Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Research is important to keeping your story spot on.

The importance of researching for your book can't be understated or overstated.  I've started a new project, something very, very different to anything that I've tried before and while I'm enjoying the challenge, I'm also finding myself stumbling with what normally has come so easy for me.

For years I've written almost exclusively in  the historical genre, because its what I love. I still love it with a passion but at the same time the last thing I want to have happen is my writing get stale or cookie cutter. To avoid this I'm exploring new genres, new heat levels, locations, even new characters that I've never really thought of before.

Everyone loves an alpha be he a soldier, cop, werewolf or vampire, or a 18th century outlaw looking to steal a woman's heart. However, the werewolf, the vampire and the 18th century outlaw are a lot easier for me to write then the modern day soldier or cop.  I can see the character's development, know him, but putting those thoughts and visions into the story is a difficult process for someone who writes cowboys and vikings lol.

To be sure that my hero/heroines are real and three dimensional and that the story flows, I've had to resort to one of my most favorite past times. Research. Yep, that dreaded 'R' word has popped up yet again. I love researching clothes, foods, all the good stuff that made history so much fun. Now, because of my own creativity (Darn that MUSE!!!) I'm having to dig into modern day things like weapons and gear, skills that would be used by a Red Cross worker, the Joint Task Force 2, Navy SEALs and more.

A great story takes time I must say, and to have it be a true reflection of modern day events I need to spend hours researching, reading books, watching movies, to get all the facts that I can...so that I can edit 90% of them out and keep the good stuff.

One thing that I encourage is to keep a spreedsheat of all the links, books and resources that are used within the process so that if your editor comes back with a "This doesn't sound right." or "This is too modern of a term" you can say, "Nope, here's the book, link whatever that I got that tidbit out of."

After all, researching for a book is half the fun. The other half is torturing your characters until they break and do what they never really wanted to do in the first place - fall in love with the hero/heroine that's totally not who they were looking for!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Its OUT!!!

Phantom Pleasure is now available for purchase. Come check it out at Phantom Pleasure.

Can true love transcend death itself...

Phantom Pleasure

an excerpt

Chapter One

1859, Bellantaine Plantation, Virginia

From the edge of her four-poster bed, Frances stared out the window at the smattering of sunlight on the manicured grounds. From a distance, the echoes of raised voices, the crack of a whip, and the faint throb of singing from the slaves working the cotton field met her ears.

With each passing moment, her attention flittered from one raised voice to the other like a bee in her mother's rose gardens. Which of those working had told her secret? Who would betray her so?

Her father's incensed roar drifted up the stairs to her chamber-the tone enough to send a shudder of fear through her.

"Why?" she whispered and plucked at the lacy thread of her nightshift.

In the distance, the local church bell rang, drawing guests for the wedding from every plantation that fell within range of the brass-toned clangs. She shivered, her heart pulsing, roaring like thunder in her ears as each toll struck like the lash of a whip against her soul. Ding-dong. The musical knoll heralded not a wedding...but her very demise.

A soft creak of the hinges drew her attention. For the first time since she'd gotten out of bed that morning, the door swung inward to reveal her personal slave.

"Good morning, Mammy." She turned from the window, a slight but warm smile lifting her lips. As welcome as the autumn rains after a drought, Mammy had, simply by coming to her, settled her to some extent.

"Mornin', Miss Frances." Mammy offered a sympathetic smile, the gap between her front teeth showing. She nudged the door closed with her well-rounded hip, her worn black dress hugging her ample bosom. Waddling over to Frances' chest, she opened drawers. "Why, the ballroom be all filled up! Got more guests than I ever seen in the house. Miss Frannie, you's got a pretty kettle of fish, if'n I do say so."

"Oh, come now, Mammy, surely you're jesting. Father couldn't have invited that many people, could he?" Frances swallowed against the rising tide of fear. It was hardly a bit of truth, he wouldn't...no, it wasn't possible for him to humiliate her in such a manner. Not when he wanted to keep the reasoning behind the marriage so quiet. "Why, that would mean he invited nearly the entire county."

"Now, Miss Frannie, you done know your daddy will do as he sees fit. Ain't no sense to worrying yourself grey." Mammy pulled out the pale satin gown Frances would wear and hung it on the hook on the wall. With practiced speed she set Frances' stay, petticoats, pantaloons, and stockings on the bed. Her petticoats rustling, she laid out the grooming tools she would use to prepare Frances' hair. She gestured to the cushioned bench with an ornate silver hairbrush. "Come sit down, child."

Her stomach twisting with dismay, Frances shuffled from the bed to her dressing table. "I simply don't see-"

"You'd best recall the mas'ers words." Mammy rapped her on the head lightly with the brush. In the mirror her dark eyes held sympathy and understanding. "He could have done worse..."

"I've no desire to wed Robert," Frances whispered tightly. "Does that not matter? I love Nathaniel. Why can't I marry whom I wish?"

Mammy sighed, and Frances hunched her shoulders against the old woman's opinion. She stared at her hands in her lap. Young, handsome, Nathaniel didn't care about money or wealth. His simple concerns freed her. Was there enough wood to warm the house, to cook the dinners? Was she happy? Oh, yes, Nathaniel always wanted her to be happy. They'd had so many plans, so many dreams of their own.

She loved that Nathaniel wanted her-Frances Elizabeth. Not her dowry. Not her father's business alliances, or land, or any of the numerous reasons Robert had agreed to marry her. No, Nathaniel had simply loved her. It would have been better to run away together than to have to endure this.

"Yer daddy don't want no tainted blood in the family." Mammy tugged the brush through Frances' long hair. A short nod of satisfaction preceded her setting the brush down. "You be knowing that, and that boy ain't nowheres as well off as Mas'er MacKenny." Her fingers worked feverishly to untie all the laces of Frances' pale nightdress and slide a satin chemise over her head. With the short stay in place, Mammy smoothed it over Frances' breasts before tugging on the lacing along the back.

"Hmph. What is money? Ain't worth a damn to me." Frances tightened her fingers around the bedpost before her. She glanced over her shoulder, her eyes locking onto Mammy's. "I loved Nathaniel, and I am not ashamed of it. Why, if he'd wanted to run off and get married, I'd have gone-"

"Quick!" Mammy tensed, her head swiveling toward the door. "Sounds like herself's coming. Best put aside those words and get into this here delicates."

Frances glanced from her servant to the door. Following Mammy's urging, she lifted her arms and allowed the older woman to wrap a corset around her slim figure. Impatience tightened her nerves while Mammy set to work on the tedious chore of tightening the lashings. She adjusted the whalebone beneath her breasts, pushing them up so they spilled beyond the lace of her camisole.

Frances and Mammy both turned to the door as it swung inward with a gust of perfumed air. Compared to the simple gown Frances would wear, her mother had dressed lavishly. Grey and blue bows were sprinkled about the bodice of her gown, flowing into the wide, layered skirts that fell over her hoops. A delicately stitched snood held her mane of chestnut hair above her shoulders, and a slim, elegant choker adorned her throat.

"My daughter, you're going to make the most beautiful bride."

Frances couldn't help the bitter thought that darted across her mind. Trying to outshine the bride. Frances rolled her eyes at her mother's delighted tone. She shuddered at the ice in Josephina Willinton's dark eyes as they swept over Frances with eagle sharpness. Frances lifted her chin at the flare of disgust in her mother's gaze, unwilling to allow the older woman to intimidate or shame her.

"See that she wears the blue ribbons," Josephina ordered, her attention drifting to the collection of stockings and pantaloons on the bed. Dropping the folded stockings on the bed next to the others, she turned and smiled-a cold, belittling movement of muscle.

A chill raced through Frances and she shivered.

"All but a few fashionably late guests have arrived." Josephine clasped her hands before her. She raised a delicately shaped brow and smirked at Frances. No matter how hard Frances tried, she couldn't avoid shifting beneath the weight of her mother's disdain.

"The ceremony will begin shortly."

"Yes, ma'am." Mammy nodded, her fingers already tucking the loose laces of the corset out of sight. "I'll see to it for you."

"And prepare her for this evening." Her mother reached for the doorknob. "Although considering why this wedding is being rushed upon everyone, you probably only need to mention that her duty is to provide heirs...the ‘how' is, of course, something the little harlot is familiar with."

Frances narrowed her eyes at her mother's cutting accusations but held her retort. It would do no good to argue. Her mother's sharp tongue hadn't dulled one whit in the weeks since her involvement with Nathaniel had been discovered-and when Frances found out which of the slaves told on her, she'd tan their hide or cut out their loose tongue.

"She'll be down within twenty minutes," Mammy promised. She slipped the heavy wedding gown over Frances' shoulders.

"See that she is." The door slammed shut on the command.

"I can't do this, Mammy," Frances choked out. "I can't stand before God and lie in such a manner. I don't want to marry him, and to lie would be-"

"Hush, child. You knows as well as me that your daddy'll have your hide a'fore he allows word to get out of your indiscretion."

"Surely you could help me? There must be something that would be of aid. Dear God above, Mammy, I've done nothing to..." Frances grasped Mammy's sleeve. Her heart raced, and she ran a finger beneath the lace at her throat, certain it had tightened around her neck. Frances gasped for air, each inhalation tripping over itself. Her head spinning, she stumbled to a nearby chair and sank down onto the padded cushion.

Mammy twisted the fold of her apron, the weathered skin of her brow puckering while she stared at Frances. "There be one thing." Her voice low, the old Negro woman glanced around as though expecting someone to jump out and cut her into bits. "You can't be a getting out of the wedding, but I's something that will help you with your nerves. Something that'll settle 'em down right proper to make what's a-coming a mite easier to deal with."

"Anything," Frances pleaded, desperation clawing at her like a beast.

Mammy hustled Frances to her bed and sat her down. "You wait here. I'll go get you a glass of water. If'n anyone asks, I've gone to get you a drink. I'll be but a minute, my child."

"Thank you." Frances pulled her servant close, hugging her tightly, and then released the old woman to her task.

The strains of the waltz filled her bedroom when the door opened and closed. A light breeze blew the smell of roses through the open bedroom window, filling the room with its sweet, intoxicating aroma.

With a growl of anger, Frances slammed the window shut and sank back onto bed. "Oh, drat," she huffed.

Frances whipped around with the creak of the door opening, relief flooding her. Mammy slipped into the room, carrying a silver tray with a tall glass of water. A small pouch hung from her apron pocket.

"You'd best drink this. It'll help you relax." Mammy poured the white powder into the glass and handed it to Frances. "Drink it all down."

Frances grimaced at the bitter taste but drank it all down. She handed the glass back and swallowed against the faint aftertaste. "Is that it?" She coughed into a delicate lace handkerchief.

"By the time the vows be exchanged, you'll be relaxed, maybe even a bit sleepy. I be thinking that is what you're a needing. Not like you want to remember this night anyway." A sly smile curved her lips, and her dark eyes sparkled with mirth.

"No, I don't." Frances stood and leaned on Mammy while the older woman slipped her shoes on and hooked the buttons into place.

Mammy smoothed Frances' gown, stepped back, and smiled. "Come. I'd best be changing into my fancy dress and such. I'll be at the party, don't you worry none."

"Thank you." Frances choked back tears of gratitude and love for her friend and leaned forward to press a kiss to her cheek. "What would I do without you?"

Mammy cackled gleefully. "Suffer the coming hours awares."

"Go, change." Frances pushed her out the door and closed it.

Her back pressed against the wood, she surveyed the room with a critical eye. Feminine and pretty, most of the lace would vanish when her husband moved in. Her childhood gone, brushed aside by her father in his bid to secure her a husband and all the while avoid revealing she had disgraced him...and yet only she knew the truth.

She pressed her hand to her heart, pain slicing through her at the knowledge of what she'd lost. With Nathaniel gone, there could be no going back. Her heart ached for the loss even though her mind rebelled. The future uncertain, she clung to the faint hope that maybe someday he'd return for her.

* * *

The wedding was done, the ceremony a blessed blur in her mind. No one had seemed bothered or even aware of her lack of emotion or barely muttered response. Her mother had smiled and cried while her father had beamed proudly. And all the while, Frances had swum in a sea of wonderful oblivion.

Frances smiled weakly when a glass of wine appeared in her hands. She swayed slightly, thankful when her father wrapped an arm around her shoulders and squeezed. His voice muffled, he whispered in her ear, his words swallowed by the blissful hollowness of her mind. Whatever Mammy had given her proved a blessing...if only she could have more of it to get through the coming night.

"How's your champagne, my dearest?"

Her new husband's query drew her attention to the glass she held. Without a thought, she gulped her wine and smiled when another was offered. When Robert wrapped an arm around her waist Frances brushed aside her vague, half-formed irritation.

She cast a glance through the crowded room in search of Mammy. Spotting her, she raised her champagne in a silent toast. Whatever she'd concocted had worked well. Frances barely felt anything except a mild sense of revulsion at Robert's touch, and even that quickly faded.

"Soon enough we can slip away from this madhouse," Robert murmured in her ear. "We'll be alone, Frances, as all married couples should be."

* * *

Frances struggled to stem her giggle at the tickle of her husband's warm breath across the back of her neck. His hands tightened around her waist, his thumbs brushing along the undersides of her breasts, he nudged her up the stairwell. His coarse whiskers rasped over her neck while his lips toyed with her ear. She shuddered at the tendrils of desire that laced through her body.

"Nnn...Robert." Her breathy moan filled the shadow-enshrined hallway.

He paused on the landing, pressing a hot, open-mouthed kiss to her throat. "You have no idea how much I want you," he groaned.

One hand rose to cup her breast through the layers of silk and whalebone. The fingers of his other hand plucked at the buttons that flowed along the curve of her back, sending a shiver of lust racing up her spine. The bodice of her wedding gown slipped from her shoulders, and Frances gasped as a wave of cool air whispered against her bared back. The delicate lace brushed against her heated flesh, teasing, tickling with its rough edges when he pushed it aside.

"Robert, please." Turning in his arms, she pressed her lips to his, desperate to feel more than the drunken loss of inhibitions necessary to tolerate her husband's touch. She squeezed her eyes shut against the longing for another while her heart cried out for Nathaniel.

She craved the touch of the man who had claimed her heart so long ago, but her father's word bound her to this fate. Shame washed over her along with her husband's roughened breath against her neck. It wasn't Robert's fault he wasn't the one she desired.

"My sweet, innocent Frances, I'm going to take you over and over, make you burn for my touch. Make you scream and plead for me to give you my seed. Oh, yes, tonight will be filled with passion. I'm going to send you to heaven, straight up to the pearly gates, my sweet." His lips descended, bruising in their intensity, his tongue darting into her mouth. Hot, slick, it dueled with hers. Rubbing, teasing, he devoured her mouth. The sharp bite of his teeth in the softness of her lip brought a moan of protest from Frances, and uncertainty darted through her.

Robert pushed her back against the cool wall, ripping his lips from hers to trail biting kisses along her jaw and down her throat. His fingers tore at the front of her gown, shoving it off her shoulders and imprisoning her arms at her sides.

Robert ground his hips against her, his weight forced forcing her harder against the wall. With a muted moan, Frances wiggled against him. When his hard length pressed against her belly, she sucked in a quick breath. Her heart pounded in her ears like thunder, and she shuddered at the weight of his hand cupping her breast. The slow, maddening shift of his thumb over her nipple wasn't enough. She craved his touch on her flesh.

Desperate to touch, to hold her new husband, she arched closer to him. With her eyes squeezed shut, she imagined someone else in her arms, pretended it wasn't Robert. Whimpers slipped from her lips when he suckled at the skin of her throat.

A slight sound drifted from the base of the stairs, stirring Frances to act. She squirmed against him, her breath a harsh wheezing as she struggled to focus, to point out something important. "Not here," she whispered in his ear.

He grunted in acknowledgement and, reaching for the doorknob beside her, he pushed the door open. The heat of his palm against her back soaked through her pores, searing her soul. He ushered her through the door and into the dimly lit bedroom. Inside, he walked her backward to the bed, stealing kisses with each step as the latch clicked into place. Frances snickered drunkenly when the edge of the bed touched the backs of her knees.

Suddenly uncertain, embarrassment flickered to life within her. Her husband bolted the door and moved across the room to light a lamp. Her gaze followed every movement, every shift of muscle while he poured two flutes of sparkling champagne. Her hand trembled while she reached for the wine, and he turned to pour another.

The pale golden liquid swirled in her glass, and she lifted it to her lips, sipping the cold, bubbly liquid. Happiness effervesced within her like the fine flute of wine she held in her fingers. Robert straightened and smiled at her. If his hair hadn't had the sun-streaks and fell a bit longer, over his collar-she could always pretend. His eyes were too pale, but the champagne helped her to imagine.

"To us," he whispered and touched his glass to hers with a tinkling of fine crystal.

Frances tipped the glass up, letting the contents glide over her tongue and down her throat, the effects of too much spirits dulling her mind. Robert reached for the bottle and filled her glass again, his own flute sitting untouched on the dresser. Why hasn't he taken a drink of his champagne?

With a saucy grin she met Robert's gaze, catching the cold smirk on his face, the bitter hatred in his gaze. What is this? Why has his passion changed so?

A veil of mist settled over her mind. Blinking rapidly to clear the fog, she struggled to control the rising tide of panic that welled within her, crashing in waves that caused the room to spin. Her throat tightened, her lungs burned with the need for air, and she whimpered in pain.

Her numbed fingers loosened on the delicate crystal, and the glass slipped from her fingers, smashing on the floor. She gaped at her husband. A half apologetic smile crossed his face. Terrified, clawing through the darkness swirling around her, she crumbled to the floor in a tangled heap of lace, satin, and spilled champagne.

A slight sound behind him drew her gaze. The door swung inward, and a familiar figure slipped into the golden cast of the lamp. From what seemed out of nowhere, shimmering gold sleeves wrapped around her. The warmth of the embrace penetrated the increasing cold that coiled through her.

"Rest, Frances. Rest for now at least."

The gentle words pushed the fear back, and the darkness of death wrapped Frances in its shroud.

Her mind raced as her life slipped away. Why? Why would they do this?

For those who are thinking of submitting

Here's an article that I think everyone who thinks they're ready should read trhough. The lady who wrote it has some great points and I think its important to have an idea of what to do and what not to do.

Carina Press Aquisitions

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Doing a Happy Dance!!!

I'm ecstatic today. After weeks of uncertainty, I finally got the letters of rites reversals from Blade Publishing that I've been waiting for. With them in hand I can revamp my novels and resubmit them elsewhere. One I've already decided is going to go to Carina Press - a subsiduary of Harlequinne. With luck they'll enjoy the story and make me an offer. The others I haven't decided on just yet but I'm hopeful that all three books will find an excellent, and prosperous home that showcases the stories to their fullest degree!

Thanks to those who have supported me and to those who are still awaiting a letter - keep your chin up, it'll get here. Just have to remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Upcoming Release!!

Yippeeee!! I'm so very excited to announce that my very first Paranormal romance, Phantom's Pleasure is set for release within the next few days. Join me in celebrating this release and enter to win a 'bling' package featuring plenty of Phantomly stuff!!!

Can true love transcend death itself?
For Southern Belle, Frances McKenny, love has been as elusive as life itself. Now, she has a chance to have the man of her dreams...if love can prove victorious!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frustration Abounds

While I'm certain most have either seen or are aware of the growing negativity to do with the recent and very sudden closing Blade, I thought i'd take a moment to reveal a few things about my own experience.

Am I pissed! You're darn right I am. I'm pissed that my fellow authors have been disrespected by the lack of contact from the owner. I'm upset that as of yet we still do NOT have our rites letter - something we do need if we're to sub elsewhere. More than that I'm pissed that this entire situation has been so horrendiously treated. I was one of the first authors with Blade and enjoyed my sales, the company etc until recently when tiny red flags started to pop up. Now, I can see what they mean and I'm willing to say that hindsight is better than foresight.

This entire experience has been frustrating but beyond that, for those new authors who have either just recently contracted with Blade or been with them a few months but have had nothing done, it could potentially be souring. I mean to have someone rip your dreams from you with such blatant disregard for you as an artist is hard to accept. I can only hope that those who dealt with Blade know there are those of us with experience who are willing and able to offer a shoulder to cry on or a kind word.

Read your contracts people, make sure that if there is any hint of discord or problems you can get out with your books. There are a great many things that could potentially happen and one never knows, but if we're smart and willing to fight for what is rightfully ours I'm certain that this frustration and agony will be more than worth it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Join me for a spotlight interview

I'm so excited to be announcing that I'm being spotlighted on Ann Lory's blog this week. for a chance to win a copy of my upcoming book or some other bling please join me and Ann on her blog to talk about writing and more.

You can find my interview here: http://annlory.blogspot.com/2010/11/in-author-spotlight-patricia-bates.html

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome Kat Cantrell

Top Ten Things I Learned from Participating in NaNo Last Year

First off, thanks Patricia for having me here! I’m super excited to be blogging today about the things I learned from doing National Novel Writing Month  http://www.nanowrimo.org/  last year. It was my first time to participate and as November is right around the corner, the topic is timely.

The best part: the book I wrote during NaNo is a finalist in the Mills & Boon New Voices http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/Entries/104-Thigh-Noon contest! (If you have a moment to go vote for me, so I can move on to the next round in the competition, I would greatly appreciate it. It requires painless and free registration.)

On to the list!

1. The key to having a great NaNo experience is preparation. I know you pantsers are cringing, but it’s 50,000 words in a month. If you regularly suffer from writer’s block or stare at the screen a lot, it’s critical to have a plan. I follow Alex Sokoloff’s NaNo Prep Series http://thedarksalon.blogspot.com/ and let me tell you, it is made of the awesome.

2. Set daily word count goals. If you don’t meet your goal one day, do extra the next day to make up. You do not want to get behind, trust me. I use a simple spreadsheet to track. If you’d like a copy, email me at katcantrell – at – rocketmail (dot) com.

3. To properly gauge the word count goal, take 50,000 and divide by the number of days you can realistically write, which is NOT always 30. Don’t forget, a major US holiday falls in the latter third of NaNo. I thought that meant extra time to write. Not so much with the husband and kids home.

4. Sometimes you have to get creative to meet the word count goal. I added a gratuitous dog which has now been removed. You may steal this idea. 

5. Turn off the editor. This one is super hard for me because I’m convinced the story is terrible and will never amount to anything, even as I’m typing the words. I read a quote and I wish I could credit it but don’t remember the source – “The mind can only do one thing well at a time. Create now. Analyze later.” Each activity uses a different side of the brain and to do them at the same time is to invite catastrophe. Let your creative side do its job and let the editor side have its day in December.

6. On that note – make notes. On a separate piece of paper, in the margins using the comment feature, in a text file, wherever. That way, while writing chapter four you won’t forget the brilliant idea you had about that thing in chapter two and you won’t lose your forward momentum. If you realize you need to research something, put in a comment, or stick a note in the manuscript itself, like xxresearchxx so you can do a search for it after you’re done. Do NOT click on that blue e which signifies the evil of the internet or you will be lost for an hour, happily surfing away and calling it research.

7. Do take breaks. I know it seems counterintuitive, but you need to rest, even for ten minutes. This keeps your eyes from freaking out and your butt from going tingly. Walk around the kitchen or the block. Drink some water. Then sit back down and dive in again.

8. Write with a buddy. I love doing writing sprints when I’m challenging myself to reach daily word count goals. I drop into a web-chat with my accountability partners to do 20 minute sprints. There are lots of established places where writers meet to do sprints, but it’s easy and free to create your own with Chatzy.  http://www.chatzy.com/

9. Do not TELL people it’s called NaNo. It’s too difficult to explain that it’s not a group of Mork & Mindy fans. I said I was participating in a writing challenge to write a whole book in a month. Most people’s eyes glazed over by the word “challenge” and I had to repeat the part where I wasn’t available for XX thing they were asking me to do/say/help with/come to.

10. Let me clarify – don’t do anything extra this month. This is not the time to volunteer for something at your kid’s school or to decide you should make everyone’s Christmas presents this year. NOTHING EXTRA.

Good luck with NaNo this year! If you aren’t participating, don’t despair, all of these tips can be used any month of the year, as long as you’re chasing that elusive thing called writing.

Thanks again for having me here, Patricia!

Kat Cantrell grew up enthralled with Star Wars, Buck Rogers and Starblazers, and read her first Harlequin in the third grade, which gave birth to a life-long obsession with the infinite beyond and eternal romance. What else would make sense but to combine the two? She suffers from genre ADD to this day and writes both contemporary and science fiction romance, and lives happily ever after in North Texas with a fantastic husband and two kids.

Kat is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Dallas Area local affiliate chapter and the specialty chapter Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coming Soon!

Jeannie Lin will be arriving soon. Please collect you questions and such as she'll be here on the 24th of October. I hope everyone will give her a warm welcome!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Upcoming Special Guest

I hope everyone has their questions lined up! We've got a special guest dropping by this month and again in October. September 23rd, Harlequine author Jeannie Lin will be popping by to answer questions, share tales of her writing, and showcasing her talent. I hope everyone will join me and her to have a lot of fun.

As well, with each day that approaches we'll be holding a special promotional event. Come join us for lots of fun, excitement, and learning!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Keeping a positive attitude

Recently, I had the unpleasant experience of having my work put down by another person whom I have never met. Now normally this would not bother me to the extent that I'd want to bash my head against the wall, but this time the problem wasn't so much what I had done...but what I had failed to get done due to a glitch in timing.

Needless, to say, it put me in a bad mood for a few hours. Until I realzized that no matter how hard a person tries there are always going to be people out there willing and eager to step on your toes. To crush your spirit and wallow in your misery like a sponge soaking up spilled coffee. There are two means of dealing with this event....

1. Wallow in my anger and frustration and possibly send an email that I will come to regret as soon as I hit that send button - or shortly thereafter. This will garner me one result and one result only - the total amassed satisfaction of doing the na-na-na-nana before I come to my senses and realize I'm a grown woman, with a child, a husband, a business, a mini-noah's ark to take care of...and a goal in mind for my future. A future that I can blissfully kiss goodbye when I resort to childish behavor...as my reputation goes down the drain slowly but surely   ....   or

2. I could suck it up. Step back, assess the situation and then make a decision on what course of action do I take. A simple, polite email sent back that says, you're welcome to your opinions and I ask that you respect mine is all I'll allow myself. Does it burn off the anger, the doubts and self-guessing? No. Do I feel great afterward? Not likely. But to live to the fullest and to ensure that my time isn't spent on trivial things like hatred, anger, frustration, I need to force myself passed that negativity and focus instead on the bright things in my life.

Blessings come in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. Keeping positive is a much less daunting task when one looks at them. A child's laughter, a successful contract talk, rain in a fire ravaged area, a puppy's excited bark...when balanced against a person's anger they are powerful motivators to smile.

Just today I was watching our newest addition, playing with a stuffed snake that was about 10 times bigger than him. He was barking and racing about like crazy. Happy with just living and playing. Watching him made me smile...too often we focus on our negatives and forget the positives we have in our lives.

So, to help me remain positive in a world of 'bad', ugly truths, I know now that I have to remember to count the blessings that I have. To think beyond the black and white and look at the grey. To take the comments against my work with a grain of salt - consider them, think of where they've come from, and realize that in their own way, the person who has criticised me is only reaching out. They have offered me some advice on how to improve myself...and its up to me to balance their tone with the blessings they've given me. Doesn't mean its easy or fair, but its a challenge that I look forward to because as long as I know I've done my very best, there is no reason to look beyond that which I can use to my advantage to keep myself on track and positive.

Here's my challenge to you, what blessings have you recieved today? And how have you taken them...good, bad, negative, or have you kept a positive attitude and embraced the strength within yourself? Let me know...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Welcome David Bridger and his novel Beauty and the Bastard

Welcome David, thanks for stopping by and answering some questions about you and your book.


1. How did you come up with the story idea?

I daydreamed the opening scene. Well, I say daydreamed, but actually I was lying in bed waiting for sleep to come, when the scene played clearly in my mind. It was as immediate as watching a movie. It's a short scene featuring Saul the Bastard, a fallen angel who works as a bounty hunter. It imprinted itself in my mind because I felt his private agony.

No way was I going to sleep with this vivid scene playing over and over in my head, so I propped myself up on one elbow and watched the night sky through my bedroom window while the story unfolded some more.

Next came Rebecca. She's a modern-day demon princess whose family pretty much runs her city, but more importantly she is a successful fraud investigator and a self-sufficient woman. Which is why she's very pissed off when dangerous events force her family to hire Saul to protect her against people who mean her harm.

I dropped off at some point, but Saul and Rebecca continued to argue and glare at each other in my dreams. Next morning, I opened a new file and started writing their story.

2. When you write, do the events in your story affect you, and in what way?

Yes, they do, in that the events affect my characters, who are close to the surface of my mind while I'm writing them. It works in the opposite direction, too. While I was writing Beauty and the Bastard last summer, my wife was very ill. She was very ill for fifteen months, actually, but those summer months were the worst time. She's well on the mend now, sufficiently so for me to admit that back then I thought I was going to lose her. I was tortured and very afraid. And I poured all my emotions into the story.

3. Why do you write within your genre? Have you always enjoyed reading and writing within that field?

I've always been a romantic. Most sailors are, whatever they tell you. I think every one of my favourite novels and movies has contained a great romance - although many wouldn't be labeled "romance" - and it was natural for me to write what I love reading. I've always been drawn to tales of people finding a light in the dangerous darkness, from classic gothic novels through film noir to modern urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

4. What makes your writing unique? What is your trademark?

Goodness! I don't think I'm qualified to answer this question. :)

I'll tell you how I try to be unique: through my voice. I'm aware that in my best material, my voice is dark, foreboding, sharp, sensuous, and passionate. That natural voice is my guide.

5. Have you ever taken any formal writing courses? If yes, do you think they helped you in your pursuit of publication?

No, I haven't.

6. Why did you select your publisher?

My publisher selected me! :D

In honesty, I knew while I was writing Beauty and the Bastard that it was the best thing I'd ever written. My crit partner knew it too. We rode it like a wave and just knew it would be my breakthrough story. I also knew, before I even started writing, that it would be a paranormal romance novella best-suited for epublication. When it was ready for submission, I sent it to the four houses I considered to be the best in their field. Liquid Silver Books wasn't the only epub interested, but their acquisitions editor's vision for Beauty and the Bastard seemed most similar to mine.

7. What is your next project and how different will it be from this novella?

I'm writing another paranormal romance novella, set in the same world as Beauty and the Bastard but featuring a new cast of characters and some very unpleasant demon mobsters.

8. Do you have a five year plan for your career? NY? Movie based on one of your books?

I'm not aiming for NY or London. Everything about epublishing suits me perfectly. I've found my niche and I'm loving it.

Having said that, I would love it if someone made movies of my stories. Yes, please.

9. What tips would you share with other authors interested in following their dreams of publishing?

Keep writing. When it seems as if the road goes on forever without a destination in sight, keep writing. There are lots of related activities out there, and some of them can be valuable, but only writing itself moves us along the road.

10. Do you have a preference for the format of your book? If so, why?

I've loved books since I was a small child, and these days I love ebooks just as much as I love printed books. I buy and read about 50/50 epub and print. That's because, for me, the story's the thing.


David Bridger and his wife settled with their three daughters and two monstrous hounds in England's West Country after twenty years of ocean-based fun, during which he worked at various times as a lifeguard, a sailor, an intelligence gatherer and an investigator. He writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy.


Saul the Bastard is a fallen angel who works as a bounty hunter for powerful urban demon families. Rebecca Drake, a modern day demon princess, is being hunted by dangerous desert demons. When Rebecca's family hires Saul to protect her, they are both unhappy with the arrangement, but before long sparks fly as they try to resist their strong mutual attraction. For the first time in living memory, Saul has someone to love; someone he is scared of losing; someone the desert demons have marked to be their next sacrifice.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/DavidBridger1

My site: http://www.davidbridger.com

My blog: http://david-bridger.livejournal.com/

Monday, July 19, 2010

A New Venture

http://a-writers-circle.blogspot.com/ is my latest venture and it goes with http://www.writerscircle.freeforums.org/. We're open to new members and hope that you'll come out and join us as we celebrate the beginning of an ongoing promotional party featuring some pretty hot talent.
Have questions for an editor? A publisher? Or maybe one of your favourite authors? Come over, join the fun, and have a blast. We'll be giving away prizes, gifts, and a chance to get some quality time with a publisher, editor, graphic designer, and or author!

For more details you can go here. www.romancealley.suzannahsafi.com/TreasureMaze.html and get the full scoop. To join the loop/forum go to http://www.writerscircle.freeforums.org/ and fill ou the simple registration form. takes two minutes and opens the doors to a world of creativity and fun!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Review: In The Hands of A Stranger

Evangelina la Reina Herrera Ortega was a beautiful, but spoiled Spanish prize. Her marriage to Hernando Santiago, the son of one of her father’s investors, would secure her family’s future. However, once she met her fat, arrogant betrothed, Evangelina couldn’t imagine being wed with such cold calculation. Why weren’t her feelings being considered? And what about her strange attraction to Adam Butler, the handsome, brawny Australian ex-convict working in the garden? When Santiago attempts to rape Evangelina, Adam rescues her from the plump, pompous fool and flees with Evanagelina into the countryside.

The pair find shelter in a tiny, derelict cabin in the woods and set about fixing it up. Patiently, Adam explains the most mundane tasks to the pampered Spanish lady and Evie takes great pride in her accomplishments. The two are constantly thrown together and their mutual affection soon turns to love. However, when a tree falls on Adam, Evie must make a terrible choice - remain by Adam’s side as infection and fever ravage his body or risk capture and go for help. The doctor insists that Adam be cared for in town and Adam has barely recovered when Evangelina’s father tracks down the couple.

Will Evangelina once again submit to her father’s will or does she now have the courage to fight for a new life with Adam and a love she can no longer deny? This is a coming of age story set in a time when women held few rights and a girl’s duty was to her family, not to herself. Well written and inspiring.


Ann B. Keller

YAY!!! Happy Canada Day to me!

I am over the moon right now.

On July 2, I recieved to my delight the contract for my latest book Phantom's Pleasure...

Don't have a release date or cover yet...but as soon as I have more details I'll post them for everyone

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Celebrating a milestone

As hard as it is to believe, I'm proud to say that I've made it to a milestone in my writing career. I've got a book out that's been out for two years - I know because the publisher is celebrating their second anniversary this month and its so wonderful to be part of such an organization.

In todays world of flash and bang publishers, it seems a new one is popping up almost daily. Its great to see one that's been around for some time. One that is consistant in the sales, royalties, and of course quality authors and staff.

Blade opened in June 2008 and has built a stable of authors who show talent, professionalism, and an amazing amount of creativity and I count myself blessed that I've been included in their ranks.

To celebrate this momentous occassion Blade Publishing is hosting a celebration. Find the link on my sidebar and click on it...it'll take you to the publisher's site with details on what you could win. As well keep your eyes posted as I'll have more tidbits for you in the next day or two.

Happy reading!

Anniversary Bash

Yay We've made it two years. We're super excited to be celebrating our second year with such a wonderful publisher.

Starting today Blade Publishing's stable of authors has put together a little something special to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary. Join us on a Journey through our pages and find the banner to the left - on our author blogs and websites just leave a comment or send an email to be enter to win some really cool prizes. And don't forget to stop over at www.BladePublishing.org for more fun.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

The Long and Short Reviews is having a wonderful celebration of Easter. Please join us for their Easter Egg Hunt.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews: The Viscount's Prize by Patricia Bates

Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews: The Viscount's Prize by Patricia Bates

I am so very happy that I got this review - this was one of my favorite stories to write...my only wish is that the story had been longer and I could have expanded on certain aspects of it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Upcoming Release

Wow where does the time go? Please join me in the coming weeks as I celebrate the release of my fifth full length novel - and sixth release. In The Hands of A Stranger is part of Blade Publishing's Handyman Series novels.

Convicted of murder, Adam Butler spent two hellish years, being slaved out to settlers for a few shillings a day, until he could buy his way to freedom. After months at sea he’s finally on dry land – unknown and a pauper – but free. When he saves an older, finely dressed Spanish gentleman he’s offered employment as a handyman in repayment.

The daughter of a wealthy land owner, Evangelina La Reina Herrara Ortega has been groomed from an early age to wed a man of her class and further her father’s business dealings. Betrothed to Don Luis Santiago’s eldest son, she journeys from her home in the small, wealthy city of Caceres to the Santiago estate near Madrid to marry only to find a bone melting attraction to a man forbidden to her.

The frosty Spanish beauty, sheltered all her life, is thrown together with the tough Aussie ex-con by fate. Will these two be able to survive in the wilds and build on the attraction they share?

Look for it March 1, at http://www.bladepublishing.org/

Summer Anthology Submission Call

Super Exciting Submission Call

Summer Romances Series

for our expanded Romance line.

***Permission to Forward granted***

The hot summer nights are meant for romance. A summer vacation in an exotic location, a trip back home – let love blossom. eTreasures is currently seeking submissions for our Summer Romance themed anthologies due out in late August, 2010.

Each must have the following elements:

• Active writing, fast paced, with a solid plot.

• Well rounded, fully developed characters the reader can relate to.
• Must have a HEA

• Completed manuscripts, 20,000 to 25,000 words, with complete submission package. Put “Summer Anthology” in the subject line.

We're looking for a story that will make you laugh, cry, and want to pull out the bikini and tanning oils, and a great book to relax with. Stories the reader can relate to in all aspects. We are not looking for erotic fiction at this time.

Send your submission package - including a query letter, synopsis, and the completed novella length manuscript to: submissions@etreasurespublishing.com

All submissions must be in by April 15th and those titles that are accepted will be announced June 1, 2010 with the e-books due out late August, 2010.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Releases!

BRUSH STROKES by Jax Cassidy

Release date: January 10, 2010

Publisher: Amber Heat

ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-627-7 (Electronic)

*Heat warning: erotic, explicit sex scenes, language

For Sage, attending the Parisian sex club, Plaisirs Sombres, was the ultimate fantasy. So when the conservative gallery assistant is cloaked behind the velvet mask, she never expected to be the object of the club owner's desire. Spurred on by D.S. Gregoire's erotic and sensual brush strokes of the exclusive club, she gives into a brief liaison that leaves her breathless and wanting.

For Damien, known to the art world as D.S. Gregoire, his art has always been an adrenaline rush. But when an exotic and mysteriously uninhibited 'sex club virgin' enters his establishment, he is willing to break his club rules for another taste of the dark pleasures she brings him.

Author Bio:

Jax Cassidy followed her dreams to Paris, then Hollywood to pursue a film career but managed to fall in love with penning sexy romances and happy endings—finding Mr. Right was just an added bonus. She writes contemporary, paranormal, and multi-ethnic romances and is Co-Founder of Romance Divas, and award winning writer’s website and discussion forum. Jax is also known as one-half of the retired writing team of Cassidy Kent.

For more information on Jax, please visit her online at http://www.jaxcassidy.com/ or http://www.jaxadora.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Just Released! A HOT HOT Read

Today is release day for my first m/m/f interracial menage a trois, Double Dare from Loose Id!

What could be better than waking up next to a hot guy? Waking up sandwiched between two of them.

Quinn Preston, a financial analyst, is not happy when her friends dare her to pick up a handsome stranger at a wedding reception. What better reason to give up men when her previous long-term relationship had not only been lackluster in the bedroom but he had cheated.

Logan Reed, a successful farmer and business owner, can't believe that he's attracted to the woman in the ugly, Pepto-Bismol colored bridesmaid dress. And to boot, she's more than tipsy. After turning down her invitation for a one-night stand, he finds her in the parking lot, too impaired to drive. He rescues her and takes her home. His home.
The next morning Quinn's conservative life turns on its ear when Logan introduces her to pleasures she never even considered before. And to make things more complicated, Logan already has a lover…

Tyson White, ex-pro football player and Logan's business partner, is completely in love with Logan. He has mixed emotions when Logan brings home Quinn. But the dares keep coming and things heat up with the three of them. Nevertheless Ty wonders: will adding Quinn to the mix end up enhancing or destroying Logan's and his relationship?

Double Dare is an interracial ménage a trois (m/m/f) erotic romance that is sexually explicit, including light BDSM, anal sex, homosexuality, multiple partners, role playing and more.

Read Excerpts Here:



Available NOW here:

An interview with Karenna

Please welcome Kareena to the fold so to speak. She's been very generous enough to join us today to share a bit about herself and her writing.

What inspired you to begin writing?

Truly, I don’t remember. I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember (which is back to age 2, at least), and I started writing them down as soon as someone showed me how to make those squiggly little letters.

For each writer their genre is the one they’re comfortable with. Why did you begin writing within yours?

I actually write in a number of genres. In addition to erotic romance, I write YA urban fantasy, and I’ve written a couple of mainstream fiction manuscripts that will probably never see daylight. I’m also working on a paranormal novel. But… since this interview is about my erotic romance, I’ll answer that, I guess. I started writing it because a friend challenged me to write something that showed sex as a positive thing.

What was your initial reaction when you got that first contract?

I literally jumped up and down. My kids thought I’d gone nuts.

Do you have to do a lot of research to write the books you do or do you write within the fields you know?

I really don’t like doing research, so I try to write what I know. Some research is necessary, though. For example, Deep Down, which is available from Siren Publishing as of January 7, takes place in Boston. I live just outside Boston now, but when I started writing the novella, I still lived in Maine. Once I moved here, I realized I’d gotten a lot wrong, so I visited some of the places mentioned in the story and rode the subway line that the characters ride. That’s the kind of research I enjoy. If it’s something I can’t quickly find online or learn about in person, I probably won’t write it.

What would be your one piece of advice for anyone interested in getting a book published?

Learn. Learn to let the words flow without getting hung up on mechanics to start with. Once the first draft is finished, learn the mechanics. Proper grammar, punctuation, etc. Learn to self-edit; don’t expect your publisher to do it all for you. Learn to ask for help, for beta readers or crit partners, for anything that will help you reach your goal of signing that first contract.

And after you sign that contract, keep learning more with every book you publish.

How did you family/friends react to your decision to become a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was five, so… I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision. My parents claim to be proud of me for my writing. My daughters think it’s cool. And my fiance is so supportive of it that he recently threatened to break my car so I’d have to stay home and write when I mentioned that I thought I might have to quit writing and get a second “real” job. (I was in a bad mood at the time. I couldn’t quit writing any more than I could quit breathing!)

What sort of goals do you set for yourself with each project?

To finish the story. Other than that, I don’t set any goals, I just see what happens.

What sort of music do you listen to while you’re writing?

I generally don’t.

Do you use any sort of ‘forms’ with your writing? Character outlines, plot sheets, etc? Do you find them of any value to you at all or do they distract you from the actual meat of your book?

I don’t use any of that. I’m a total what some call “pantster” when it comes to writing. I might jot down a few quick notes about the characters’ names and what I think is going to happen in the story, but that’s it. Once I start typing that first draft, I often have no real idea what’s going to happen until it does.

I do have one minor weirdness, though: I absolutely cannot start writing a story until I have at least a preliminary title. The absence of a title makes my brain freeze up.