—even something as mundane as waiting in line at the deli, has become a word building experience to me.

Having said that, I can’t help now but wonder what novels are going to come from all this strangeness happening in our world.

What do you think? Does this happen to you?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sex Appeal

Everyone’s got it. Some more than others. What I find sexy, might not ruffle your feathers. Erotica has it in abundance and, we have to admit it, sex sells.

How do you convey sex appeal?

It was one of the hardest things for me to learn as a writer. Some authors research history or world build, I spent a huge amount of time learning the art of attraction. Not the sex part, slot A into B. I learned about that in sex education but the stuff that gives you shivers as you read. I reread all my favorites again, but not a reader. Placing my writer’s hat on, I took notes, literally. What worked, how did they pace it, why did it draw me in?

A. Flirting

(these are not in order by the way)
- there needs to be a smile
- eye contact is pivotal, the more intense the more interested
- a touch or even better, a soft brush of skin



I once read that when a man lets his eyes wander down a woman’s body from the head down, he’s interested in HER. When his gaze wanders from her feet up then it’s only her body.

Once again, I find myself on the soap box preaching the use of body language. It SHOWS the reader so much and makes them FEEL it better. Does the reader want to read how his gaze made her shiver? Sure, but I bet they’ll be happier if you make them shiver with the heroine.



B. Presence

- you can’t force your character to be sexy. It’s hard to explain this so I’ll give you an example. You can’t place Lucille Ball in Scarlett O’Hara’s shoes and expect the same results. Not that comedy can’t be sexy but you approach from a different direction than something dark and sultry.
-somebody should have confidence. If both characters are unsure then it could lead the reader to feel awkward.
-persuasion, charm, and wit are all part of presence. Without it a handsome/beautiful person is only a manikin.



C. Appearance

-being attractive helps but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. (See my Bald is Beautiful campaign.
-a skilled writer can make any body type seem attractive. What matters is the hero/heroine’s response to it.



D. Response

-If your character reacts to someone in the story that has presence, flirts, and finds them attractive so can the reader.


Haven’t you read an excerpt where you’ve no clue what the guy looked like but from the heroine’s reaction to him you think, ‘Hot damn.’

I’m off my soap box now.

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