Sunday, June 28, 2009

Guest Blogger: Jody Wallace

Jody's winner is : Pamk! Congrats, PamK! Thanks to everyone for participating.

I've been reading a book called BLACK AND WHITE this week, by authors Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittridge. The book's a full blown "superworld" novel -- that is, speculative fiction in which superhero type characters take center stage. It's not like an urban fantasy or paranormal, but more like a classic "costumed crusaders" kind of plot. And I am seriously enjoying it.

In fact, I'm thinking, "Why aren't there more books like this?"

In the Wikipedia entry for Superhero, the definition is: "A superhero (also known as a super hero) is a fictional character of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to acts of derring-do in the public interest." That's one kind of superhero. There are others, of course, in particular the grim, "Watchman" style of worldbuilding and storytelling, but the premise is roughly the same -- characters who (somewhat) openly fight crime in ways and with skills that are not exactly standard police procedure. Here is a 2008 column by Cat Rambo about Superhero fiction in which she is nominating a tv episode for the Nebulas and talking about books she enjoys:

Here on Lynda's Paranormality blog, obviously there's a lot of talk about vampires and werewolves and hot gargoyle heroes. These are enduring and popular subgenre staples. What began as a somewhat narrow subgenre (paranormal romance) has definitely been branching out in the past couple years, as readers demand variety and new storylines in addition to their beloved blood suckers and shifters. As many successful years as superheroes have captured our imaginations, in both comics and on the big/small screens, why do you think there haven't been more superworld style novels, particularly romances?

Yes, there have been some fun ones. The first I recall is the Aphrodite series by Julie Kenner. I also read and enjoyed the Jennifer Estep Bigtime series (KARMA GIRL, JINX, HOT MAMA) and INTRODUCING SONICA by Eilis Flynn. I have heard Gena Showalter's book PLAYING WITH FIRE described as a sort of superhero romance, and certainly there is the aforementioned BLACK AND WHITE.

It's quite possible there have been more superhero style romances (or chick lits) published, particularly from smaller, more flexible publishers, and I have missed them. I know my good friend Natalie Damschroder participated in an erotic superhero series called The Lusty League from Amber Quill, for example.

What gems am I missing?

I think there are some in YA series, but for the life of me I can't remember the names of them.

Do mainstream publishers feel this particular subgenre wouldn't interest the primarily female romance reading audience? Do they think only boys like superheroes? What do you think?

I will give away either an electronic or a paper copy of my paranormal romance from Samhain Publishing, SURVIVAL OF THE FAIREST (not a superhero romance but does feature some pint-sized supervillians!), to one lucky commenter. And I hope a lot of you comment -- I'd love to see a good discussion about the potential for great stories in the subgenre of superhero romances, as well as lots of suggestions for books I can track down!

Thanks to Lynda for giving me access to the brains of her blog visitors -- and you're safe, I'm not a zombie (today) :)

Jody Wallace *


Jody's winner will be posted on Tuesday evening. Stop by and see if you won!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm having a very nice contest year! Dark Harvest finals again!

What a wonderful surprise! I just got an email saying DARK HARVEST is a finalist in the First Coast Romance Writers Beacon Published contest, in the Novel w/Strong Romantic Elements category. Yay!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Guest Blogger: Marilynn Byerly

Marilynn's winner is: Ingrid Foster! Congrats, Ingrid. Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Marilynn. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Glenn Miller's song "Moonlight Serenade" makes me cry.

It always has, and I've never known why. I grew up during the heyday of Elvis and the Beatles, but my passion was Big Band music. Ancient Egypt and Rome enthralls me, and at ten I could understand Shakespeare's Elizabethan words.

Some things just come naturally to me, like I've done them before, and some historical places feel as comfortable as the town I grew up in.

If I have lived before, I can name some people, times, and places. A Big Band musician with classical training who died during World War II. An American intellectual during the Romantic movement. An Elizabethan. One of Chaucer's drinking buddies. A Roman. An Etruscan. An ancient Greek. An Egyptian peasant.

No, I can't remember any of these lives. Except for some intense dreams in my childhood, I've never remembered those other times. I've pieced them together from my natural interests, and my frisson of recognition at historical artifacts.

Every time I've attempted to delve into my past lives, my subconscious has told me "don't do this" in a very loud voice.

When I was researching my reincarnation romance, TIME AFTER TIME, I read a book on how to remember past lives. The author suggested that you ask your subconscious every night before bed to give you information on a past life.

The author told of how he'd done this to gain more information on his life as a military man in the late 1700s. He dreamed that he'd seen a night sky, and the stars had formed the name of the famous battle site where he'd died.

"Cool," I thought to myself. "Just think of all the book material I'd find from past lives." I began to ask my subconscious to give me information.

Finally, one night I dreamed I saw a night sky and letters began to form. My letters spelled out "buffoon."

My subconscious has a wicked sense of humor.

Wondering what it would be like to recall past lives, I came up with the premise for TIME AFTER TIME. My hero Justin Lord remembers all his lives and the one woman in each of them. When he meets Alexa West, he knows he's finally found this soul mate.

Determined to win her by making her remember, he romances Alexa by restaging and retelling their past lives and their loves. But he doesn't tell her she has rivals for his love, and she is all twelve.

Unless he can give up his obsession with those past loves, he will lose Alexa.

Remembering past lives proves to be as much a curse as a blessing for Justin, and his problems made me realize that maybe my subconscious isn't so wrong, after all, in telling me not to try to remember. One life is confusing enough.


Marilyn will give away a copy of her book to one person who leaves a comment about her/his own past life exploration. Winner will be posted on Tuesday evening. Check back to see if you've won.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dark Harvest: Finalist, Book Buyers Best Contest and nice words on the CAL website

DARK HARVEST is a finalist (along with such wonderful authors as Brenda Novak, CJ Lyons and Susan Swift) in the Romantic Suspense/Mystery with Romance Elements category of the Orange County Chapter's Book Buyers Best Contest, 2009! What an excellent surprise!

And, some of the judges who selected the winners of the "Top Hand" awards given by the Colorado Authors League have posted comments about the books they judged. Here's what a couple of them said about Dark Harvest:

CAL Award for Genre Fiction
Dark Harvest by Lynda Hilburn

“This is a finely crafted novel which not only entertains—it leaves the reader hoping for more! [This] story is so original and is so full of fun, snappy dialogue, elegant and graphic sensuality, and fast-paced action that I found it difficult to put down.” Susan Ciazza, Reader’s Advisor, Arapahoe Library District.

“Great book. The flow from one scene [to another] is outstanding.” Sandy Whelchel, Executive Director, National Writers Association.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Guest Blogger: Linda Nightingale

Linda's winner is: Bridget3420! Congrats, Bridget. Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Linda. Thanks to everyone who participated.

I’m excited!

Both the trailer and the cover for Black Swan, my spicy vampire romance from The Wild Rose Press, are nominated for awards at The New Covey Trailer Awards and The New Covey Cover Awards! Think of the trailer awards as an academy awards for book trailers. Pam Roller produced and I wrote my trailer. Voting for the most intriguing trailer ends June 19. Voting for the covers ends June 14. I’d really appreciate your vote if you like the trailer and cover!

Cover, Entry #21, Black Swan:
Trailer, Entry #2, Black Swan:

Black Swan was number 1 on the publisher’s bestseller list for 6 weeks, and I’m delighted that it is still on the list.


The fact that the man she loved was in bed with another woman ceased to be important when Holly saw the blood. Her heart, which had been running on empty until she met Tristan, stuttered and stalled. Horror freeze-framed time -- the shutter snaps of images flooding her brain almost audible. She couldn’t breathe or move, knew she hadn’t made a sound, but Tristan's head snapped up. Wild red eyes honed in on her. Blood smeared his mouth, drizzled from two wounds on his partner's throat. The woman he'd been screwing appeared deathly pale and deadly still.

She should run before he shouted, "What the hell are you doing here?" but fear had turned her to ice. Holly hadn't blinked but Tristan stood on his feet. Her heart tripped over a beat. No one could move that fast. Burning eyes captured hers.

Black Swan is available from The Wild Rose Press.

Please visit my web site for a continuing story, Vampire Hunt.

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a Black Swan coffee mug!

Thanks Lynda for having me as a guest!


Linda's winner will be selected on Monday evening. Stop back by to see if you've won.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Guest Blogger: Rick Taubold

I put the names in my mini-coffin and picked a winner: Cecile! Congratulations, Cecile. Send me the email address you'd like Rick to send your download to, and it will be on its way. Thanks so much to all who participated.

Lynda and everyone, thanks for having me. It's a privilege to be here.

What if vampires really existed? What if they were mortal, not predators, and didn't have fangs?

I'm Rick Taubold, and that's the premise of my second published novel, Vampires, Inc., co-authored with Chris R. Hosey, and which just released last week as an e-book from Double Dragon Publishing.

Chris and I set out to make our vampires different. We wanted them to exist in our world without most people knowing of their existence. Our idea was to show how they deal with the stigma of what they are. My co-author has a gift of being able to create three-dimensional characters with real flaws and a lot of baggage, the kind of characters who feel genuine.

The novel has a multi-cultural character set, and not all of the characters are vampires. You'll find the bad guys every bit as interesting as the good guys. There's even a love scene, which my wife helped me create.

Excerpt from Chapter 13 -- the love scene.

New Orleans, May, 1884.

After being changed into a vampire, Eli has wandered the back woods of the South for 25 years. He has just come into New Orleans where he meets Sophie Benoit . . .

They walked along Royal Street and into the nighttime crowds of humans. He would later learn the names of all the streets. For now, he was an innocent child, amazed at the splendor of this newfound place. All of his senses came alive. Sights and scents, more wonderful than he'd ever experienced, flooded over him. More amazing, a beautiful white woman walked at his side and treated him as her equal.

"Where are you taking me?" he asked.

"Chez moi."

He was confused.

She laughed. "To my house. You need a place to stay, non?"


He didn't remember all he saw or how long they walked, but they came to a place of many magnificent buildings. "This is Storyville," she said, "where the sporting women live. For us New Orleans is une bonne ville. There is so much crime. The officials and the police -- les poulets we call them, the chickens -- are like dogs who so stupidly chase their queues. Men's queues always lead them to Storyville." What a sweet laugh she had.

He would learn later what all this meant.

She took him inside a building finer than his slaveholder's plantation house. The carpet was thick; fine draperies adorned the windows. He rubbed his hand over a deep-red, velvet-textured wall. A crystal chandelier, larger than he'd ever seen, hung in the center of this room.

"This is my sporting house, les filles à ton service," she said. "Women to serve you."

He saw women everywhere, many beautiful women. Some wore full dresses, some were half-dressed. Some were alone, some were talking to men, some were escorting men out of the room. He didn't see any others of his race here.

One woman came up to them. "Madam Sophie, is he your new servant?"

He avoided looking at her bare breasts.

"He will serve me," she said. She took hold of his chin and turned his head back at the woman. "Do you not like what you see?"

"She is..."

"Naked? Oui. What is wrong with a beautiful, naked woman?"


Sophie laughed her sweet laugh again, then she led him up a grand stairway. At the top, she opened a door. "Here is my room."

If possible, the room was more elegant and luxurious than downstairs. The bed, covered with pillows, was large enough for three people and covered with pillows. Inside the fireplace to his right a roaring fire heated a huge kettle. In front of that sat a bathtub for two people. He'd only seen its like once before. Next to the tub was a wooden toilet.

She'd been holding his hand and now let it go. "Wait here." When she returned, a Negro woman much darker than he was accompanied her.

"This is Elba, my maid."

"What you lookin' at, boy?"

"His name is Eli," Sophie said, "and you will not speak to him that way again. Prepare my bath then leave us."

"Yes, ma'am." Her tone was chilly. On the plantations he'd seen skin color sometimes mattered among the Negroes.

Sophie took his clothing bundle and tossed it on the floor. She bid him sit on the bed while she disappeared behind a dressing screen. He watched Elba use a wooden bucket to dip water from the fireplace kettle and fill the tub. He marveled at the crystal oil lamps that lit the room. Some were mounted on the walls; some sat on tables.

Elba finished and left. When Sophie came from behind the screen, she wore a thin, green silk robe, open in front. "Do you like what you see?"

She had unfastened her hair so it now touched her shoulders. The robe fell open next to her nipples. A string of pearls around her neck hung halfway down her breasts. His gaze drifted down past her stomach. She paused in front of him then walked around the room dimming the lights and glancing playfully at him.

Now that he understood what was about to happen, a memory of his brother Jonas flashed through his mind.

She came over to him. "Mon pauvre petit, I am so sorry for you. Do not be afraid. No one will do that to you here." She placed her hands on his cheeks; her eyes smiled at him. "Sophie will not let them."

She pulled him to her and kissed him lightly with her moist and wonderfully warm lips. "It is time pour l'amour. Take off those old clothes."

He didn't move.

"For your bath, mon chou. Do you take a bath in your clothes? We will burn the old ones and I will buy you fine new ones."

She stood up with him while he took off his cotton shirt. She ran her hands over his chest and shoulders, down his arms, squeezing his firm muscles. Her hands slid over his chest; her palms brushed his nipples.
He shivered.

"You like how Sophie touches you." Again she pulled him to her. Her lips came to rest gently on his. He opened his mouth; their tongues touched. Before he realized it, or could stop her, she had untied the rope holding up his pants. In cooler weather he would be wearing long johns underneath, but those were in the bundle on the floor.

She took a step back and took in his nakedness. "Mon dieu! Quel cigare."


So, we have something for everyone. Even if you say, "I don't read vampire novels," you might be surprised by this one, and maybe you'll want to read Vampires Anonymous when it comes out.

To find out more about the novel go to Double Dragon's website: You can read the whole first chapter there. For those of you who prefer print books, we're expecting the print version of Vampires, Inc. to follow in a few weeks.

To learn more about me and my writing, and for updates on my various projects, visit my website: There's a link to the Vampires, Inc. website, or you can access that directly at While you're browsing my site, check out my first novel, More Than Magick. It's a science fantasy, and it's not vampire-free. You can also read my first published short story there, So, You Want To Be a Vampire.

I've got some neat things planned for the Vampires, Inc. universe. Adrian Shadowhawk, one of the fascinating characters in the novel, has his own website that he'll have up and running next month. Keep checking back. I'll also be doing a quarterly newsletter. Email me at if you want to be added to the mailing list.


Rick will be giving away a download of his new book to one person who asks him a question here. The winner will be posted on Tuesday evening. Check back to see if you won!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Excerpt: Blood Song (my short story in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance)

“Are you sure you should walk home alone, Grace? Even in a small town like Boulder, women can’t be too careful,” a female voice called out.

Grace finished locking the door to her sound-healing studio and turned to the group of attendees still lingering on the sidewalk in front of the building. She looked into their sincere faces and smiled. It was the same every time. People got so energized after participating in the sound circle that they tried to stretch the evening out as long as possible. She, on the other hand, yearned for peace, quiet and a large glass of wine. After a session, she needed to be alone to recharge. Walking home through the quiet, tree-lined streets at the end of the evening had become a private pleasure.

Grinning, she reached into her shoulder bag and pulled out a small aerosol canister. “Don’t worry about me.” She raised the container. “I’ve got my trusty pepper spray. I’m armed and dangerous. Besides, my house is only a few blocks up the hill, and in all the years I’ve lived here, nobody’s ever bothered me.”

She almost mentioned she’d never even encountered a mountain lion, but decided not to raise the issue. It wouldn’t be wise to give the group any more ideas about why she might need company – whether she wanted it or not. Nothing scary had ever happened to her – fanged predators or otherwise. Unfortunately, she thought, nothing exciting, either.

“I’ll see you at the next sound circle.” She waved and hurried down the street before the singers could foil her escape. She loved all her clients and circle members, but it had been a long week and it wasn’t over yet.

Taking a couple of deep breaths, she felt herself begin to unwind. She walked until she came to a dead end, then turned toward the foothills, climbing the gentle trail that lead to her house. She gazed up and smiled. The full moon illuminated the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, outlining them in breathtaking detail against the star-studded tapestry of the night sky. Lights from the houses sprinkled across the canyon glittered like suspended fireflies in the magical darkness.

The late summer air held a subtle hint of fall, her favorite season, and she fantasized about the Autumn Equinox sound ritual she’d be creating again this year. She had invited sound healers from all over the world to participate. Thinking about the event, she remembered the face of the handsome Brazilian musician she’d met at the Summer Solstice celebration in Rio.

He’d smiled at her with those amazing, full lips – displaying wicked dimples and beautiful white teeth – and she’d lost the ability to speak. His eyes were the color of the Mediterranean Sea, and she’d longed to dive in. That memory caused heat to shimmer through her body, and she unbuttoned her jacket.

Of course, she hadn’t had the courage to take him up on his unspoken offer. So, what else was new?

She’d mailed him an invitation to her Equinox ritual, and she didn’t know what worried her more – that he wouldn’t attend, or that he would.

She shook her head, thinking how pitiful it was that even the thought of the musician caused her body to overheat. She was too old for that kind of reaction. She wanted to get over her dating anxiety and find a relationship – like a normal woman. How could she be so confident as a performer and healer, yet such a basket case about men? Why did she turn into a tongue-tied teenager every time a handsome guy came near?

A rustling sound a few feet away snapped her attention from the Brazilian. Startled, she stopped and raised the pepper spray, scanned the bushes and trees, and listened. Her heart pounded against her ribs, adrenaline shot through her system.

That’s what she got for being cavalier about mountain lions. She should know better. Simply because she’d never come across one of the beasts, didn’t mean they weren’t there. Her hands trembled so badly she almost lost her grip on the canister, and her knees threatened to fold. She’d heard the deadly cats stalked their prey. Was one watching her now? Her mind spun as she tried to remember what the article in the newspaper said about the lions: try to look big and never run. Run? Even though that was what her brain demanded, she didn’t think her legs could manage, since they seemed to be made of rubber.

She waited in the thick silence with her finger poised over the canister, her stomach tight. The seconds passed like hours. She finally let out a shuddering breath, relieved that her imagination had probably exaggerated the sound of a deer or a raccoon. She’d just relaxed her shoulders and taken a couple of shaky steps up the path, when something large burst out of the bushes.

Pivoting toward the movement, she screamed and pressed the spray button, sending a shower of the caustic substance into the eyes of a large man who’d lunged at her, hands clutching, mouth gaping to reveal long, bloody fangs. He shrieked as the irritant coated his eyes and face, but still managed to tackle her ferociously, slamming her body down onto the asphalt path. Her canister bounced against the ground and rolled away.

The man – or whatever he was – had outrageous strength. He pressed against her like a concrete slab, easily holding her down, while madly swiping at his eyes with one of his hands. The treacherous, long, razor teeth she’d glimpsed as he’d leapt at her were poised over her neck, dripping saliva and blood. She could feel the slimy, wet substance oozing down her shirt as she choked on the hideous stench of his breath.

His long, dark hair hung filthy and stringy, his skin deathly pale, his clothing torn and foul.

She kicked and flailed, pushing against his powerful shoulder, trying to dislodge the unnatural, unbelievable beast. Her arms ached from the useless pounding, her throat went raw from screaming. His body weighed so heavy against her chest, she feared her ribs would snap any second. Her heart thundered in her ears as if about to explode from the terror.

He’d kept up a growling rumble, punctuated by yelps and groans, as he frantically worked to clear his eyes and wipe his face.

Struggling for air, she made gasping noises, all the fight gone out of her limbs.

The tips of his pointed fangs broke through the skin of her neck, sending a wave of pain radiating down her body. This is it! As she braced for the expected horror, suddenly the monster was gone. His weight no longer pressed on her chest so she could breathe. Shocked, she blinked her eyes – realizing she must have closed them in her panic.

For a moment she felt certain she’d died – that the thing had torn out her throat or crushed her heart. She hadn’t seen a white light or a tunnel. There were no idyllic scenes – no relatives coming to guide her to greener pastures. And, it was strange that her body still hurt, but she had to be dead – there was simply no other possible explanation.

She’d looked up and seen the perfect face of an angel.

And then nothing.

* * *
“Shit!” Ethan yelled. He grabbed the back of the undead troublemaker’s filthy shirt, jerked him off the woman, and dangled him in the air. “Nelson! Come and take this disgusting specimen, would you?”

He turned his gaze to the frightened eyes of the beautiful woman sprawled on the path, gave her the command to “Sleep,” and watched her eyelids close.

Of all the rotten luck. He’d lost sight of the brainless newbie for one minute and look what happened? Of course there had to be a mortal walking around. Why didn’t these humans stay in their houses at night, like they’re supposed to?