Sunday, June 26, 2005

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Library Journal & Tonka Trucks

I was really excited to find out that WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, the novella collection I wrote with Sherrilyn Kenyon and Robin D. Owens, got a great review in LIBRARY JOURNAL.

And meanwhile, I've been busy outside my usual sphere. I'm recovering from giving a baby shower for my niece. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun. Over the years, I've collected some neat toys, and I used a lot of them for decorations. I set up my son's old Tonka truck as a napkin holder. And on the dessert table, I used a Playskool barn to hold plates. A lot of teddy bears (and a fuzzy wolf) sat on the secretary in the living room, watching the guests eat lunch. And more stuffed animals looked down from the top of my library card catalogue where they could oversee the dessert table. And I put my favorite Playskool music-box ferris wheel on the drink table. Since my niece is having a boy, I used toy soldiers and other boy toys for more table decorations. And I arranged flowers in cookie jars.

Tomorrow, I switch from babies and toys back to business--the vampire novel that's due July 15 (a Harlequin Intrigue).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

UNMASKED by C. J. Barry

I’m into action adventure. So here’s another neat book I’m looking forward to reading:

Love Spell, by C. J. Barry (Dorchester Publishing), June 7, 2005

I love the description of the hero: To the merchants he plunders, he's the Ghost Rider of the Dead Zone. To sector law enforcement, he's a wanted pirate. To the slaves he rescues, he's the savior, Iaghato. To one determined female, Qaade Deter is serious trouble.

And the heroine: Torrie Masters is a great match for him. She’s heard of the legendary raider, but she'd never expected to encounter him. Nor would she have expected that beneath his black mask lurked an enticing man destined to challenge her in ways she could never imagine.

Of course, the plot forces them to work together. Entrusted with the fate of thousands, Torrie has discovered Qaade's impossible dream. Only she has the power to help him. Only she has the power to see him UNMASKED.

Here’s an excerpt:

"Wow! What a story! Bravo!" -Best-selling Author Robin D. Owens

"Applause for this gutsy tale that steals your heart. Barry's best, simply her best!" -Deborah MacGillivray, The Best Reviews 4 1/2 STARS!!

"This awesome book roars out of the starting gates and never looks back. Along with telling social commentary, it is chock-full of danger, adventure, and romance-a terrific keeper!" -Romantic Times Magazine


Friday, June 17, 2005

AWAKEN ME DARKLY, by Gena Showalter

Now here’s my kind of book. Dark paranormal fantasy. I’m really looking forward to reading AWAKEN ME DARKLY, by Gena Showalter.

The story is set in New Chicago, where Mia Snow is an alien huntress for the Police Department. Using her psychic abilities and deadly fighting skills to catch her prey, she heads up an expert team of Alien Investigation and Removal agents. Unmatched in battle, Mia fights the elusive enemy among us. And she’s driven by her early experiences, like seeing her brother die at the hands of aliens. As the story opens, Mia and her partner Dallas are tracking alien suspects – but a sudden blast of violence leaves Dallas fighting for his life.

Then a tall, erotic stranger, Kyrin en Arr, appears and offers Mia the chance to save Dallas. The catch? He’s an alien. And a murder suspect. And the price? Mia’s surrendering to Kyrin’s forbidden seduction…and embracing their electric attraction. The closer she gets to Kyrin, the more Mia learns about her own heart, her human needs – and the shocking secret that will shatter everything she’s ever believed.




Here’s what Gena has to say about herself--

Gena Showalter holds a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics (lie), is an expert in Krav Maga (bigger lie), and once worked as a bodyguard for the stars (the biggest lie of all). Actually, Gena Showalter is just your everyday, average girl who enjoys creating sizzling paranormal tales of kick-ass women and the men who can't resist them. With that bio, how can she miss as a storyteller?


"A brilliantly written, fast-paced novel, AWAKEN ME DARKLY sizzles…Similar to Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, [AWARKEN ME DARKLY] takes various steps to transcend the genres of the supernatural, mystery and science fiction" --Fresh Fiction

“Fans of TV’s Alias will find this book especially appealing” --Romantic Times BOOKclub

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Alien Nation in this action-packed adventure, and Mia Snow is perfect as the alien hunter with a secret.” --Booklist


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Romance versus Romantic suspense

I was an okay romance writer. I’m much better at romantic suspense. And I love writing tension-filled stories with strong paranormal elements. When I’m asked what the differences are between romance and romantic suspense, here’s what I answer.


ROMANCE--The plot focuses on two people meeting, falling in love, working out their internal and external conflicts, and making a commitment to each other by the end of the book.

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE--The plot focuses on two people meeting, falling in love and working out their conflicts against a backdrop of danger and suspense. External forces threaten to destroy these people, but by the end of the book they triumph over the danger and make a commitment to each other.


ROMANCE--Sexual tension drives the romance. These two people are falling in love and desperate to explore the physical aspects of their relationship. Even after they finally make love, the conflicts between them must keep their future together in doubt until the end of the story.

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE--In addition to the sexual tension, "danger tension" drives the story. These people are pursued relentlessly by sinister forces determined to destroy them. The tension of fighting to stay alive increases the level of their sexual awareness.


ROMANCE--The writer must make the reader feel the emotions of the h/h as they fall in love by using her skill at evocative language and describing the physical manifestations of love and sexual desire. (His touch set her on fire. Joy awakened inside her like a flower bud unfurling.)

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE--The writer must make the reader feel the fear and terror of the h/h with evocative language and descriptions that show us their physical reactions to fear and danger. (In the darkness, she felt as if a thousand insect feet were crawling over her skin. Icy terror gripped her.)


ROMANCE--The writer must bring the conflict between the h/h to a warm and satisfying resolution so that the reader knows these two people will walk off happily into the sunset together.

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE--Before the h/h can walk off into the sunset, they must confront and defeat the malevolent forces bent on destroying them.

Monday, June 13, 2005

ENCHANTED, INC. by Shanna Swendson

You know I love urban fantasy. I’m usually into werewolves. But Shanna Swendson’s debut mainstream novel, ENCHANTED, INC. (Ballantine Books, May 31,2005) sounds like a lot of fun.

It’s a magical story featuring Katie Chandler, a 20-something, small-town Texas girl who moves to NY City. Katie loves the energy of Manhattan. The downside is her nightmare boss. Then she gets a fantastic offer to work for a mysterious company, MSI, Inc., where she meets some of the magical folk who live among the ordinary residents of the city. And the fairy-tale life she has longed for begins to come true in surprising ways. Katie always thought of herself as ordinary. What Katie didn’t realize is how rare and important being ordinary can be. In fact, it is her ordinary characteristics that make her the perfect secret weapon for MSI, Inc. Suddenly the very qualities she thought made her average are what make her special! Now she has magicians and fairies meddling in her attempted romances and a secret life she needs to keep hidden from her non-magical friends, not to mention that dangerous pull she feels for Owen, an attractive but shy wizard who might be the most powerful magic man since Merlin.

You can read an excerpt at:

And see the book cover at :


With ENCHANTED, INC., Shanna Swendson offers a new twist on chick lit for the-now-grown-up fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In addition to writing fiction, Shanna is a freelance marketing consultant and writer specializing in technology and telecommunications. She is single and lives in Irving, Texas, with her many pet plants, including a vicious attack bougainvillea and a Christmas cactus that has outlasted three homes, three jobs and three boyfriends, yet still faithfully blooms every Christmas and Easter. She’s looking for a man that reliable.

Here’s what some others have said about the book:

“A totally captivating, hilarious and clever look on the magical kingdom of Manhattan, where kissing frogs has never been this fun.”
-- Melissa de la Cruz, author of The Au Pairs and The Fashionista Files

“With its clever premise and utterly engaging heroine, Shanna Swendson has penned a real treat! Enchanted, Inc. is loads of fun!”
-- Julie Kenner, author of Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom and The Givenchy Code

"I am giddy! I found an enchanting (pardon the reference) book and therefore, have a new author to read. Bridget Jones, move over. Shanna Swendson is offering up fantasy for the Buffy, Sabrina and Bewitched crowd. This is a delightful romp through the world of magic with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure. There are characters you'll love and remember. If you want to escape the stress and busyness of life, join Katie for an enjoyable frolic into the world of make believe.”

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court

Are you tired of the same old, same old? Well, here’s a book with a unique twist--a Bridget Jones like character spiraling back in time to the days of Camelot. I was so intrigued that I asked Marianne Mancusi how she pulled it off in A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court (Dorchester, May 2005)

Where did you get the idea for A Connecticut Fashionista in King Authur's Court?
I liked the irreverent, pop culture laden voice of chick lit, but wanted a book that would stand out in the already flooded market. And I've always been a huge fan of Arthurian legend - read every book I could get my hands on. So I thought - why not combine the two? Send a snarky, outspoken fashion editor back in time to relive Arthurian legend.

Lancelot, your hero, sounds yummy. Can you tell me a little more about him?
Obviously Lancelot is a legendary hero in many, many books. But what always bugged me when reading them is that he's supposed to be this perfect knight, yet he always falls for the wrong woman (Queen Guenevere) which leads to not only his destruction, but the destruction of the entire kingdom of Camelot. I never really understood why this painful story of infidelity (especially when Arthur is such a strong, wonderful character) would go down in the ages as one of the world's greatest romances. So I wanted to explore that theme in the book. What really happened that night when the two lovers were caught together. Hopefully readers will like what I came up with.

I see you have a very demanding day job as an Emmy Award-winning television producer for the NBC affiliate in Boston. How do you find time to write?
It takes a lot of discipline and is not always fun. I wake up two hours early in the AM to write before work. I can't write after work - too creatively exhausted! But doing it first thing in the morning seems to work for me. I also try to give myself realistic deadlines and stick to them so I'm never writing in panic mode. I am hoping someday that I will be able to write full time.

Was it difficult to sell Fashionista?
A little bit, mainly because some editors aren't willing to take chances on new things. The Chick Lit people were afraid their audience wouldn't be interested in a fantasy setting. The time travel people were afraid their audience would not like the voice of a chick lit heroine. So I got a lot of "tis neither fish nor fowl" comments. But luckily Dorchester is a wonderful publishing house that is willing to take a chance on books that are different. Books that don't fit a certain mold. From the very beginning that's where I saw this manuscript ending up, and I'm very glad they agreed with me. :)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

about my moon series

Here's where I get to explain something important about my Moon series. I never planned to write a werewolf series.

About eight years ago, an idea grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let me go. I kept thinking, what if a private detective were a werewolf, and he used his wolf senses to solve crimes. But that was way back before paranormal was hot, and I also kept thinking, "who would buy a werewolf book from me."

Finally my good friend Mary Kirk told me that she was tired of hearing me talk about the idea, and I should either write the book or get on with my life. I accepted the challenge and started writing a synopsis for what would become KILLING MOON.

I was pretty sure I'd have to write the whole book to sell it. So I stole time from my "day job" which was writing for Harlequin Intrigue. While I was working on the book, my agent retired. I made it a priority to get a new agent who would like my werewolf book.

We got two offers on the book and sold it to Cindy Hwang of Berkley. She wanted more paranormal stories from me, and she wanted at least one more werewolf book. While I was writing KILLING MOON, I fell in love with the police detective, Jack Thornton, who worked with my werewolf--and also suspected him of murdering a serial killer. I desperately wanted to write Jack's story--which is how I came up with EDGE OF THE MOON.

Of course, Jack wasn't a werewolf. But he still kept working with Ross. I've been asked why the second book in a werewolf series doesn't have a werewolf for a hero. The answer is, "It wasn't a series."

But the Marshall brothers and cousins kept their hold on me. Next I wrote WITCHING MOON, about Ross's brother, Adam. Writing a series when you planned no such thing is difficult. I've had to add new twists and new kinds of heroines for my werewolf heroes. CRIMSON MOON is about Ross and Adam Marshall’s brother, the one they thought was killed in a bar fight. He escaped from the hospital morgue and took the opportunity to create a new identity for himself–as Sam Morgan, a kind of Robin Hood thief who delights in robbing rich men whose companies rape the environment. He meets his lifemate, Olivia Woodlock, because she tricks him into robbing her father’s house–so she can blackmail him into pulling off a major heist for her. But Olivia Woodlock has secrets of her own, secrets that can destroy both her and Sam. I knew I had to make Sam different from his brothers, because I want my stories to be different. And I wanted to make the conflict in the story different, too. Sam has issues to deal with that his brothers haven’t faced.

But I don't want to be known as "the werewolf lady," so I took on another paranormal subject in BEYOND CONTROL, my novel which will be out in August. It's a story of sexually linked telepaths who find that the more intimate they become, the more their paranormal powers grow. And as they make these very personal discoveries, sinister forces are out to control or destroy them.

Now I'm working on my fourth werewolf book, SHADOW OF THE MOON. It's about Lance Marshall, an investigative journalist probing the secrets of an S&M club in Washington, D. C. That's certainly new territory for me. And I've done some really interesting research for the book. No, there are no more Marshall brothers. Lance is a cousin of my original Marshall brothers--who end up playing an important role in the climax of the story.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

100th-Book-Party Pictures

As requested, here are some pictures from my 100th-book party. I’m mostly including shots of writers who attended.

From left: John Rekus (with wizard hat he bought hours before at Balticon), Me, Mary Jo Putney

From left: Elizabeth Ashtree, Chassie West, Linda Williams and husband Pete

From left: Mallory Kane, Patricia Rosemoor, Binnie Braunstein

From left: Mia Zachary, Joyce Braga and husband Mark

Me and "Mr. Rebecca York" (Norman Glick)

Son-in-law Steve Webber and Novelist Mary Kirk entertain the guests