Saturday, March 22, 2014

Excerpt: Sex in a Coffin [short story that takes place right after The Vampire Shrink]


“So, Dr. Knight,” Elliott said, “we’ve been very excited to meet you. You know of course that Devereux has been waiting for your arrival for centuries.” He toyed with a large, ruby ring on his middle finger. It looked like one of those with a hidden compartment for poison. “I suppose that does put a lot of pressure on you. Talk about performance anxiety.”


Performance anxiety? How about every-day terror?


His eyes widened. “Anyway,” he continued, “Devereux tells us you counsel both humans and vampires. Quite frankly, I don’t know how you can stand to listen to all those sad, negative stories all day and night. Don’t you get overwhelmed? I could tell you stories that would curl your hair. Oh, wait.” He lifted a section of my hair. “Too late.”


He and Laurence high-fived again.


I focused on counting backward from one-hundred, so I wouldn’t have any stray thoughts.


“That is a good question, my love. Do you feel depleted by the unhappy tales your clients tell?”


Devereux really was patient with them. I was grateful he’d brought the conversation to something I could actually discuss. “No. I’m not burned out yet. I still enjoy the challenges of my work. I’m accustomed to human diagnoses and neuroses. Nothing about mortals really surprises me anymore. But vampires? Stress city.”


Reality check: I’m sitting at a table full of vampires, talking about how stressful counseling vampires is.


“Oh, my,” Lawrence said. “Diagnoses, neuroses. I just love when you speak psychology. It’s such a turn-on.” He fanned himself.


“Excuse me, uh, Mr. Devereux?” said a throaty, female voice.


We all shifted our attention to the bald woman resting a hip against the edge of our table. Her shiny scalp, along with the rest of her exposed skin, was covered with tattoos: colorful, mystical symbols and vampiric images. A rendering of two round dots dripping blood decorated the side of her neck. She might have had the biggest breasts I’d ever seen on a non-airbrushed woman, and the tiny bra-top she wore wasn’t likely to survive a deep breath. It was amazing she could even move in the skin-tight leather pants that completed her ensemble.


Here we go again.


It never failed. Whenever Devereux showed up at his club, or anywhere public, women couldn’t control themselves. They felt compelled to get close to him. Even he didn’t know exactly what caused the phenomenon: whether it was because he was a Master, and one of the older ones, or if it was simply his own specific energy. Or, more likely, his obvious attributes. I’d quickly gotten over any initial jealousy after noticing how cold – no pun intended – the encounters left Devereux. But, I did find it rude and annoying. On the other hand, if certain, suggestible women couldn’t help themselves . . . I knew how it felt to be under someone else’s power.


The woman locked eyes with Devereux and her breathing quickened.


“Yes?” he asked, his gorgeous face a polite mask. He removed his arm from around me and folded his hands on the table.


Hmm. Does he expect to have to wrestle her down?


“My friends and I,” she pointed behind her to a group of giggling women, all tattooed and pierced like the speaker, “we’d really like to kiss you.” She leaned in, her bodacious mammary glands leading the charge, lips pursed in anticipation.


Personality disorder? Hypersexuality in a manic phase?


Devereux signaled his club manager Luna. Dressed in her usual tight, black leather, she oozed hostility and sensuality. Her long dark hair moved like silk, her silver eyes painted in a multi-hued extravaganza. She stalked like a predator toward our booth. “Luna, please escort our guests out of the club and make sure they arrive home safely.”


“Yes, Master.”


“Are you sure, Devereux?” Laurence ogled the uninvited woman’s cleavage and licked his lips. “Perhaps Elliott and I could walk them to their cars. We wouldn’t want them to get lost . . .”


Devereux raised a brow at the two vampires and spoke to the guests. “Ladies, it is time to go home now.” His voice took on an even more mesmerizing tone than usual. The group of women turned and walked stiffly behind Luna, as she led them toward the front door.


“Perhaps it is me,” Devereux said, frowning. “But regardless, I do wish I could find a way to dampen the effect. It seems to be getting worse lately. My aura is changing. I not only attract unwanted female attention, but also violent reactions from males.” He shook his head. “It is not wise, no matter what the reason, for any vampire to shine a spotlight on himself.”


“I’ve heard that’s what happens to older vampires, sometimes,” Elliott said. “Especially Masters who’ve ingested so much powerful blood for years.”


“Yeah,” Laurence agreed. “It’s good that you’ve now limited your food supply to humans and vampires. Maybe you won’t turn into the Vampire Pied Piper, having humans follow you around constantly.”


My stomach tightened. Limited his supply to humans and vampires? Oh. My. God. What else is there?


Devereux glanced at our concerned faces, and I got the sense he said something telepathically to Laurence and Elliott. “Ah, I apologize. This is a celebration and I have darkened the mood. Let us return to a happier discussion.”


“Wait a minute.” I took his hand in mine. “You didn’t say anything to me about these situations getting worse. Would it be best if we didn’t go out in public for a while? Maybe give you a break?”


Maybe give us both a break.


“No,” he said, his words crisp and hard. “I refuse to allow myself to be controlled by outside circumstances. I will simply think of a way to resolve the issue, and we will go about our normal lives.”


There’s that word again: normal. I can’t even begin to imagine what it means to a vampire.


Devereux put his arm around my shoulders again and squeezed gently. He turned to me. “I am eager to tell you about my surprise. You will love it. We seldom get to travel together, and—”


“Master?”


We all turned toward the purring female voice.


“Luna, my little sex goddess. You’re back.” Laurence patted his lap and leered. “Who’s your daddy?”


She ignored him except for raising her middle finger, and focused on Devereux. “Master, one of the new vampires broke out of his cage and captured a couple of humans. He’s made a total mess of the holding area – blood everywhere.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “A complete waste of good food. The newbie must have been turned by someone powerful because we haven’t been able to control him. Could you come?”


There are cages for new vampires?


“Yes. I will meet you in the sub-basement.”


Luna gave a quick nod, then hurried away.


Devereux turned to me, frowning. “I apologize, my love. I will return as quickly as possible.” He lasered his gaze onto Laurence and Elliott. “Please keep Dr. Knight company, and behave yourselves.”


Before I could even formulate a thought, or say “Hell, no!” he vanished.



Buy from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hSLYqT

Monday, March 03, 2014

Undead in the City



Musician Tempest Moon knew the world was a rough place. Raised in the inner city of Detroit, the only way she knew to succeed was to be smarter -- and tougher -- than the next guy. Being a sexy, talented singer/lead guitar player with her own band was her way of being in charge of her destiny. Whether anyone else liked it, or not.

Tempest’s band was gigging in yet another downtown dive. The club was almost empty due to the arrival of the worst blizzard the city had seen in a century. With one more set to play before she and the band could escape the smoky lounge, a mystery man walked in. Even dripping wet from the relentless onslaught, Tempest could tell the man was unusual. If only because he was the most gorgeous male specimen she’d ever seen. But he was a little pale.

Malveaux had ducked into the bar to avoid having to kill anymore of the worthless minions set upon him by the local vampire territory boss. Under most circumstances, he’d have enjoyed tracking the idiots, and tearing their hearts out. He’d learned long ago to take pleasure in his work. But Malveaux wasn’t dealing with usual circumstances. A sexual obsession, passed to him by his sire and suddenly overwhelming, had changed all the rules of the game. He knew if he didn’t find an “offspring” -- a female thrall to serve his sexual needs -- he’d go mad.

When he laid eyes on the charismatic musician on stage, he knew he’d found his “child.” She wouldn’t need to know he was an assassin. But she’d find out his deeper secret soon enough when he sank his fangs into the pulsing vein in her neck.

Together they’d take on the human underworld and the undead.



Buy for Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Undead-in-the-City-ebook/dp/B003DKJBTK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1272826225&sr=8-3

Buy for Nook:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/undead-in-the-city-lynda-hilburn/1021375401?ean=2940000836712

Buy from Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/11363

Buy from iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/undead-in-the-city/id366775445?mt=11





Friday, December 06, 2013

Series Madness

I've been thinking about the long, strange trip my series has taken since I sold the first book to a small print press in 2006. It is a little odd that I'm still promoting my first book 7 years later.

This was the original cover of the trade paperback version of The Vampire Shrink published in 2007. Bookstores shelved it all over the place: horror, romance, fantasy, general fiction.



I contracted to do a second book [Dark Harvest] with this small publisher and we immediately disagreed about the focus of the series. They wanted it to be paranormal romance and I had intended the series to be about the main female character's adventures of all kinds -- pretty much how I still describe the series today: Bloody, Sexy and Funny. After much back and forth, the small publisher put out the second book. Of course, they got to choose the cover. I could kick myself now for not even Googling the title Dark Harvest to discover it was already in use. Publishing had/has a steep learning curve.




So, after the interesting experience with the small publisher, we parted company. Since my first agent and I had gone our separate ways then, too, I started talking to other agents and editors about moving my series to a new publishing house. This was 2008-9 and I heard the same thing again and again: it's impossible to move a series from one house to another, and my series couldn't be easily identified as one particular genre, so they weren't interested.

Thinking my series was dead in the water, I pretty much stopped writing and mostly gave up through 2009 -- until I started reading J.A. Konrath's blog. I loved his ideas for making a living as a writer. When he talked about self-publishing ebooks, I got excited again. Back when my first agent negotiated the contract with the small publisher, nobody was talking about ebooks. So, I retained the digital rights.

In early 2010, I [totally clueless] found someone to make covers from stock photos, hired an editor to help me improve the books and someone to convert them, and I uploaded them to Amazon. Within weeks, both novels [and a few small things I'd also uploaded] became best sellers. I couldn't believe it. I was making more money from my writing than from my work as a psychotherapist. Here are the covers for the self-pubbed ebooks:




Thanks to Konrath's advice, I had gotten in on a good self-publishing wave.

Of course, there was lots of talk at that time about "when the self-pub bubble will burst." I figured I'd ride the wave as long as possible, and keep putting up new books. This time period was even more exciting than when I switched from nonfiction to fiction in 2004. I loved being a writer again.

But it was all new and unknown and I'd been programmed to dream of the traditional publishing deal.

So, when I was approached by an agent in mid-2010, who said he could sell my series to another print house, I thought my ship had finally arrived. [Yes, I know what you're thinking.] Agents had begun signing successful self-pubbed authors and I was flattered to be among them.

Right before the holiday period of 2010, [when digital books took off like rockets] I signed a worldwide contract for the first 3 books in my series and took the e-versions down from Amazon, etc.

Book one [The Vampire Shrink] came out again later in several forms with different covers:

 




 

Almost immediately after book one published, the USA portion of my new deal fell apart due to all the changes in publishing. So my USA books got lost in the shuffle.

My UK editor [really excellent editor and person], said she thought the old book #2 jumped too far ahead in the series story, so she asked me to write a different book #2, which is titled, Blood Therapy.




Since I made so many changes to the series arc in the new book 2, that old book 2 [Dark Harvest] was shoved underneath the cosmic bed and parts of that book used in the new book #3, Crimson Psyche. This is the UK cover for new book 3. It's possible the USA version will use the same cover, but I don't know yet. I only recently got a new USA publisher. The UK print version comes out January, 2014.



So, what's next for my writing/publishing journey? The only thing I know for sure is that I'll keep writing my series and making it available to readers. I'm also brainstorming a spin-off series and completing a few short stories.

One way to stay connected with me is to sign up for my occasional newsletter: http://www.lyndahilburnauthor.com/newsletter.html

Hugs, Lynda


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Guest Author: Felicity Heaton


Thank you for having me here again at your blog, Lynda! This time, I’m here to share an excerpt from my new release, Kissed by a Dark Prince, which is the first book in my hot new paranormal romance series, Eternal Mates.

Kissed by a Dark Prince (Eternal Mates Romance Series Book 1)
Felicity Heaton Olivia thinks it’s her lucky night when a dangerously handsome unconscious fae ends up on her inspection table. He’s her chance to redeem herself with her employer, the demon-hunting organisation, Archangel. But when the tall, dark and deadly immortal warrior awakes, she gets much more than she bargained for…

Attacked by his enemy in the elf kingdom, the last thing Prince Loren expects when he comes around is a beautiful angel watching over him and medical technology of the mortal realm. Hazy from his injuries, all he can focus on is the pulse ticking in her throat and the sweet allure of her blood.

One single bite reveals she is his eternal mate, triggering a bond between them that will leave him weakened until it is completed… or broken, and pulling Olivia into the crossfire of his ancient feud.

To protect his people and his mate from the machinations of a madman, Loren must risk everything by working with Olivia at Archangel to find a way to break the bond blossoming between them.

But will Loren be strong enough to place duty before desire and give up the one thing he has waited millennia for and craves above all others—his eternal mate? And will Olivia be able to resist the incredible heat that burns between them and the temptation of her dark prince’s kiss?

 
Kissed by a Dark Prince is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Also available in paperback. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/kbadp

Kissed by a Dark Prince – Excerpt

Olivia had never seen anything like the male specimen on the inspection table in front of her.

Her heart raced. She hadn’t experienced this explosive combination of uncertainty, anticipation and enthusiasm in a long time, ever since her superiors had stripped her of her rank and sent her to this satellite facility in London, taking away her high-level privileges and forcing her to work on studying demon and fae species already extensively researched. It still felt as though they had shoved her out of sight, burying her in the Archangel equivalent of a basement to punish her for her mistake. She had lost all hope of removing the taint it had left on her name in the organisation.

Until now.

The specimen lying right in front of her was her chance to prove herself again, a gift that some higher power had literally dumped on her doorstep.

Blood stained his neck and splashed across his jaw, and pooled at the left corner of his mouth too, luring Olivia’s gaze to firm sensual lips that had her staring blankly, lost in their perfection. She blinked herself out of her trance. Time was of the essence. She needed to get her study underway before her guest woke up or one of the other doctors belonging to the facility barged in and tried to take over.

She shook her hands to steady them, pulled her digital recorder from the pocket of her white coat, and turned it on. She set it on the silver trolley filled with all the equipment she thought she might need to complete her inspection of their unconscious guest.

Olivia tugged on a pair of latex gloves and ran her fingers over the scalpels and tools, and settled on a pair of shears. It had been a long time since she had been able to work on a live specimen and she wanted to start by getting his vitals monitored.

She picked up the shears and cut down the middle of his long black tunic style jacket. Red stained her cream gloves.

“Specimen appears to have suffered severe injuries, worse than at first thought, resulting in a high level of blood loss.” She reached the end of his jacket and peeled the two sides back. She paused, her eyes widening at the impressive display of taut honed muscles under tight bloodstained and bruised skin. “Specimen also isn’t wearing anything under his coat.”

Completely unprofessional of her but she had expected at least some sort of undershirt, and she certainly hadn’t anticipated a body like this. She drew in a shaky breath, mentally told herself to get it together, and cut upwards along each of his sleeves. She peeled the two sides of his ruined jacket away from his body and set them down on the tray.

“Multiple lacerations and abrasions on his torso and arms. Many appear to be claw marks. Possible demon attack. Subject wears matching black and silver metal bands on each wrist.” Olivia spread her fingers and stroked along the lines of four long slashes over his left deltoid. She gasped. “Specimen has markings on his body that hadn’t been visible prior to interaction with him.”

Olivia tracked the symbols with her fingertips, following them as they formed a curl over his deltoid to his shoulder. Whenever she moved along the line, more symbols appeared, luring her fingers. The colourful swirls and glyphs shimmered through the blood staining him. They swept over his shoulder and under his collarbone, and suddenly she was caressing his left pectoral, chasing them as they followed the shape of his muscle downwards over his heart and around across his torso, and then curled under his nipple to end in a point there.

She had never seen anything like this. It fascinated her. The ones that curled around his deltoid were already fading, disappearing into his skin.

She had made it her business to study the written languages of the fae and demons, because many non-humans bore markings like this and it made it easier to identify the species of the owner. Incubi were born with lines of symbols on their skin that not only changed colour to show their mood, but also detailed their lineage, proudly displaying their heritage in the paternal line. The symbols inked on this male’s skin weren’t that of the common fae language though. They were new to her.

“Specimen’s markings seem limited to his upper torso.” She leaned over him and swept a single finger across his right pectoral, and sure enough, markings appeared there too, perfectly mirroring the design she had followed. Olivia used the shears to cut through the waist of his black trousers and froze when more markings shimmered over his hipbone. “Correction. Specimen’s markings continue on his lower body, notably his hips.”

Olivia flicked a glance at the front of his trousers. If this lean, unusual male didn’t wear an undershirt, what were the chances he wasn’t wearing underwear too?

She curled her fingers into fists and stifled the blush that crept onto her cheeks. She had seen plenty of nude men during her years as a doctor and in her personal life too. He was just a specimen. Her gaze roamed to his handsome face, taking in its sculpted perfection. A very gorgeous specimen.

Her heart beat harder and she rolled her shoulders. She had to get a grip. This was her chance. If she had never seen anything like this man, then there was a chance neither had the other scientists employed by Archangel. All those scientists that were currently enjoying a soiree at headquarters, leaving her as the only medical staff in the building. If she could document everything about this male, and figure out what species of demon or fae he was, then her superiors would have to give her some credit, and maybe she could get back to doing what she loved most—studying new species.

So, she had to do this. He was just another subject.

Olivia cut away his trousers, running the shears straight down each long, toned leg. She removed the central part and swallowed as her gaze betrayed her, darting to his groin. No underwear. Her face flushed. Oh my. The man was built like a god with not an ounce of fat on his lithe body. All powerful muscle.

She set the shears down and took another steadying breath before touching the fading marks on his left hip. They brightened again and she followed them.

“Specimen’s markings curl over his hip from behind. Cannot risk moving specimen without harming him to investigate them. They move down past his... groin... and then sweep back around to curl over his hip.” Her heart ran away with her again, her blood rushing through her ears. She hadn’t needed to follow the marks all the way to make the ones that arced around towards his buttocks appear. Her fingers had brushed the ones closest to the dark thatch of curls around his genitals and they had appeared.

His hip twitched beneath her fingertips.

Olivia quickly pulled her hand back and froze. He didn’t move again. The breath she had been holding rushed out of her.

“I am going to proceed with monitoring the specimen’s vitals.” She picked up several of the pads used as contacts for the machines and stuck them to his chest and below his ribs on the left side. If he had a similar physiology to a human as many fae species did, chances were high that she could pick up and monitor his heart rate this way. She connected the wires, switched on the machine, and placed a clip over his index finger. The heart rate monitor beeped slowly but everything else was off the charts. “Specimen shows extremely high levels of oxygen in his blood, beyond normal parameters. What are you?”

She ran her gaze over him. He had taken a severe beating before they had found him unconscious outside the building, as if someone had wanted them to find him.

Sable, her friend and demon hunter extraordinaire, had taken one look at him and her gift had told her that he wasn’t mortal.

The hunters who had helped her bring him in had believed he had crawled to them or had made his own way to their doors. Sable didn’t believe that and neither did Olivia.

No demon or fae in their right mind would place themselves at the mercy of Archangel.

No. Someone had dropped this male on their porch and left him there, wanting Archangel to bring him inside. Why?

It could be a trap and it would be just her luck if it were.

“Specimen appears mortal. Markings on his skin appear fae possibly.” But they hadn’t captured a fae in years and he was nothing like the fae she had read about in the database or seen firsthand. “Specimen is male, estimated six-feet-six, one hundred and eighty to two hundred and twenty pounds. Black hair.”

Olivia inspected his stomach, pressing in to feel his organs. He felt human but something about him, something other than his mysterious markings, told her that he wasn’t. She peered closer at the severe wounds on his stomach and chest.

“Specimen appears to have advanced healing ability. Age of blood around the wounds is indicative of a recent injury, but the wounds in question are already closed and beginning to scab over.” Many demon and fae species had heightened healing. He could be any number of them. Olivia carefully pulled his upper lip back and studied his teeth. “No fangs. Canines appear normal.”
 
She drew back and something caught her eye. She parted the wild strands of his short black hair and traced the pointed tip of his ear. Was he a demon? They had pointed ears.

Olivia hovered over him, looking down at his handsome bloodstained face. She had never seen a demon as beautiful, mysterious, or deadly as he was.

Deadly.

She could feel it like an aura around him.

He was dangerous.

And waking up.

 
Kissed by a Dark Prince is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Also available in paperback. Find all the links at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/kbadp

Books in the Eternal Mates romance series:


Claimed by a Demon King – coming February 2014

About Felicity Heaton:

Felicity Heaton is a USA Today and international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons!

If you're a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:







 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guest Author: Elysa Hendricks


THE SCIENCE OF WRITING

People often ask me “how” I go about writing a book with paranormal elements.  What comes first?  The characters?  The setting?  The plot?  The whoo-whoo factor? Well, I've found that the whether you're writing a short, sweet contemporary romance or a sexy, werewolf/vampire romance the secret formula is basically the same. But what is that secret formula? It's different for every writer, but here's mine.

W5H

What the heck is W5H?  Well, if H2O is the chemical formula for water – two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen – then W5H – is my chemical formula for writing.

Five Ws?  One H?  What are they?  Can I buy them at the chemist’s?  No, they aren’t that kind of chemical.  You’ll only find them in the curiosity shop you keep in your mind.  Let’s look at each one.  As we do I’ll give you a  general idea of what I’m talking about and a few specific examples from my latest release MUST LOVE CATS to illustrate.

Who – Who are the characters in the story? 

Example: Frodo is the hero in Lord of the Rings.  The Dark Lord is the villain.

(In MUST LOVE CATS  Daniel Bishop is the hero, Katherine (Kat) Clark is the heroine and Thomas Cash (TC) Riley is a matchmaking cat.)

What – What do they want?  What the characters want are their goals.

Frodo wants to destroy the One Ring before the Dark Lord gets hold of it and takes over the world.

(In MUST LOVE CATS Daniel is a widower trying to rebuild his life with his young daughter. Kat is a veterinarian and an unwed mother raising an adventurous nine year old son. TC is a man who has been returned to life to redeem his soul by bringing these two people together. Only catch - he has to do it in the form of a cat.)

Where – Where does the action in this story take place?  Where is the story set?

In Lord of the Rings Tolkein created Middle Earth.

(MUST LOVE CATS takes place in the small town of Council Falls, IL.)

When – When does this story take place?  Is it set in a specific time period?  Are there any events happening as the story unfolds?

Lord of the Rings takes place as the Dark Lord is massing his army to take over Middle Earth.

(MUST LOVE CATS is a contemporary story with paranormal elements - a match maker cat.)

And Why – Why do the characters want what they want?  These are your characters’ motivations.

Frodo wants to save the Shire from being destroyed.  The Dark Lord wants power so he can rule the world.

(Daniel has moved to his wife's small town to give his daughter the happy childhood he never had. Kat  has been hurt before, so she fights against her attraction to the handsome Daniel. TC struggles to remember his past life and redeem his soul as he attempts to bring Daniel and Kat together.)

These are the 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When & Why.

And finally there’s the H of my formula.  The HOW.

How – How does each character go about obtaining their goals?  Or what do the characters do in the story to get what they want?

Froda joins forces with others who help him in his quest to destroy the one ring.

(To bring Daniel and Kat together, TC enlists the help of Daniel's young daughter, the only person who knows he's not really a cat.)

When these ingredients are mixed together properly the result is a good story that grabs the reader.  Journalists have used this formula successfully for years.  But to create fiction with this formula I add my special ingredient - The WHAT IF factor.

The What If factor is what takes the elements of W5H and transforms them into compelling fiction.  It’s the special seasoning that adds flavor to a story.  This is the ingredient that pulls all the others together – it’s the catalyst – or what some people might call the plot.

Sometimes my stories will start out with What If.  What If a young man dies, is reincarnated as a cat, and is given the task of playing matchmaker?  Interesting premise, but by itself it’s not a story.

Once I have my premise I start adding the W5H.  Who is he?  What does he want?  What does he have to do to reach his goal?  When does this happen?  And how does he accomplish this?

Other times it’s the Who that sparks a story idea – an unusual character or characters who inspire me.  (A matchmaking cat. A hero who's allergic to cats. A heroine who's a veterinarian.)

Or the What might trigger me – a character’s specific goal – it could be something as simple as going to a wedding or as grand as saving the universe.  (TC needs to redeem his soul.) Or the Where might be what gets me going – a special location whether it’s the American West, England, a tropical island, a far flung universe, or a small Midwest town.

Or the When –yesterday, today or tomorrow.

Or maybe the Why of the story intrigues me – a quest for love, for revenge, or maybe for the character to find themselves.  (In MUST LOVE CATS in order to save his soul, TC needs to learn to care more about others than himself.)

And don’t forget the How – In Star Wars, Luke goes with Obe Ben Kenobi to learn to use the Force and join the rebels.

W5H and What If are the ingredients I use to write compelling fiction.  But unlike a true chemical formula the ingredients aren’t always the same, they change and vary from story to story, writer to writer.  This is where the science of writing ends and the art takes over.  Each writer uses these basic components to create their stories in their own unique way.

Just remember that by themselves none of these elements makes a story.  All must be present in whatever amount or form the writer chooses.  But every story needs a Where and a When.  Each Who needs a What, a Why, and a How.  And after you determine these throw in some What Ifs and let your imagination take off.

~~~~~

I've always loved cats and been support staff for a few. To me cats are more human than animal, so creating a man reincarnated as a cat was fun. He's all cat at the same time he's all male. I'm looking forward to helping him grow and mature as he lives The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley.

MUST LOVE CATS - The Nine Lives of Thomas Cash Riley - Book 1

Thomas Cash (TC) Riley is mad, bad and –dead. Killed in a one car wreck the twenty-nine-year old playboy is given one last chance to redeem himself for living a selfish, unfulfilled life and to determine his soul’s final destination.

To help his young daughter recover from the loss of her mother, Daniel Bishop, a widower who dislikes the country and is allergic to anything with fur, has moved back to his wife’s rural hometown to be close to her large family.

Katherine (Kat) Sinclair, the local veterinarian and the single mother of an adventurous ten-year old son, is wary of the handsome newcomer. Once before she’d given her heart to a wealthy, charming man and she’d ended up pregnant and alone.

With the help of a lonely little girl and a brash young boy, can TC find a way to bring these two damaged people together? Can he remember his past and save his soul in the allotted time?

And can he do it all as a cat?

~~~~~
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Nightmare Publishing Experiences


I've had a rough few days. As I popped aspirin today at the day job, I thought about how stressful and awful some parts of the last 7 years have been. Ever since I signed my first "traditional" publishing deal. This past weekend, another chapter ended. With a disappointing whimper. I'm somewhere in the vicinity of sad/pissed off. And I'm feeling demonic.

So, I invite you to share your most horrific publishing experiences here in the comments, simply because I am hoping they will make me feel better. [Yeah. It's all about me.]

Let's not use any names of publishing companies or editors or agents. I don't need any more bad karma. Give them a nice fake name and tell your tale. I won't breathe a word. Promise.

The more gruesome, the better.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kismet Series Covers


Hopefully, these UK covers will show up in the USA after the first of the year. I like them!






Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Guest Author: Sapphire Phelan



Paranormal Halloween

 

It’s that time of year again, when ghosts, goblins, witches, monsters, and all manner of scary things haunt the night of October 31st.  Whether you call supernatural or paranormal, it’s all about Halloween.

It is said that on Halloween, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. This allows the spirits of that dark unknown place to more freely walk among us—making Halloween the spookiest time of year. Whether that is true or just a tradition, it's certain that the living is more focused on ghosts and the possibilities of the paranormal throughout October. Yes, thanks to Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventurers, people know that phantoms are all year long, but when creepy things happen at Halloween, the feeling of the season makes them all the scarier.

Bonfires are held on Halloween. Today, it’s just for furn. But attribute this as a hold over from a time when people still worshipped the Syrian sun god Baal. The fires were meant to represent the sun, and thus, honor him. This tradition predated Samhain, making it one of the oldest customs. Fires were also thought to be used as a way to scare off any supernatural being which might wish to bring harm or misfortune. During the spread of Christianity in Europe, people gathered around communal bonfires to feast and make merry all night, often times telling ghostly tales. They’d do this ’til sunrise, fearing to sleep because of the ghosts and goblins which were abroad. Another thing that is done back then that we still do today—wearing costumes to Trick or Treat or to Halloween parties—was masquerading or guising on Halloween because of the belief that wearing a disguise hid you from wicked spirits and fiends seeking to harm mortals, or to frighten or confuse otherworldly entities.

The custom of Trick or Treat also had its start in a paranormal Halloween of ancient times. In ancient Ireland, there would be a “White Mare procession,” where someone would dress in a white sheet, carry a horse’s skull, and lead a parade of children. Gifts were given to the children, who’d say prayers to keep bad spirits away. In Medieval Europe, impoverished adults and children alike, would go “souling,” singing songs and offering prayers to the dead on All Hallow’s in return for soul cakes.  On the night of the Feast of Samhain, people would go door-to-door collecting provisions for the feast. They’d often be dressed in costumes to confuse the supernatural beings lurking about that night. Gifts of food were also left out for real faeries and goblins who were roaming about in autumn.

Carving a Jack ‘O’ Lantern was yet another way to frighten away spirits. In Ireland, These were originally lanterns made from carved turnips. The light, as well as the ghoulish faces carved into the lanterns, was another way to scare off trouble making creatures. In America, the custom became carving pumpkins, likely because it was much easier than carving a turnip. There’s even an Irish tale that says the reason, called Legend if the Jack-O-Lantern.


Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who loved playing tricks on anyone and everyone. One dark, Halloween night, Jack ran into the Devil himself in a local public house. Jack tricked the Devil by offering his soul in exchange for one last drink. The Devil quickly turned himself into a sixpence to pay the bartender, but Jack immediately snatched the coin and deposited it into his pocket, next to a silver cross that he was carrying. Thus, the Devil could not change himself back and Jack refused to allow the Devil to go free until the Devil had promised not to claim Jack's soul for ten years.

The Devil agreed, and ten years later Jack again came across the Devil while out walking on a country road. The Devil tried collecting what he was due, but Jack thinking quickly, said, "I'll go, but before I do, will you get me an apple from that tree?"

The Devil, thinking he had nothing to lose, jumped up into the tree to retrieve an apple. As soon as he did, Jack placed crosses all around the trunk of the tree, thus trapping the Devil once again. This time, Jack made the Devil promise that he would not take his soul when he finally died. Seeing no way around his predicament, the Devil grudgingly agreed.

When Stingy Jack eventually passed away several years later, he went to down to Hell to see the Devil, but the Devil kept the promise that had been made to Jack years earlier, and would not let him enter.

Thinking, Ah, Heaven will surely let me in then!, he wandered up to the Gates of Heaven, but was refused entrance because of his life of drinking and because he had been so tight-fisted and deceitful.   
 
Jack went back to Hell to see the Devil.

"Where can I go?" asked Jack.

"Back to where you came from!" replied the Devil. "You doomed yourself to roam the earth, a restless soul who can find no rest ever." Lucifer tossed him a turnip and a ember straight from the fires of Hell itself. "Here, hollow out this turnip and place this ember inside. Use its light to find your way through eternity." 

And to this day, Jack wanders, never stopping in one place, a hauntingly lost soul, who learned you never ever really beat the Devil at his own game.

So dust off that costume in the closet, carve that pumpkin, and make sure your home is properly protected, for as that old poem remarks:

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!”

 
What kind of legends or myths have you heard about Halloween? Leave a comment about one of them and be entered to win a download of Just Another Paranormal Halloween anthology that includes my paranormal romance story, “His Girl.”

 
HAPPY PARANORMAL HALLOWEEN!

Sapphire Phelan

Dark heroes and heroines with bite...sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.


The Witch And The Familiar Blurb—my latest book:

Mortal woman Tina discovers she is part of a prophesy that says she and Charun, her demon Familiar, must make love so she can become the witch she is fated to be. If she doesn't do it and stop the demon army bringing Armageddon to the Mortal Realm on Halloween, she won't stand a chance in Hell.

A year later, just when Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—another prophesy pops up. If Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it. This time they get help from an archangel, Jacokb, but with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina this time lose the battle and become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?

About Sapphire Phelan:

Sapphire Phelan has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with a couple of erotic horror stories. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist. The sequel to it is A Familiar Tangle With Hell, released June 2011 from Phaze Books, Both eBooks were combined into one print book, The Witch and the Familiar, and released April 24, 2012. Her male/male paranormal romance novella, Dark Leopard Magic, second book in the Beast Magic series was just released as an audio book.

She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!

Find out more about Sapphire Phelan at http://www.SapphirePhelan.com.


The Witch And The Familiar Buy Links:

Phaze Books  BarnesandNoble.com , Books A Million  and Amazon    For those in Uk, find it at AmazonUK