Friday, December 29, 2006
I’d gone through a deeply emotional experience with the heroine. I rooted for her to win the court case–in the face of a hostile judge and a lot of dirty tricks from the prosecution. She beat them, but at the end of the book, her life was destroyed. Why? I guess because the author thought it was a neat twist.
There is no way in hell I’d ever write a story like that. I put my hero and heroine through terrible trials. I test their resolve and their character and their love for each other. But I end the story with them happy together. Because that’s what I want to read. And write. There’s enough bad stuff going on in the world without inventing more.
But I think that’s not the only reason. When I write, I AM my characters. I’m totally involved with the good guys. I get to be THEM while I’m working on the story. So I write the ending that I’d want to have for me.
So is that other author a pragmatist–writing what he thinks the market wants? And I’m sucked into my own fantasy? Interesting question. And I don’t know the answer.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
VENUS ENVY by Shannon McKelden
(TOR Books, December 26, 2006)
Take one hunky firefighter, one stubborn "Cinderella," and one very reluctant fairy godmother and what do you get?
Rachel Greer wants no part of Venus's scheme to land Mr. March as her Prince Charming, but Venus is determined to do just that. She's only a few love-life fixes short of returning to her former goddess status, and she's not letting one mulish mortal stand in her way.
It appears the only way Rachel can get rid of the very un-Disney-like fairy godmother is to play along. So she follows Venus's plan to interview Luke Stanton's ex-girlfriends...which Venus believes will cure Rachel's relationship fears, but which Rachel knows will only prove her point that men are never what they appear to be.
But, when Venus's plan appears to work, and Rachel and Luke fall in love, does Rachel dare set aside her fears about happily ever? Or will betrayal send her back into relationship seclusion...this time forever?
And what happens when a goddess-turned-fairy godmother breaks the most important rule--protecting herself from human emotions?
ABOUT SHANNON McKELDEN
Shannon McKelden has wanted to be a writer since she earned a coveted ‘A+++’ from her 9th grade English teacher. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her high school sweetheart, two kids, two cats, a dog and a crow.
Witty, funny, and truly original, McKelden’s romance is a standout. -- Booklist
Sexy, clever and fun, Venus Envy is absolutely delightful from beginning to end. Author Shannon McKelden has talent to spare. –Jane Porter, author of The Frog Prince
Debut author McKelden is undeniably talented, milking a fun plot for all it's worth. 3 Stars. – Romantic Times
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I really enjoyed Lucy's novella. I liked her take on the werewolf genre, especially the MacAnlup family dynamics. She made me want to curl up with one of my own werewolves, and that's a good thing.
“Come Moonrise” by Lucy Monroe featured in UNLEASHED
(Berkley, December 5, 2006)
Ty MacAnlup has seen the tragedy that a mating between a werewolf and a human can bring and he wants no part of it, no matter how much his body and heart ache for a taste of Frankie's softness. Frankie has loved Ty for years and while she doesn't know he's a werewolf, or even that such things exist...she does know that to her, he's always been more than a mere man. Ty's hidden beast wreaks havoc with his determination to stay away from Frankie when they are trapped together in a small cabin in the snow bound wilderness.
ABOUT LUCY MONROE
Award winning author Lucy Monroe sold her first book in September of 2002. Since then she has sold more than 30 books to three publishers and hit national bestsellers lists in the US and England. Her highly charged, sensual stories touch on the realities of life while giving the reader a fantasy story not easily forgotten. Whether it's a passionate Harlequin Presents, a sexy single title for Kensington or a steamy historical or paranormal for Berkley, Lucy's books transport her readers to a special place where the heart rules and love conquers all.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
INFERNO by Vivi Anna
(Kensington, December 2006)
Vivi Anna's gorgeous, leather-clad heroine, Kat, is back in another wildly erotic adventure set in a future world where passion has no rules — and no limits ...
Kat needs to find a scientist rumored to have created an antidote to a deadly virus, but he's hiding out in the violent underground city of Inferno. Her one-time lover Hades will take Kat where she needs to go, but only if she promises to be his, body and soul.
ABOUT VIVI ANNA
A BAD GIRL at heart, Vivi Anna likes to burn up the pages with her original unique brand of fantasy fiction. Whether it's in ancient Egypt, or in an apocalyptic future, Vivi always writes fast paced action-adventure with strong independent women that can kick some butt, and dark delicious heroes to kill for.
Once shot at while repossessing a car, Vivi decided that maybe her life needed a change. The first time she picked up a pen and put words to paper, she knew she had found her heart. Within two paragraphs, she realized she could write about getting into all sorts of trouble without suffering the consequences.
When Vivi isn't writing, you can find her causing a ruckus at downtown bistros, flea markets, or playgrounds.
Combine two star-crossed lovers, a deadly virus, a passel of Dark Dwellers, and an underground nemesis bent on destruction and you get one heck of an adventure. This follow-up to Hell Kat will have you cheering for the good guys all over again — and laughing out loud while you do it! A fun, sexy romp that leaves you crying out for more. – 4 stars, Romantic Times
Friday, November 17, 2006
Jack Williamson is the reason I'm writing werewolf books today. I read his DARKER THAN YOU THINK when I was a teenager. He made me want to BE a werewolf. I carried that story around with me for years. Then I read THE WOLF'S HOUR, by Robert McCammon, and I was enthralled all over again.
When I started contemplating KILLING MOON, paranormal was very much out. But I started thinking about a book with a werewolf detective who used his wolf senses to solve crimes. Even thought I doubted I could sell the story, it simply wouldn't let me go. Finally my friend Mary Kilchenstein, who writes as Mary Kirk, told me in her blunt way that she was tired of hearing me talk about the idea. So I should either write it or shut up. I accepted the challenge and started working on what became KILLING MOON.
There were many different directions in which I could have taken the story, but I stuck with what I love, romantic suspense. I was pretty sure that to sell single title paranormal romantic suspense, I'd have to write the whole book, not just do a proposal. So I worked on KILLING MOON around my Intrigue schedule. Cindy Hwang at Berkley loved the story and bought it. Then she asked me for more werewolf books. That's how I found myself with a werewolf series that I hadn't planned for.
Jack Williamson published his first story, "The Metal Man," in 1928 when he was 20. His last book, THE STONEHENGE GATE was published recently. He won the Hugo and Nebula awards for his work and lifetime achievement honors from the World Fantasy Convention and the Horror Writers of America. And he was named a Grand Master of science fiction by what is now the Science Fiction Writers of America. What a career! Few writers can equal him.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Funny thing, once I actually sank my teeth into a rutabaga, I was hooked. I love the taste of this winter vegetable. And I cook with it frequently.
Probably you’ve grated carrots and put them into salads. You can do the same with rutabaga. They add a distinctive flavor and a nice crunch to the salad bowl.
One of my favorite ways to use rutabaga is in roasted winter vegetables. For an easy side dish or vegetarian main dish, just fill a roasting pan with a combination of cut up red-skin potatoes, carrots, celery and rutabaga. Then toss with some olive oil, Italian seasoning and salt.
Since the rutabaga takes longer to cook than the other vegetables, I roast them in the pan for twenty minutes at 375 degrees F. before adding the other vegetables and roasting for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, stirring them occasionally until all the vegetables are tender. Serve as an easy side dish on Thanksgiving. Or with meat or roasted chicken at any family dinner.
I also love to add chunks of rutabaga to the homemade meat and vegetable soups that are a winter staple in my house.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Webb is running for the Senate against George Allen in Virginia. And after the Fred Head/Susan Combs episode in Texas, someone on Allen’s staff decided to thumb through Webb’s books looking for steamy passages. They found some, pulled them out of context, and sent them out in a press release accusing Webb of writing X-rated books.
In the past, Webb has made some sexist remarks that made me question his attitude toward women. Ironically, now he’s getting lumped with a lot of women writers who dare to include sex in their books.
How many times have you had a guy pick up one of your novels and thumb through it looking for hot passages–then judge the whole book on those few pages. Sure, I write sensual love scenes. But they’re in the context of a relationship developing between a man and a woman. They’re only part of the story. In my novels, I’m writing about strong, sympathetic characters the reader can root for. I’ve got a plot with a lot of action and mystery. Generally, I’m writing about two people falling in love against a background of danger and suspense. In all of my books, my main characters make a commitment to marry and spend the rest of their lives together.
So why do some Americans object to the sensuality? Are they afraid to acknowledge the joy of a great sexual relationship? Is it our Puritan heritage? Are we afraid to see ourselves as human?
The men and women in my books always end up in a committed, loving relationship, where sex is only part of the equation. So I’m sitting here scratching my head and trying to figure out what’s wrong with enjoying a loving and committed sexual relationship? Or are we being criticized by people who are afraid of feeling any emotion–even when it’s in the pages of a book?
Monday, October 23, 2006
It’s fall, and I’ve got a craving for hot mulled cider. Too bad that the amount of sugar in apple cider is off the charts. Plus, it’s not available everywhere.
Here’s a hot winter drink that tastes a lot like mulled cider–but with far fewer calories. It’s easy to double this recipe if you want to serve a large pot of this flavorful hot punch. And if you prefer, you can use sugar instead of Splenda.
7 Servings/ serving size 1 cup
6 cups hot regular or decafinated tea
1 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup Splenda, or to taste
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp orange extract
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the spices to permeated the liquid. Ladle into mugs. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator 2 or 3 days. Rewarm in the microwave.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Robin D. Owens is an absolutely sensational storyteller. -- The Romance Reader
Somewhere in Druida City of Celta, Trif Clover has a HeartMate. Impatient to meet him, she's actually going door-to-door with her charmkey to find him. What she doesn't know is that he has already found her. Guardsman Ilex Winterberry knows Trif is his HeartMate, but has reasons of his own -- and for her own good -- to keep to the shadows of her life. But there's a killer on the loose, stalking those with unstable psi power like Trif's. Facing his most difficult task yet, Ilex must reveal the truth of their destiny or leave Trif vulnerable to a vicious murderer...
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Honk if you hate having your mouth worked on.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
SEDUCED BY MAGIC by Cheyenne McCray
(St. Martin’s; October 3, 2006)
Copper Ashcroft is an accomplished D'Anu witch, but the magic she wields is a potent force—strong enough to hurl her into a mysterious Otherworld when a spell backfires. Before Copper can escape, another being is pulled into her realm—Tiernan, a powerfully virile Tuatha D'Danann warrior. Blond, blue-eyed, and shamelessly seductive, Tiernan could be Copper's savior…and his touch sets her body on fire.
Like others of his kind, Tiernan stands alongside the D'Anu witches to battle the demons of the Underworld. Obligation to his cause and his people cautions against any entanglement with Copper, yet each second spent with this beautiful, uninhibited woman stirs an insatiable hunger. Desire explodes into carnal bliss, but the visions that haunt Copper's dreams are growing stronger, and they foretell a terrifying evil waiting to be unleashed…
Saving the city will take more than brute strength…more than witchcraft. Only together can Copper and Tiernan find a way to overcome the dark forces—and seize a passion that has bewitched them both..
ABOUT CHEYENNE MCCRAY
Cheyenne McCray is the award-winning author of sixteen books and six novellas. Among other accolades, Chey has been presented with the prestigious Romantic Times BOOKclub's Reviewers' Choice Award for "Best Erotic Romance of the Year."
Chey has been writing ever since she can remember, back to her kindergarten days when she penned her first poem. She always knew one day she would write novels, hoping her readers would get lost in the worlds she created, as she did when she was lost in a good book. Cheyenne enjoys spending time with her husband and three sons, traveling, and of course writing, writing, writing.
Her latest precious magical Ashcroft saga is a delightful torrid tale headed by a strong lead couple and supported ably by a horde of bad dudes. Fans who appreciate a strong fantasy will want to read the magnificent McCray mythos – Harriet Klausner
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
When I was in elementary school, the DC Public Library sent a “book basket” to every classroom every month. In fifth grade, when the teacher put RED PLANET, by Robert Heinlein, up on the eraser ledge, the cover illustration made me want to read the book. So I rushed up to get it before anyone else could.
Thus began a lifelong interest in science fiction and fantasy. That was a big part of my recreational reading for years, with adventure and mystery thrown in.
In the early sixties, I didn’t have a television set. I got a TV for one reason–so I could watch a cool new program that my friends were talking about--Star Trek.
So I come by my interest in the paranormal honestly. The first novel I wrote was a kids' SF story, THE INVASION OF THE BLUE LIGHTS, about a bad alien and a good alien that land in the woods across the street from my house. (Only I gave the house to a 12-year-old boy who was a lot like my son.) In the 80's, the big romance boom started, and a friend asked if I’d like to write one. I told her I hadn’t read any, so she brought me shopping bags full. And I discovered they were all about the subplot that I’d loved in the science fiction and adventure novels I read–the development of a relationship between a man and a woman.
At first, I wrote straight romances. Then I figured out I was better at romantic suspense. And after a few romantic suspense novels, I began incorporating SF and fantasy elements into my stories.
I can look back at some of the influences on my career. I think the first alternate universe book I read was THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. And a good early example for me of the universe that runs parallel to ours but is somehow different was an episode of the original Star Trek, MIRROR MIRROR, where there's an "evil" universe existing beside ours. Narnia is very different from our world. The univese in MIRROR MIRROR is recognizable to us. I think of the first kind as more fantasy and the second kind as more science fiction. Or--there are quantum physics theories to explain why the latter might be possible. So I went with that.
The first werewolf book I read was DARKER THAN YOU THINK, by Jack Williamson. He made me want to BE a werewolf. I read that book when I was fifteen, so I've been attracted to the idea ever since. Then I read Robert McCammon's THE WOLF'S HOUR. Those were two books that really excited me. But for ages I thought nobody would buy a werewolf book from me (since paranormal was not IN at the time). It took years before I finally started writing KILLING MOON. It’s set in our world, but there are things here that most people don't know about, like werewolves and monsters from another universe. After writing five books in the Moon series, I needed to expand my canvas. So for NEW MOON (which will be out in March), I came up with a parallel universe, where the society is quite different from ours. (It's a bunch of city states like ancient Greece, only the city states came from our gated communities.)
I also know that my readers have been used to my telling the story in THIS universe. So I start here, go there, and come back here–to keep the familiar elements yet expand my canvas.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
SLAVE TO SENSATION by Nalini Singh
(Berkley Sensation, September 5, 2006)
Dive into a world torn apart by a powerful race with phenomenal powers of the mind—and none of the heart…
In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…
ABOUT NALINI SINGH
Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, Nalini Singh is an escapee lawyer who’s been writing as long as she can remember. She loves creating unique characters, loves giving them happy endings and she even loves the voices in her head.
This book is a must even for those uninitiated in the paranormal genre. The story ends much too quickly, and the author’s magical writing conjures up sensual images and intense emotions that linger long after the last word is read. -- Romantic Times, 4 1/2 stars
…not easy to put down at bedtime; it kept me reading well into the night… -- Fresh Fiction
…one of the most convincing and beautiful romances I've read lately. It's got it all, both sexual tension so thick and hot it will curl your toes (and the pay-off! Those love scenes, oh, my!), and a lot of feeling behind it… -- Rosario’s Reading Journal
Thursday, August 31, 2006
About ten years ago, I made the decision that I was going to write faster. I found that I could turn out a rough draft in two to four months. But I couldn’t shorten the editing process. I give myself permission to write a draft that needs work. Then I layer in all the qualities that elevate that draft from rough to polished.
I can’t get it all at once. When the whole draft is finished, I edit on the screen to improve the sentence structure, the character development, the action, and the emotional content of the book. Then I print out the book and start adding what I’ve left out. After I write in the changes, I print out the manuscript again-–then see more places that need improvement.
I usually repeat this process several times before I’m satisfied with the book.
When I’m writing, I start each day by editing what I wrote the day before. That's how I get into what I'm working on. When I read the previous day's work, I always find stuff I don’t like. I’ll want to improve a lot of the sentences. I may not have enough of the characters' emotions. Or I don't have the action quite right. Or the dialogue needs work. I have to add layers to get it right.
I basically set myself the task of writing ten pages a day. I might stop and read e-mail or talk on the phone. But I go back to the story and stay with the day's work until I get those ten pages. I might get that done by early afternoon. Or I might still be working at ten at night.
One thing I’ve found is that writing gets easier the more you do it. If you write consistently, you will be able to increase your output.
Also, I’ve written a lot of books. Because I have a lot of experience, it’s become easier for me to know if the story isn’t working. I can tell pretty quickly if a scene is off. If it’s too far off, I have to figure out what's wrong before I can go on.
On the other hand, sometimes I write a scene that I know isn't quite right--and leave it in the ms. I think of it as holding the place for the scene that will be right--when I figure it out. Those "wrong" scenes usually don't have the character motivation quite right. But I put them in anyway to hold the place for the correct scene, when I figure out what the character would really be thinking and doing.
I know there are some people who can't go ahead until they have each scene right. Giving myself permission to have it slightly wrong is one way I forge ahead.
Of course, if it's TOO screwed up, then it will throw the rest of the book off. So I have to be able to recognize that, too.
I also increase my productivity by having more than one book going at once. I mean, I might be writing one book, but I have another proposal sitting there, ready to go. Or I have to deliver an Intrigue one month and a Berkley the next month. If I'm having trouble with one book, I'll put it down and work on the other one--until I figure out the basic problem with the book that was giving me fits.
I just wrote 100 pages of a Berkley novel, a sequel to BEYOND CONTROL, called BEYOND FEARLESS. It’s about sexually linked telepaths whose powers increase when they link up with their soulmate. But I think those 100 pages are going to turn into 90 pages because the beginning needs tightening. When I edit, I often tighten what I’ve written. And I’m just as likely to expand the text. It all depends on what I think the book needs.
I had to put my Berkley book down because I'd planned a research trip to Boston, for the Intrigue that's due in a couple of months. I'd written the whole draft of that ms, guessing about the settings in some scenes. Once I saw the real locations, I changed some of the scenes to fit the actual settings-–and added missing details that I never would have known unless I’d been there. Now I'm editing the book once on the screen. When I finish that, I'll go on to the paper editing. When that book is finished, I'll go back to BEYOND FEARLESS..
One reason I try to write fast is so that I have time to put each book away for a while. When I pick it up after a few weeks of working on something else, it's easy to see any problems with the ms, because it's like someone else wrote it.
If you’d like to discuss productivity, let me know.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I find that once I use a word, I tend to use it more than once. Does that happen to you?
I’m enjoying the story, though. It’s about a man from New Atlantis, which is in the Caribbean. The inhabitants left the Greek mainland eons ago because they were persecuted for their psychic powers. They now have a civilization on New Atlantis and hide the island with a force field. But they need more psychics to help them maintain the field. So they send their young men and women out into the world in dreams–to hook up with a partner who has psychic powers. If the meeting is successful, they go out to bring the person back.
Naturally, the couple I’m writing about are having considerable problems working out their relationship. It’s complicated. Her mother bonded with his stepfather. But she was afraid to go back to New Atlantis with him. Now she guards her daughter jealously. And she almost kills the young lovers as she tries to stop her daughter from leaving.
So that’s my story today.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Move over Sue Grant. Here I am getting ready to take flight from the Santa Ynez (California) Airport. Of course, this glider is considerably smaller than the jumbo jets you fly.
And in the interest of full disclosure, I wasn't the pilot. An experienced glider pilot steered the craft.
First we were towed on a long wire in back of a small plane. Then the pilot had me release the lever holding the tow wire, and we glided over the countryside north of Santa Barbara--including over the edge of Reagan's former ranch.
It was an exciting experience. When we were being towed by the small plane, we wobbled a bit, which made me nervous. I felt better when we were floating free.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
(HQN Books, July 25, 2006)
This looks like a fun romp.
Think the grocery store is a great place to meet men?
Hunky interstellar fugitive, aisle 5.
With outrageously false accusations piling up against her famous political family and an ex-fiancé in hot water determined to take her down with him, the last thing Jana Jasper needs is more trouble--especially man trouble. But when she heads to the grocery store for an ice cream fix, not only does the muscled hunk in the frozen foods section ranting about spaceships and invasions look crazy, he looks... familiar.
Cavin of Far Star has never forgotten the girl he met during his weeks spent on that quaint little world, planet Earth, the girl who didn't believe he was real. And now he'll risk his future to save her. All she has to do is take him to her leader. Simple enough plan--although Jana isn't so easily convinced. Hell-bent on charming his way past her defenses, he's determined to stay one step ahead of the galaxy's most feared assassin--and may just capture his favorite Earthling's heart in the process.
ABOUT SUSAN GRANT
One of the first women in history to attend the US Air Force Academy, a former Air Force instructor pilot, and currently a 747 jumbo jet pilot for United Airlines, New York Times best-seller and RITA winner Susan Grant loves writing about what she knows -- flying, adventure, and the delicious interaction between men and women.
"...one of the best books of the year!" - Mary Janice Davidson, New York Times bestselling author
“...a cute, quirky otherworldly romance that’s totally delightful to read!” -- Tanzey Cutter
“Veers uncomfortably close to our actual plans to invade your pitiful little planet. Pull this book from the shelves immediately or I shall have it vaporized!” -- General Neppal, Supreme Commander of the Coalition fleet
Monday, July 10, 2006
ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE by Michelle Rowen
(Warner Forever, July 2006)
When you're hot for a demon, you might as well kiss your halo good-bye...
Falling naked into the killer whale tank at MarineLand is always bad news, but it's a real bummer when you've just been kicked out of Heaven. Former angel Valerie Grace is determined to reverse her banishment-Earth's just no fun.
Her best friend is a slightly perverted human-turned-rat, and she's being tailed by a sexy Tempter Demon named Nathaniel, who's trying to lure her to hell with kisses that are almost worth the trip. With the talking rodent sneaking peeks down her shirt and Nathaniel getting more irresistible every minute, this ex-angel has only one hope: find the stolen Key to Heaven and go home.
Then the oddest thing happens-Nathaniel starts to show signs of loyalty and love. And soon Val is asking herself if it is such a bad thing to have the hots for a demon.
ABOUT MICHELLE ROWEN
Michelle Rowen was born in Toronto, Ontario. As a child she decided that when she grew up she would become a flight attendant, a jewel thief, or a writer. One out of three ain't bad. She is a self-confessed bibliophile, the proud owner of an evil cat named Nikita, Reality TV junkie, and has an unhealthy relationship with all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Rowen does a delightful job mixing things up with her sassy and sexy characters. She has her own unique spin on life and the afterlife and good and evil, which makes for downright fun reading. 4 stars – Romantic Times
ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE is such a fun story...Michelle Rowen has proven herself to be an ace storyteller with a truly fresh and sharp sense of humor. I'm officially a fan! -- Lani Diane Rich, RITA Award-winning author
An amusing heavenly romance with a hell of a price to pay for not reading it. -- Harriet Klausner
Friday, July 07, 2006
M. J. Rose was on hand to give advice on promotion and publicity. R. L Stine, of Goosebumps fame, was the Friday luncheon speaker. And John Lescroart spoke at lunch on Sunday. One thing I learned is that the top writers in the field have the same insecurities as I do. The most interesting panels were presented by professionals in the Special Ops field. We had demonstrations on knife fighting, street fighting, weapons handling, and a discussion on the anatomy of medical thrillers.
Next year, the conference will be in New York, where I'm sure we'll get a lot more editors and agents.
I stayed on for a few days after the conference to write in this gorgeous setting. Here I am on the patio, soaking up the atmosphere and working on a proposal.
My panel: Robert Liparulo, Katherine Neville, me, and John Case. James Rollins is at the podium, so you can't see him.
Here's one of the booksignings--which were held after each session.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
And you thought your Valentine's Day was bad?
AND ALL THAT JAZZ
Unless Dora Duncan can stop it, it's going to be another St. Valentine's Day Massacre. A year ago, her (now ex-) boyfriend Nick stood her up at the worst possible moment. That was when she gave up important TV reporting for stories like "Too Stressed for Sex." And though such clips have a certain relevance, things have been a whole lot quieter. Too quiet. Until now.
Now she's gotta go back in time (don't ask!) and stop that very same Nick from messing up the time-space continuum. She has to travel back to a place where everybody speaks easy and cuts a rug-and this Chicago ain't no musical. Here, there are tommy guns and torpedoes, guys and dolls, gin joints, flappers, stoolies, rats and a whole lot more; and prohibition means anything but no.
It's the 1920s. Time for Dora to roar.
Read an excerpt of WHAT, NO ROSES?
ABOUT MARIANNE MANCUSI
When not out exposing scams and righting wrongs, Emmy award–winning TV news producer Marianne Mancusi is probably writing. Her first chick lit novel, "A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court," was called "a sparkling debut" by Publisher's Weekly. And Romantic Times magazine awarded four Stars to her 1920s time travel "What, No Roses?", pronouncing it "fast, funny and as bubbly as bathtub champagne." In addition, Marianne has six other adult and teen books under contract, including a teen comedy vampire series from Berkley called "Boys that Bite." She lives in Boston's historic North End.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I know there are readers and editors who just wandered into this magical land. But I spent years WAITING FOR this market.
As a young reader, my first love was fantasy and science fiction. It all started in fifth grade, when the D.C. Public Library delivered the monthly “book basket” to our classroom–and one of the selections was RED PLANET, by Robert Heinlein.
As soon as the teacher put the books on the chalk ledge below the blackboard, I knew I wanted to read that book–and I dashed up to get it before anybody else could.
RED PLANET hooked me on the genre. And in many of the Heinlein books I read as a young adult, there was a love story. I didn’t find out until years later that there was a whole genre where that romance subplot became the focus of the story.
Back when I started writing romances, any hint of the paranormal was rare. But I wanted to include those elements in my books, since I always loved reading books where people had psychic abilities. Or books about time travel. Or creatures that couldn’t exist in the real world.
I was lucky enough to have an editor at Harlequin Intrigue who would let me include the paranormal in my stories, but only if I was subtle about it.
For years I wrote what I called "stealth paranormal" for Harlequin Intrigue--where the reader didn't find out about the weird twists until she was way into the story and had gotten invested in the characters. (In PRINCE OF TIME, you don't know that the hero is a space alien who's been in suspended animation in Alaska until well into the book. In NOWHERE MAN, you don't learn the hero is a clone being groomed for an army suicide mission until you get to know and like him.)
I longed to make the paranormal the focus of my stories, so I wrote a proposal for a book about telepaths who don’t develop their talents until they link sexually with each other.
My agent sent it out, and nobody would buy it. So I put it away in a drawer, and pulled it out occasionally to fiddle with it. I wasn’t able to sell it until last year, when Berkley published it as BEYOND CONTROL.
Before that, I got into the market with KILLING MOON, my first werewolf book.
I’d been selling steadily to Harlequin Intrigue on a brief proposal. But I was sure nobody would buy a werewolf book from me unless I wrote the whole thing on speculation. It was hard for me to fit that into my schedule, but finally I decided I had to write the book.
While I was writing it, my agent retired. When I went looking for a new one, I wanted someone who would love my werewolf story. My new agent did but told me it might be a “hard sell.” Lucky for me, Berkley was starting a dark paranormal line. Then when they decided to close all their lines in favor of the Sensation imprint, they made KILLING MOON one of the launch books.
I’m still writing for Harlequin Intrigue as well as Berkley. About two-thirds of my Intrigues are paranormal–with the weird elements right up front.
My next one is CHAIN REACTION, in October. It’s about an explosion in a secret weapons lab. The men who are exposed all develop paranormal powers. CHAIN REACTION is the first book in the three-book SECURITY BREACH series. In the next two books, the reader discovers that it’s not just the good guys who have developed special powers.
My current Berkley release is SHADOW OF THE MOON, continuing my werewolf series. I’m thrilled to tell you that it’s made the Waldenbooks’ mass market paperback list, the B&N romance list and the USA Today list. It’s the story of a werewolf journalist and an artist who go underground to investigate the sinister aspects of a private Washington, D.C., club, where the rich and famous can indulge their sexual fantasies. Unfortunately for them, there’s a "mind vampire" lurking in the basement, feeding off their emotions.
I’m finding that the S&M theme of the book is somewhat controversial. Some readers have told me they love it. Others are turned off. How do you feel about the subject matter?
And how do you feel about paranormal in general? You love it? You can take it or leave it? You hope the current boom in this genre is here to stay?
I’d love to hear how other people feel.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
CALIFORNIA DEMON: The Secret Life of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom
by Julie Kenner
(Berkley Trade, June 2006)
What's a mother to do, when there are only so many hours in the day, and the fate of the world is in her hands?
Kate Connor was a retired demon hunter. Now, after fourteen years busting her tail as a suburban housewife, raising two kids, and supporting her husband's political ambitions, she's rejoined the workforce-and except for a few minions of evil, no one has a clue. She tries hard to keep her home and work lives separate-a good idea when your job involves random slaughter.
Between fending off demon attacks, trying to figure out why the mysterious new teacher at the high school seems so strangely familiar, and keeping a watchful eye on her daughter's growing infatuation with a surfer dude, Kate is the busiest-and most dangerous-soccer mom on the block…
FROM THE DESK OF KATE CONNOR…
• Pay bills
• Gas up the minivan
• Pick Allie up from cheerleader practice
• Clean out nest of evil, blood-thirsty preternatural creatures with a few wooden stakes, some holy water, and a can of Diet Coke
• Self-defense class
• Volunteer at nursing home
• Battle determined demon while making meal
• Put Timmy to bed
• Clean up dishes
• Dispose of demon carcass
• Iron Stuart’s shirt
• Write tomorrow’s to-do list
"more witty, funny and poignant adventures from the marvelous Kenner." Combining PTA dangers with demons certainly keeps the characters on their toes and readers chuckling. 4 stars – Romantic Times
While there is a plethora of outstanding romance/dark fantasy sagas currently being released … Julie Kenner's Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom novels are noteworthy in large part because of the author's wit and incredibly intuitive sense of humor. Lines like "Infiltrating a nest of vampires at dusk might be a tad on the treacherous side, but it's nothing compared to telling a fourteen-year-old that she's not allowed to wear eye shadow" will have readers laughing out loud from the first page to the last. If you've changed a leaky diaper, picked up a spilled sippy cup, or purchased a McDonald's Happy Meal within the last 24 hours, this fast-paced, delightfully irreverent amalgam of romance and dark fantasy is for you. – Barnes & Noble
ABOUT JULIE KENNER
National bestselling author Julie Kenner's first book hit the stores in February of 2000, and she's been on the go ever since. Her books have hit lists as varied as USA Today, Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, and Locus Magazine. Julie is also a former RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times' Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, and the winner of the Reviewers International Organization's award for best romantic suspense of 2004. She writes a range of stories from sexy and quirky romances to chick lit suspense to paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, was selected as a Booksense Summer Paperback Pick for 2005, was a Target Breakout Book, was a Barnes & Noble Number One SFF/Fantasy bestseller for seven weeks, and is in development as a feature film with Warner Brothers and 1492 Pictures.
Julie spent four years mainlining venti nonfat lattes in order to write, practice law full time, and take care of her kiddo. Then she wised up, quit the practice of law, and settled down to write full time. She now lives in central Texas with her husband, daughter, and a bunch of cats.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
We've been back from Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg) for a couple of weeks. And here's a report on the trip:
On the way home we had a horrible connection to make in Frankfurt, since our plane from St. Petersburg was late. We had to RUN to catch the plane--not easy for me. And our luggage--with some of the stuff I bought and a lot of my good clothes--floated around Europe for a day and a half before we got it. We didn't have boarding passes, since they wouldn't give them to us in St. Petersburg. So, when we finally got to the counter, they could only get us on in Business Class. A nice way to come home. (I think we couldn't get the boarding passes because we came into Frankfurt on Lufthansa and left on United.)
I learned a lot on the trip. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city. And Moscow is definitely a world capital. But I think we can be glad that we didn't live through the upheavals in Russia over the past 100 years.
After WWI, for example, the country was having a lot of shortages. To cope with the economic situation, they allowed people to have private businesses like restaurants. The enterprises were successful, but after a couple of years the authorities made all the private enterprises close and often imprisoned or killed the owners. Nice, huh?
I got the sense that the people running the country tried various unfortunate experiments on their population. Like when Khrushchev decided that--the U.S. is really successful growing corn. Let's turn most of our wheat fields into corn fields. But corn wouldn't grow in the USSR, so there were horrible shortages of food and long lines for bread. So that must have been before the shortages you experienced.
Our guide told us some Soviet jokes. One I liked was--
Brezhnev is asked about his relationship with the peasants. He says that relations with them are excellent. "We pretend to pay them, and they pretend to work."
I think I've got a lot of good material for a future suspense novel. But as I was driven around cold and sometimes wet Moscow and St. Petersburg, I started plotting a book set on a Caribbean island.
Another funny thing--
There's a very wide avenue called Moscow Avenue that leads from downtown St. Petersburg to the airport. It's also got wide sidewalks, since they planned to switch it to be the main avenue of the city. (Never mind that the main development was in a different part of town. They also planned to arbitrarily make Leningrad--the previous name of the city--an "industrial city" which meant it wouldn't need any trees. But I digress.) As we drove to the airport, there was a tremendous traffic jam. They haven't had a lot of private cars for very long, so motorists often indulge in dangerous stunts. One guy pulled off the road and roared up the wide sidewalk for several blocks. (I assume the pedestrians were able to get out of his way.)
There's very little parking downtown, so there are tons of cars PARKED on the sidewalks. And double parked.
Our son, Ethan, who is a political officer at the US embassy in Moscow, took us to see some sights--and parked on the sidewalk like everyone else. He also took us by Metro to a folk art shopping village. (Where a guy also had a trained bear.) I was really tired, so he got us a gypsy cab home--by holding out his hand. Motorists stopped, and he negotiated a price for driving us to his apartment--which was at least 20 minutes away. It was a really wild ride. Like I was surprised we actually made it home in one piece.
So after cold and wet St. Petersburg, I stepped off the plane at Dulles into 90 degree D.C. heat.
I have attached some pictures from the trip.
St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow
Lenin's Tomb, Red Square, Moscow
Ruth & Foreign Service Officer son Ethan dickering with rug dealer at Izmailovo Market, Moscow
Cathedral, Kremlin, Moscow
Norman with Hermitage Museum across the Neva River, St. Petersburg
Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood (site of assassination of Tsar Alexander II), St. Petersburg
Grounds of Catherine's Palace, Pushkin
Inside Catherine's Palace, Pushkin
Catherine's Palace, Pushkin
Boat Ride in St. Petersburg
Malachite table in Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Ruth in Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Theater, St. Petersburg
Peterhof fountains, St. Petersburg
Peterhof gardens, St. Petersburg
Statue of Lenin, St. Petersburg
Thursday, February 16, 2006
GODDESS OF THE ROSE is a magical, sensuous retelling of Beauty and the Beast – with a modern slant. Our Beauty, Micki (named after the Mikado Rose), and all the women in her family have a special affinity for roses – their blood, diluted in water and applied during the night of a new moon, makes roses grow spectacularly. What the women don’t know is that they have this ability because they are descendants of a High Priestess of the Goddess Hecate. Hecate is Goddess of Night, Magick, the Crossroads of Man, and of Beasts. She is also the proctrectess of The Realm of the Rose – the place wherein all dreams and magick originate. This realm is guarded diligently by The Guardian, a creature on which the myth of the Minotaur was based. The Guardian swore himself into Hecate’s service for eternity, and in return the Goddess gifted him with the heart and soul of a man, even though he has the body of a beast. But all is not well in The Realm of the Rose. The Guardian made a terrible mistake, arousing the Goddess’s wrath to such an extent that she bespelled him and the realm, and Hecate swore that they would sleep eternally unless the Beast was awakened by a woman who carried the magickal blood of Hecate’s priestess, and was wise enough to see the truth, and compassionate enough to act upon it.
Micki does awaken the Guardian and he abducts her to The Realm of the Rose, thinking that she would automatically break the curse placed on the realm and set things to right, but modern woman Micki is a very unexpected kind of High Priestess, and there are forces at work within the realm, both of love and of hatred that might change the shape of dreams and magick for all of eternity unless Micki is brave enough to make the ultimate sacrifice…
ABOUT PC CAST
Award-winning author PC Cast is a dynamic, entertaining orator and an extraordinary teacher. Currently, her realm is in Oklahoma, where she resides with her daughter and spoiled cat.
Join Mikki on an adventure to outshine them all -- P.C. Cast’s own version of Beauty and the Beast. Fourth in the author’s Goddess Summoning series, it’s very easy to see Ms. Cast’s love and respect for mythology, and it’s even easier to fall in love with characters that I believe may be her best yet. Romance, fantasy, mystery, and adventure are all threads woven together in this beautiful account of a woman who is clearly fated for greater things. An enchanting tale from beginning to end, GODDESS OF THE ROSE truly deserves RRT’s Perfect 10, an award that is exemplified with each word and every page in P.C. Cast’s latest. -- Amy Cunningham, Romance Reviews Today
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
** HERE'S ROBIN'S BOOK **:
SORCERESS OF FAITH by Robin D. Owens
(Luna, February 1, 2006)
With the world of Llandrana threatened by encroaching evil, the Sorcerers must do the unthinkable—summon an outsider to stop the insidious Darkness slowly taking control of their land and poisoning the Sorcerers themselves.
Arriving in Lladrana, grad student Marian Harasta is stunned to find herself the center of a dispute among Sorcerers who want to augment their Power with her own. She must quickly learn her new magical Powers – and decide who she can trust in this strange land. She has prayed for a miracle to save her brother – could Lladrana offer that knowledge, and can she somehow return to Earth with it?
She knows she must offer the Sorcerers something in exchange, and ridding them of the Evil Sorcerer is what they want, but how will she fare in her first magical duel?
With unexpected help – and unexpected betrayal – Marian must determine where her true fate lies.
ABOUT ROBIN D. OWENS
Robin D. Owens has been seriously writing longer than she cares to recall, but is very happy with how her writing career is proceeding. She was named the Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in 2004, and 2003 Writer of the Year by the Denver Area Science Fiction Association. Robin has been the librarian, contest co-chair, and President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She has given seminars at Pikes Peak Writers Conference, the Colorado Gold Writers Conference, and Romance Writers of America as well as other groups.
Marian is a fantastic heroine, both fiercely intelligent and independent, as well as willing and able to stand up for herself and what she wants. This book will enchant readers who enjoy strong heroines. – Romantic Times
** AND HERE'S GENA'S BOOK **:
JEWEL OF ATLANTIS by Gena Showalter
(HQN Books, February 1, 2006)
Enter a mythical world populated with vampires, dragons, demons and Nymphs…enter a world of dark seduction and powerful magic…enter Atlantis…..
All Atlantis seeks the Jewel of Dunamis, which legend claims can overcome any enemy. Grayson James, human agent for the ultra-secret Otherworld Bureau of Investigation, has orders to keep it from the wrong hands – or destroy it. What he doesn’t know is that Jewel is a woman, not a stone! But once he meets this precious gem, destroying her is the last thing on his mind…
Jewel, part goddess, part prophet, is a pawn in Atlantis’s constant power struggles. She needs Gray’s help to win freedom and uncover the secrets of her mysterious origins. Gray needs her wisdom to navigate monster-ridden Atlantis. But need blossoms into passionate love as they fight demons, dragons, vampires – and a prophecy that says the bond between them could destroy them both.
ABOUT GENA SHOWALTER
Gena Showalter holds a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics (lie), is an expert in Krav Maga (bigger lie), and once worked as a body guard 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.
Showalter has created a ripe mythological world populated with fascinating creatures and dark lore. . . , for extraordinary escapism, read this book. -- Romantic Times
Showalter's fans will enjoy her breezy tone, fast-paced plotting, and sexy humor, set against a backdrop of malevolent demons, vampires, and dragons. -- Ginger Curwen, Barnes and Noble review
JEWEL OF ATLANTIS is clever, witty, sexy, exciting and just plain fun to read. Full of lots of "other world" goodness, it's a paranormal romance lovers delight. With characters that are rich in personality, scenery that is lush and enchanting, and dialogue that is snappy, fresh, and fun, you just couldn't ask for a better story. – Susan at Singletitles.com