Thursday, August 28, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jennifer Ashley

The winner of Jennifer's book is: Sarah R! Congratulations, Sarah. Send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along to Jennifer. Thanks so much for participating!

Why I Write Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance

When I was thinking about what to write for this blog, to promo my new release (Immortals: The Redeeming) I had a small panic attack.

I am the most skeptical person on earth -- what can I find to say about the paranormal outside of stories? I can find practical explanations for any seemingly strange phenomenon, including my own “sensitivity” to the vibrations of locations (I’m responding to ordinary cues without realizing it, I tell myself). When ghosts try to haunt me, I ignore them and go back to sleep (or think it’s my cats).

But if I’m such a mundane, why on earth do I loooove paranormal romance, fantasy and science fiction? I love to read it, watch it, and especially to write it. And so many other people do, too.

I grew up reading fantasy, cutting my teeth on Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. In junior high, I wrote notes to my friends in Elvin runes. Star Wars came out when I was twelve, and I was in the theatre at least 30 times that year to watch it.

Things didn’t change when I reached adulthood. I love all Joss Whedon’s offerings: Buffy, Firefly, and the zany Dr. Horrible. My favorite current shows are Dr. Who, Eureka, and Heroes. I just added HBO to my cable so I won’t miss the first episode of True Blood. My favorite “for me” reads are the urban fantasies of Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs and Naomi Novik’s dragon series.

If I’m such a skeptic, why do I glom this stuff?

The answer is: I have no idea. Something in the stories of faraway lands, where magic works or ships fly at incredible speeds, speaks to me, fulfills something deep within my psyche. Maybe I’m reaching out to what I don’t believe I can have, enjoying it for a while before I come back to earth and have to take out the trash.

I’ve always written fantasy as well as read it. From the moment I finished The Return of the King many years ago, I started spinning my own fantasy tales. Most of them were unreadable, scribbled in longhand in spiral notebooks. I progressed to a typewriter (manual), and typed stories single-spaced, both sides of the page. I wrote about magic, wizards, elves, magical creatures, spaceships, laser pistols, space chases, good guys, bad guys, and romance. Eventually I learned to type double-spaced on one side of the page, and I got better at plotting, characterization, and word choice. The first story I ever sold was a short to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine.

Every story I wrote had romance. No matter what else I came up with, I thought of a heroine and paired her with a hero, then I plotted for them to get together in the end.

Imagine my delight when paranormal romance started to take off. Yes, please!

To this day, I still don’t understand why I love fantasy, and maybe I don’t want to know. I don’t want to analyze and philosophize the magic away. The same reason, perhaps, I don’t like to look too closely “behind the scenes” of my favorite scifi shows. I want to believe in the story’s reality -- please don’t show me that the spaceship is really a piece of cardboard propped up with a few two-by-fours.

I know other people do have an answer to the question -- why are paranormal stories so popular? Why do you love them? I’ve heard answers, agreed with some, disagreed with others.

Readers, what do you think? Why do you -- or why do you think others -- respond so strongly to all the vampire, shapeshifter, paranormal, and urban fantasy stories that currently fill bookshelves and television screens?

I will be giving away a copy of my new release: Immortals: The Redeeming. For more information about the book:

Thanks for having me blog, and enjoy the magic!


To enter Jennifer's giveaway, just answer her question here. A winner will be selected Friday night.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Guest Blogger: Marilu Mann

The winner of Marilu's download is LadyVampire2u. Send me your email address and I'll pass it along to Marilu. Thanks for participating! Stay tuned . . . Coming next, Jennifer Ashley, author of the "Immortals" series.

Chairs that rock by themselves. . .

Lights that turn on and off without anyone being near the light switches. Doors opening and closing without a gust of wind or a person being near them . . . all of these things are signs of ghostly activity, right? Could be. Then again, there might be "rational" explanations for all of these things. The chair rocking by itself could be caused by an uneven floor or a messed up rocker. The lights going on and off could be just a short in the electrical system. The doors, well, have you checked the planing on those door jambs recently?

Writers take those common occurrences and turn them into stories. The chair rocking is caused by the ghost of the heroine's grandmother. She's come back to make sure her granddaughter listens to her advice and finds her true love. The lights doing their things are further manipulations of the spirit world trying to get the hero and heroine together. Those doors are being moved by unseen, unfriendly hands coming up the basement stairs.

Writers take things that might scare the pants off a normal person and make it something the hero/heroine recognizes as a characteristic of their deceased loved one . . . why? Because we LIKE paranormal things. We LIKE being scared, being intrigued and entranced by paranormal entities. That goosebumpy feeling when you watch some show about haunted houses? We LOVE it.

In a way, we’re all armchair adrenaline junkies. That’s what that is, cheré. It’s a natural flight/fight response. Now I don’t do zombies or axe murders because it’s not about the gore. It’s about the thrill. That heroine standing on the balcony in the early morning? She’s about to meet her hero -- only he’s slightly furry and four-legged. Hope she doesn’t mind wicked sharp teeth and a little growling when he’s feeling amorous.

What gives you that lovely, shuddery feeling of fear mixed with relief that it isn’t you? What makes you get up to turn on just one more light? Ever have a real life encounter? Tell me about it, honey. I live for this stuff. As long as I’m in my favorite chair with a few lights on. And I hope that’s where you are, cheré, ‘cause I’d like to share a story with you.

Now some folks say this is real, and some folks scoff at it. Me, I’m keeping my options open. See, there’s an old cemetery near my hometown -- some of the graves are from the 1800s -- and lots of folks won’t go near it at night. Heck, some folks won’t even go near it in the daytime. There’s one particular tombstone there that causes lots of anxiety in people. There’s nothing sinister about it, just to look at it. Tragic, yes, but not sinister. The grave is that of a child -- a girl -- who died when she was about six. Her grief-stricken parents called her “mon ange,” (my angel) for she was truly a “gift from god” for them – the only one of their children to survive infancy.

The little girl died of a fierce fever that swept through the town -- it killed many people, but seemed to attack mainly the old or the very young. Some were stricken and merely sickened, others died immediately while still others lingered between life and death for days, weeks. . .

The little girl was one of those. She would rally, giving her parents hope for her recovery, and then sicken again. When she died, it seemed the entire town went into mourning, for she had lasted much longer than anyone else with this fever. Her parents buried her in the family plot and over her grave, they put a statue of a praying angel with the face of their daughter.

Now, here’s where people differ about whether this is a cause for anxiety or not. You see, many claim that this particular angel will turn her head and look at you when you enter the cemetery. Anyone who comes in there with mischief on their mind will cause the angel to cease her prayer vigil and turn her head to stare at those who would think to desecrate the graves. Have I ever seen it? No, can’t say so. Do I believe it? Well, as I said before, I’m keeping an open mind on this one.

Now my next release isn’t spooky at all. It’s not even paranormal. It is an erotic game of cat and mouse between a thief and her target. That’s Sapphire Tease, a Jewel of the Nile release from Ellora’s Cave. After that. though, I return to the world of my sexy, slightly scary shifters in November with Lusting Wild 2: Changing Hearts. Hope you will come to the swamps of Louisiana with me then.

I'd love to give away a copy of Changing Times. It's available in e-format only at this point.

Question: Who is the hero of Changing Hearts? (Answer can befound on

And, anyone who joins our announcement-only newsletter by 8/30 is in the running for a gift basket including our September release, Sapphire Tease.


To enter Marilu's giveaway, just answer her question here. Winner of the download will be posted here on Tuesday evening.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Harriet Klausner posted her review today of DARK HARVEST:

And, I posted the winners of the two free downloads of DIARY OF A NARCISSISTIC BLOODSUCKER.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jan Scarbrough

The winner of Jan's book is Judith Leger. Congratulations, Judith! Send me your email and snail mail info and I'll pass it along to Jan. Thanks for participating!

Reincarnation -- Whether You Believe in It or Not, It Makes a Good Story

“Dr. Brian Weiss will be on Coast to Coast AM, an overnight radio show that I get on a local Clear Channel station, Wed 08.27. His topic is Past Life Therapy.”

Several years ago, I had my palm read at the state fair and was surprised to learn I had known my ex-husband in a former life. That was a new concept for me, and I wasn’t sure I believed it. However, when I began to explore that ill-fated marriage, I started to wonder “what if?”

Wondering “what if” is the catalyst for many novels. What if the palm reader was right? What if I had known my ex in a previous life, but what if our relationship had ended happily ever after instead of in divorce? The result of the palm reader and my own imagination is Tangled Memories, my book from The Wild Rose Press.

Before I began to write it, I researched the idea of reincarnation, “to be made flesh again.” Wikipedia defines it as “a doctrine or metaphysical belief that some essential part of a living being (in some variations only human beings) survives death to be reborn in a new body.”

As part of my research, I heard Jenny Cockell speak when she came to my hometown. Also from Wikipedia: “Jenny Cockell is an English author who in the mid-1990s came to fame for her book about reincarnation called Across Time and Death: A Mother's Search for her Past Life Children. In the book, Cockell discusses her "past life memories" of life as Mary Sutton in early-20th century Ireland. The book chronicles Cockell's research into Sutton's life and Cockell's subsequent ‘reunion’ with Sutton's children, some whom accept Cockell as the reincarnation of their mother.”

Jenny had discovered reincarnation as early as four years old when she began envisioning her past life. My heroine Mary begins to have dreams and waking visions of her past life when she marries my hero. As the plot develops, Mary is helped by a psychologist who hypnotizes her.

From Tangled Memories, a conversation between Mary and the psychologist:

“Our concept of the past is sequential. It's possible your past is affecting your present.”

“What do you mean? My childhood?”

“No, a far memory—of times long ago.”

I frowned. “That's crazy.”

“When we've done past life regressions, we've discovered the human can communicate historic data graphically and accurately. The person hypnotized has never been exposed to this historic information.”

I considered Anthony with growing trepidation.

“Another thing we've found is that you're probably interacting with many people who were important to you in the past incarnation. People seem to be reborn in another time frame, seek out each other and explore their relationships once more.”

“You don't believe that stuff, do you?” My question held a sense of self-doubt.

Anthony sat back and shrugged. “It doesn't matter if I believe it or not.”

As he favored me with his quiet, confident look, I shifted uncomfortably. “I don't understand why this is happening to me.”

“Because something was left unfinished.”

After writing Tangled Memories, I discovered several books by Dr. Brian L. Weiss based on his experience as a psychiatrist and healer. “In his first book, Many Lives, Many Masters, he vividly describes the insights of a young patient named Catherine. She came to important realizations about the circumstances of her life today and the intricate thread of previous beings within her experience. Through Time Into Healing contains numerous case histories which illustrate the healing potential of past life regression therapy, and it provides several techniques for eliciting past life recall.”

You can learn more about Dr. Weiss at His Frequently Asked Questions provide insight into past lives with questions and answers such as these.

Why do we reincarnate?
“I think everybody reincarnates because we have many lessons to learn, lessons about love, compassion, charity, nonviolence, inner peace, patience, etc. It would be hard to learn them all in only one life. Also, some people come back voluntarily to help others.”

Do all souls reincarnate?
“I think that sometimes you have to come back. If your learning is not finished, you find yourself being born into another lifetime. There may be some choices involved, however, but apparently there are limits to the choices. Highly evolved souls do not have to come back but often choose to reincarnate to help as teachers.”

Do souls reincarnate immediately?
“Reincarnation is not always and not usually immediate. The in-between state may last a long time. Also, our soul is far greater than our physical body. It is not limited by our constructs of space and time.”

Do I believe in reincarnation? I don’t know.

Unlike Jenny Cockell I have had no such vivid visions about past lives. I have gone to past-life readings with psychics and mediums, but I have never been regressed. In one past-life reading, I learned that my present husband Bill and I have shared lives together. Recently a medium told me that my mother and I chose to come into this life together. At times ours was a turbulent relationship, but before she died, my mother and I had reached a friendship and understanding.

As a writer, I like the idea of reincarnation. It provides terrific motivation for my characters. Writers always go back into the character’s past to find his “back story,” his reason for behaving the way he does in the book. It’s fascinating to think that back story can be from back farther than our childhood.

Maybe my current love of horses is because, as one psychic told me, I was once a medieval knight riding into battle. Whether that’s true or not, it’s fun to think about.

Do you believe in reincarnation? Have you experienced any dreams or visions of a past life?

Jan Scarbrough


Jan is giving away a copy of Tangled Memories. Just leave a comment answering her question above. Winner selected Friday evening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Giveaway: 2 year anniversary of "Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker"

Thanks so much everyone for participating. I picked two names to receive the free downloads: cfisher and sean and anna. Send me your email addresses and I'll email you the downloads of "Diary."

Damn. I missed the actual anniversary date, but it's the thought, right? Two years ago (August 13, 2006), the very first short story I ever sold became available for purchase. I was especially happy to sell "Diary," because it was a bizarre little story -- one that didn't easily fit into any particular category. (Talk about foreshadowing -- as if anything I write fits into any particular category.) I'd written it for possible inclusion in an anthology (the anthology never happened), and I thought it was strange and amusing. "Diary" is the first-person narrative of a very self-absorbed female vampire living in my home town (Boulder, CO). I classify it as: vampire humor/satire.

In honor of the 2 year anniversary, I'm giving away a copy or two of "Diary" (pdf) to someone who leaves a comment, answering the burning question: "What unique characteristic would a Rocky Mountain vampire possess?"

Winners chosen on Sunday evening, August 24.

"Diary" can be purchased here:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Guest Blogger: Lilith Saintcrow

And the winner is . . . Julie Doe! Congrats Julie. Send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along to Lilith. Thanks to everyone for participating. Stay tuned . . .


Hi Lynda! Thanks for having me.

Since I'm a big fan of lists, here we go. Here are my Top Ten Tips For Worldbuilding -- especially building a paranormal world.

10. You Gotta Pay For It. Whatever magic system or superhuman strength you've decided to have in your world, it has to come from somewhere. Meaning, the magic has to have a cost and the superhuman strength has to have a cost as well. Energy doesn't come flying out of nowhere to aid your hero. If there is magic, how do you "pay" for it? If the hero or heroine has superstrength or an invulnerability, what vulnerability/weakness is it balanced by, and how is that superstrength fueled? I'm always amazed at writers who want to build realistic worlds and don't think about where the calories to fuel the big muscles come from.

You should also think about economics. Where does the money come from? Follow the money isn't just for investigative journalism. How do people in your world pay for food? How does your character pay the rent? Where do they go to the bathroom? A little time thinking about these things will inform your world more than you ever thought possible.

9. Someone's Unhappy With Someone Else. The real world is a jostling set of contradictory motivations and conflicting needs. Heroes with clear-cut friends and clear-cut enemies run the risk of turning into cardboard. Paranormal villains and heroes should be people first and paranormal second. Which means they have friends they may not like, motivations for doing someone else wrong, reasons why they act the way they do. Just plain shoving a character into the position of being a hero or a villain is not a reason for said character to hate someone else, hero or villain. Think seriously about what makes a person "tick" and what they want out of the whole situation.

8. Who's In Charge? It's a natural human instinct to wish for some kind of authority. If the authorities are unaware of the existence of your massive paranormal population, there needs to be a good reason why. If they are aware, there needs to be a good reason for them keeping their mouths shut. If a normal person gets dragged into a paranormal situation, there needs to be a good reason why they won't try to alert the authorities.
For worlds created out of whole cloth, you need to figure out who is responsible for taking the rubbish away and cleaning up the streets. A little thought about the municipal and other structures will inform your world to no end, and give you all sorts of options for scenes, danger, and characterization.

7. No Hero Is Stainless. Perfect Mary Sues or Gary Stus are boring reading. Your hero or protagonist needs a few warts or quirks to allow the reader to identify with this person. Conversely, no villain is Pure Evil. Pure evil is, well, boring. A villain the reader understands and can understand the motivations of gives your story exponentially more depth.

Paranormal heroes and villains run the risk of becoming cardboard, especially if there's no cost for their powers/strengths. A little nastiness on the part of a hero or a little altruism on the part of a villain makes for a better, more complex story. You're already asking readers to ditch disbelief in a pretty big way when writing anything paranormal or supernatural. Don't ask them to believe in saints and ultimate irredeemable bastards too. Though both may exist in the real world, in a book they are, well, pretty boring and unlivable.

6. Don't Be A Slave To Convention. What makes your vampires different? How are your werewolves unique? You don't need to bend over backwards to add gimmicks, but when you're thinking about #10 above you need to think about why your supernatural/paranormal beings work the way they do.
Ask yourself "what if?" What if vampires all looked like pudgy middle-aged stockbrokers? What if that shapeshifter had the ability to turn into a huge banana slug? Pretty much all the wereanimals out there are predator animals -- where are the herbivores? You get the idea. Genre conventions exist to be tweaked and gently subverted. This is a case of "you have to know the rules to break them effectively." If you think about why things are the way they are in your world, you can begin to ask the more difficult and wonderful question -- why not?

5. Look At Some Physics. Physics isn't boring stuff -- it can help you in ways you've never dreamed when it comes to writing a story. I suppose this is a version of #10 above, but thinking about the actual physics of a situation, as well as being fun, also gives your world instant depth. If you really think about how something could "work", or if you really understand what a sword is doing when it bites into a watermelon going a certain speed, or if you've thought about how/why bullets travel the way they do, you instantly have a set of rules that are made for tweaking in new and interesting ways. Thinking about physics is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to kick-start your worldbuilding.

4. Love Is Difficult. Chances are, if you're human, you've been in love with someone. And you know how frustrating, wonderful, difficult, soul-wrenching, and beautiful love can be. Don't give your characters an easy out when it comes to love. They should work at it just like we do. If your protagonist has a relationship, don't make it perfect. Relationships are hard work, and people misunderstand each other. Think about why your protagonist loves this person, think about the fault lines and stresses in that relationship. Not only will your characterization deepen, but your world may well come into focus. This leads into #3.

3. Watch Your Fellow Humans. Writers are largely dealing with human nature. Observation, as Holmes once noted, is the key. I like to tell my writing students to go to a public place -- casinos and malls are my favorites -- and get a coffee or tea, sit down with your notebook, and watch. Watch and listen. Make up stories inside your head for the people who pass. Seeing how people behave can show you how to follow or break rules for your character and world.

2. Build Your Environment. Music and movies are invaluable tools for a writer. If a particular song seems to embody your character, think about why. Get in the habit of thinking about why certain movies "work" for you. Look "under the hood" -- a good mood-setting piece of music can give you a whole scene or even a book. What kind of music does your character listen to?
Be careful, though -- a lot of movies break Rule #10. Once you're in the habit of thinking about what magic/paranormal stuff costs, you'll be able to spot violations of that "cost" in other stories, which will help your own.

One of the best things about writing is daydreaming. Building a world in your head and on the page is a lot of fun. Whatever you can do to deepen that experience -- listening to music, dressing up, watching movies, going through thrift stores and looking at things your character would like -- will show on the page.

1. Have fun. This is probably the most important guideline. If you're not having fun in your world, how will your readers? (And let's face it, you've got to have fun doing this, otherwise it's just a ticket to an ulcer.) So have fun with your world. Think about what really makes you excited about this world you've created, what really makes you want to spend a lot of time there telling the story.

And really, who doesn't find the idea of vampire physics endlessly entertaining? Although maybe that's just me. . .

Lilith is giving away a copy of Hunter's Prayer (comes out 9/1) to someone who leaves a comment about one of the worldbuilding rules. (Lilith can only send to someone in the continental US.) Winner will be posted Tuesday evening.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm interviewed at and early release of DARK HARVEST

Lisa Logan has interviewed me on her blog. You can read it here:

I understand that Amazon has started to ship the pre-ordered copies of DARK HARVEST. If you pre-ordered one and you actually get it in the mail, would you leave me a comment here and let me know? I wasn't expecting it to show up until October!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guest Blogger: Mary Dressel

And the winner is . . . Linda LaRoque! Congrats, Linda. Send your contact info to me and I'll pass it along to Mary. Thanks to everyone who participated. Stay tuned . . .

Ghostly Spirit With My Voice

Hi, Everyone!

I’m Mary J. Dressel, and I write Historical, Paranormal, and Contemporary Romance. My most recent published works are part of a romantic time-travel series -- the Enchantment series. The idea for this series came from a little Victorian town I used to drive through to my vacation property in Pennsylvania. I started wondering what it would be like to live in this quaint little town a century ago. So, one night I sat down in my little cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and I created my own idea of what it could have been like.

No matter what I’m writing it seems that paranormal thoughts and ideas always want to come out and take over the story. For instance, my most recent contemporary work in progress is gnawing at me to do something out of the ordinary. I had to give in, adding a spirit that floated around a couple times! Another work in progress is a Vampyre romance, once again the paranormal called to me. Two more works in progress are also tumbling around in my head and soul, asking me to consider either time traveling or a something ghostly.

It will be easy for me to write something ghostly since I had first hand experience with a ghost who lived in my apartment with me. I can’t say I liked the idea and it was frightening at times, although he never tried to hurt me or my roommate. Sometimes it felt like he was trying to cause trouble between us, and I can’t even explain how that all played out because it was so gradual. He was a young man about 19 years old. He wore a baseball cap cocked sideways on his head. He could speak in my voice, or my roommate’s voice, and he did this on occasion. One night I woke from a dead sleep to the sound of my roommate asking if I was awake. It wasn’t my roommate! He called me by the nickname that no one used but my roommate. That was spooky! Then one day he told my roommate it was time to get up, using my voice. I wasn’t home! That’s when he woke up and saw him standing in the bedroom at the doorway. Really, it was freaky. I could feel him standing near me while I pretended to be asleep, or he would bump into the side of the couch where I fell asleep sometimes. Once, I left the apartment because I was just too scared to be there. When we moved I told him it would be okay for him to find rest, and go where he was supposed to be. I hope he found peace. Unless you’ve experienced something like this, you don’t know what it feels like. So, I would say I have to add some ghostly spirit to something I write!

I didn’t even know I could write paranormal stuff ‘till I sat down and wrote paranormal stuff! My first series of books are about time-travel. I suppose I write it because I’ve always loved the concept of time travel, but more into going back in time over forward. In my current series, my heroine leaves the past year of 1882, going through a Portal to the present time leaving her with no memory of a past time, of her family, or of the man she was betrothed to. Little did she know that Uriah followed her to the present time, waiting 20 years for her, twenty years plus a whole century, until a fateful foggy night brought her back to a town and man she didn’t remember. Picture this: You happen upon a quaint little Victorian town with a beautiful Queen Anne home called The Enchanted Inn. You need to spend the night to get in out of the fog because you’re terrified of it for some unknown reason. Okay, you know this could really happen. Right? But you walk in and the inn’s owner is familiar to you. Turns out you actually dreamed of someone with beautiful amber brown eyes, just like his, for the past 20 years.

Through the past years this man never forgot, and still felt 100% in love just as if it were the same day you left. Eventually he tries to convince you that you loved him a century ago. Would you believe him? Would you believe him if his touch brought back memories of a past time you knew nothing about? And if you did believe him– what would you do about it? Visions of Enchantment and Enchantment’s Embrace tells the story of what could happen. If I had a handsome hero telling me things he told Eryn, and the visions and touch spoke the same, I sure would like a chance to see for myself if what he was saying was, indeed, true. I’m not sure I could take the chance of passing up the opportunity to take a trip back to the 1800's!

Think about the questions I asked above, and feel free to leave a comment or question yourself. Would you time-travel if you could? Would you believe a handsome hunk/ beautiful heroine who told you, you loved them a century ago? How much time would you give him/her to convince you? What lengths would you go to, to convince the one you loved that he/she was from a different time period? I’m interested in finding out, so please leave me a comment! One lucky person leaving a comment will receive a pdf copy of either book! Good luck!

I always answer my emails so if you would like further information about my Enchantment series, or other works in progress, please contact me at my email address or website. Or, if you want to ask about my 19 year old ghostly spirit with my voice! I hope everyone has a wonderful day! Happy traveling, no matter where you go.

Thank you, Lynda, for having me here today!

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Mary's winner will be selected on Friday evening and posted here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Guest Blogger: Cathy Clamp

The winner of Cathy's giveaway is: Ruth Schaller! Major congrats, Ruth. Send me your snail mail contact info and I'll pass it along to Cathy. Thanks so much to everyone who participated! Stay tuned . . .


Hi, all!

I’m Cathy Clamp, and I write paranormal romances with my co-author C.T. Adams. We presently have two series with Tor Books -- the first is Tales of the Sazi, about shapeshifters who live in our current world, hidden in plain sight. The second is a trilogy about a whole different kind of vampires called The Thrall. The final book of the trilogy, Touch of Darkness, hit the shelves this month, so feel free to take a look if you’re interested. We also have a brand new stand-alone world coming soon . . . with a brand new pen name. It’ll be released in February, 2009. It’s called Magic’s Design and you’ll see the author as “Cat Adams.” This is a combination of Cathy Clamp and C.T. Adams! What’s nice is that the new books will be shelved right next to the old ones, in case you have a collection on your keeper shelf. (And if you don’t, why not?! Hee!) It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon and should be available for ordering in your local book stores in a month or two. You can visit us on the web at:

Or, visit our Amazon Profile, at:

But this isn’t just a promo post. Today I was asked to talk about “anything paranormal.” Of course, that’s a pretty broad subject, but an interesting thought struck me recently and I figured I’d share it with you all. Lately I’ve been enjoying a series on the History Channel called MonsterQuest. Now, for those who have never seen the show, it takes all the typical legends and tries to either prove or disprove their existence using every possible bit of science and brainpower at our collective command. What sort of legends? Well, there’s werewolves and vampires, of course. Then Bigfoot, Nessie, mermaids, chupacabras, the New Jersey Devil, krakens, telekinetics, pyrokinetics, giant hogs, bats, raptors, etc. You get the idea. Anything people “swear” they’ve seen, or encountered or been attacked by, but physical proof of which has never seen the light of day or camera or video. It’s Globe and National Inquirer meets Mythbusters.

What I find interesting is how many well-respected, top-notch scientists are interested enough in the possible existence of paranormal creatures to spend time and money investigating them (often on their own dime!) even though they consistently come up empty. Every week. They come up empty. Either that means we’re not good or smart enough to find them, or they aren’t there. What struck me is that it doesn’t matter! We want to believe, so we do. We can’t find proof so we create proof through other means. Paranormal fiction takes up the space between “belief” and “proof.” We authors can MAKE proof just by putting words on the page, and the belief people already have in the possibility goes along for the ride.

People keep believing and keep searching. Since we’re discovering new stuff every day that’s “not supposed to exist,” hope stays alive. From fish to mammals and new varieties of human ancestors, we’re just starting to figure out this planet of ours.

For a writer, new facts and research are really exciting, because every bit of new evidence we find, or new methods to search are things we can incorporate into books. I spend time every month reading Archaeology magazine for ideas for our books. This month’s issue yielded a fascinating article on the Hurrian tribe of ancient Mesopotamia (“Who Were The Hurrians?” Andrew Lawler, Archaeology, July/August 2008). One of my characters was a former Akkadian prince (who’s obviously lived a really long time!) and lo and behold, but come to discover that Akkad and Urkesh had a long-standing cooperative society and people from both cities worked and lived among each other. Cool! And, one of the items found in a dig mentioned a woman named Tuli, who was a cook to the Akkadian queen. Poof! Instant new character. Why couldn’t a prince of the realm have known the cook to his mother? Of course he could have. Why couldn’t they have fallen in love but been forbidden to fraternize in that past time?

Another thing I find interesting is how many pieces of mail we get with “corrections” about our facts, and they aren’t average readers. They’re professors and grad students in the subject. This is also cool to us, because it says that we’re this close to getting even experts on a given subject to buy in to our realities. “Unbelievable” has moved to “plausible, but...” and will eventually become “possible.” Awesome!

How about all of you? What do you think? Is the truth out there, or is it all in books?


Cathy will give away a copy of her book. Just answer her question here and a winner will be selected on Tuesday evening.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

German rights have been sold!

The German rights to both THE VAMPIRE SHRINK and DARK HARVEST have been sold. I look forward to seeing what those covers will look like. Yay!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Guest Blogger: Justin Gustainis

And the winner of Justin's book is: Gabriella Hewitt! Send me your snail mail info, Gabriella, and I'll pass it along to Justin. Thanks so much to everyone for participating!!

Occult Detectives Rock!

My first exposure to the “occult detective” genre (although nobody was calling it that back then) was in 1977, when I stumbled upon a made-for-TV movie called “Spectre.” It features a criminologist (played by Robert Culp) and his physician friend/assistant, who are called in to investigate a case of possible demonic possession in England. My reaction, when it was over: “This is sooo cool!”

I’d always been a voracious reader, and my diet was heavy on mystery, with some leavening provided by both fantasy and horror. It had never occurred to me that you could combine these genres. And since I usually get more pleasure from reading than from TV, I looked to see if anyone was writing this stuff -- and they were. There were a number of occult detective series, in paperback original, being written in the Seventies. Looking back, I can say they weren’t very good -- but I read ‘em anyway. And the upside is that they led me to writers who were good, and their occult detective heroes. I made the acquaintance of Thomas Carnacki, John Silence, and Jules de Grandin, among others. But good contemporary occult detective stories remained hard to find.

Then, in the 1990s, three figures made their appearance in popular culture. Two of them were named Scully and Mulder. The third was a lady named Anita Blake. The rest, as they say, is genre fiction history.

“The X-Files” (itself inspired by “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” of 15 years earlier) showed the cultural appetite for paranormal investigators (another term for “occult detectives”), and the success of Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Anita Blake” books demonstrated that this interest extended to fiction. Thus was the occult detective reborn.

I define “occult detective” pretty broadly, to include any fictional character who regularly contends with the supernatural. For me, the term includes actual private detectives specializing in the paranormal (Vicki Nelson, John Taylor, Cal McDonald, Angel), government investigators (Scully and Mulder, Frank Black, Bureau 13) reporters (Kolchak), bounty-hunting witches (Rachel Morgan), wizards-for-hire (Harry Dresden), dedicated idealists (Buffy and crew), freelance exorcists (Morgan Kingsley) and a slew of others. These days, occult detectives fall under the heading of “urban fantasy” and, in my opinion, constitute its most dynamic sub-genre.

So, what explains the continued popularity of this shadowy figure, whose origins lie in the 19th Century and who yet flourishes in the 21st?

The occult detective brings order to chaos. He/she is the expert who understands the supernatural and can use that expertise to help, even save, the innocent who fall into the clutches of the dark side. Like the shaman in almost all societies, the occult detective plays a mediating role between humans and forces they cannot comprehend.

So, if you’re an ordinary Joe or Jane, and weird shit starts happening in your life, who you gonna call? You know the answer, same as I do.

As a writer, I didn’t make a conscious effort to write about occult detectives, or even to Commit Urban Fantasy. I write the kinds of stories that I like to read -- and I like to read about occult detectives. My novel “Black Magic Woman” teams Quincey Morris, great-great grandson of the Texan who died in the shadow of Castle Dracula, with Libby Chastain, a practitioner of “white” witchcraft. They’re a formidable team -- and they’d better be, considering the cases they’re asked to handle. In “Black Magic Woman” they fight to save a family from a deadly curse that dates back to the Salem witch trials. But in “Evil Ways,” (due out in January) they’re not expected to do much, really -- just save the world. The third book in the series (due in 2010) is called “Sympathy for the Devil.” I’ll let you figure out what that one deals with.

As long as there are things that go bump in the night (to borrow from the first Hellboy movie), humanity will need those with the skill and courage to “bump back.” And that’s where occult detectives come in. Have Wolfsbane, Will Travel.


Justin is giving away a copy of "Black Magic Woman." To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment here answering this question: Who is your favorite occult detective and why?
Winner will be posted Friday evening.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Review of DARK HARVEST and World Science Fiction Con

The World Science Fiction Convention comes to Denver again this year (a rare occurrence). Stop by and say hello if you're in the area. I'll be there Friday and Saturday.
Colorado Convention Center
August 6-10

Night Owl Romance reviewed DARK HARVEST. Here's the link:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jeanne Barrack

And the winner of the perfume is: J.M. Snyder! Congrats J.M.! Please send me your snail mail info and I'll pass it along to Jeanne. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Psychic Time Travel: Or Preventing the Dreaded Time Travel Paradox
Thanks for having me at Parnormality!

When I was a little girl I saw the movie The Time Machine. Wow! Traveling backwards and forwards in time! How exciting! And then I discovered science fiction and read the original H. G. Wells' novel and was even more entranced with the notion. My favorite book written by Mark Twain is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The adventures of 'the Boss' as he dealt with figures from the legendary court of King Arthur tickled both my fancy and my funny bone. Imagine jousting on bicycles! Defeating wizardry with science!

Harlan Ellison's script, The City on the Edge of Forever, for the original Star Trek show on TV captured my imagination and left a deep impression on me. Over the course of my life I've experienced moments when I found myself drawn back in time. Unlike the characters in the books I loved to read, I never was physically transported to a bygone era, but boy, my visions were vivid! When I was sixteen I "knew" that my friend's eighteenth century home in Brooklyn had been a boarding house and that one young cabin boy had taken his own life there. You can imagine how weird I felt when my friend corroborated this information. How did I know all this? I had channeled the woman who ran the place!

In my early teens I fell in love with Ireland. Kind of strange for a nice, little girl from Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York. But so much of Irish history from long ago was familiar to me -- before I read any books. Even my "real" first name is a derivation of Danu, an ancient Celtic goddess. I recognized places in travelogues before they were named. And finally, dreamt about the ancient soul I had channeled. When at last, I traveled to Ireland on my honeymoon, the places I had dreamt about were all familiar And over the course of 1600 miles of traveling some of the narrowest, unnamed, unpaved roads, I never got us lost. I recognized my way.

When I knew that I wanted to be a writer, I didn't need to question what genre I wanted to write, it was clear as could be. I write paranormal romance. But I never wrote anything involving time travel, because I read Ray Bradbury's classic short story, A Sound of Thunder and I realized just how treacherous time travel could be if you encountered the (drum roll)
Time Travel Paradox. You know what I mean. You step on an insect in the days of the dinosaurs and you go back to your own time and the world is ruled by honeybees.

Huh? You know, you go back in time, meet your own grandfather and you kill him and you're never born.

Say what?

Well, that's how it goes. So they say. But I had all these visions from my youth crowding my brain. I wanted to write about times long gone by, but with a paranormal twist. And safely. So I wrote The Crystal Flacon, #5 in the Collector series from Loose Id and voila: I had written a psychic time travel romance.

My heroine, Abby Foster, commissioned to steal a perfume crystal flacon once owned by Lucrezia Borgia, winds up channeling Lucrezia through visions and dreams. Antonio d'Este, Lucrezia Borgia's direct descendent, falls in love with Abby but also falls prey to the strange effect making love with her has on him.I did a tremendous amount of research while writing The Crystal Flacon. By the time I finished the ms, I had fallen in love with the much-maligned Lucrezia Borgia. Learning how educated she was, I imagined that she would write a journal and I left it hidden in a carved wooden chest. When Abby finds the journal and reads it, she's transported in her mind to Lucrezia's time. But the psychic connection is stronger than she could ever believe and occurs during the most awkward moments and seems to be beyond Abby's control. And Abby isn't the only one who becomes enmeshed in this psychic time travel.

And are there any paradoxes? I don't think so. I hope not.

To win a sample of Lucrezia's perfume just answer this question: If you had the ability to travel through time, where would you go, when and why?
The Crystal Flacon is available at

Learn more about Jeanne's work at: