Sunday, March 29, 2009

Guest Blogger: Linda Wisdom

The winner of Linda's book is: Becky! Congrats, Becky. Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Linda. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Witch’s Night Out

Even witches need to unwind, which is why Stasi, Blair, Jazz and ghostly Irma are vegging out in Stasi and Blair’s family room. Scented candles are scattered throughout the room, Van Helsing is on TV since they need that Hugh Jackman fix and, bottles of wine dot the coffee table, and any form of junk food you can imagine is within reach.

The witches are wearing their form of loungewear that involves pajama pants and t-shirts while Irma is wrapped in a plush robe and netting wrapped around her hair to hide her pincurls.

“Okay, this is has been the absolute worst Samhain in history,” Stasi sighed, rummaging through the bowl of snack size candy bars until she found a Snickers bar.

“Oh I don’t know, there’s been a few that come to mind. What about 1723? So not a good year.” Jazz batted at Fluff and Puff who were too close to her stash of See’s Bordeaux chocolates. “Do not even think about it,” she warned them. “This has been more than totally weird, but we’re here in one piece, aren’t we? And Stasi’s got a totally sexy wizard in her life.” She grinned at the red hearts that seemed to enjoy dancing around Stasi’s head. ‘And look at you with your hearts and Trev having hearts too. Good thing humans can’t see them. No way we could explain those away.”

“Terrific, everyone’s having sex but me!” Blair wailed, sniffing as she ate a Hostess cupcake.

“Excuse me, but it’s been some time for me too,” Irma reminded her, staring mournfully at the wine and a box of HoHos on the table. Since food didn’t stay inside ghosts’ stomachs, Irma could only look and not touch. “I don’t understand how you all can eat like this after what’s happened?”

“Precisely why we can eat.” Stasi stole one of Jazz’s precious chocolates and grinned at her friend as she bit into the brown sugar cream. “We knew that Mercury retrograde along with a lunar eclipse on Samhain would cause problems, but considering everything else that went on, it’s amazing we, and the town, are in one piece. Of course, there’s so much snow out there, that I feel like we’re living in a snow cave and power outages haven’t been all that much fun either. A normal life would be good.”

“And maybe we won’t be called witch as if it’s a bad thing,” Blair chimed in.

“And you have a sexy wizard in your life now. With luck the lawsuit won’t continue and now maybe the lake will have a chance of recovering from that nasty magick blasted at it,” Jazz said, conjuring up a bottle of nail polish and repairing her chipped manicure. “Once again, we’ve shown our stuff and do we rock or what?” She grinned at her friends who she’s known for over 700 years.

Stasi’s smile said it all. “Yes, I do. Witches rule.” They exchanged high fives that fairly sparkled with their combined power.

What about you when you’re spending a girls night out? Do you worry about big bads coming up with nasty magick?

There’s a video teaser of me over at YouTube!


Linda will give away a copy of Wicked By Any Other Name to one commenter. The winner will be selected and posted here on Tuesday evening.

Friday, March 27, 2009

5 Author Book Signing

I'll be participating in a multi-author book signing tomorrow in Ft. Collins, Colorado with authors Elaine Levine, Melissa Mayhue, Robin Owens, and Tara Janzen.

Reader's Cove Bookstore
1001 E. Harmony Rd., #C
Ft. Collins, CO
2-4 p.m.

See you there/then!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Random Thoughts: promo and social networking sites

We got dumped on today, here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains -- and throughout Colorado. All the snow that's been MIA showed up today. I made a futile effort to go to work in Denver this morning, but only drove up the street a mile or so. After sliding across the road every time I hit my brakes, I decided it would take hours to get to the community mental health center I work for and I'd be a stressed-out, white-knuckled, basket case by the time I got there. So I turned around and crawled home. Turns out the center closed about an hour later. I'll even get paid for the snow day! YAY!

Okay. I'll admit it. I don't jump into things quickly. It took me a very long time to buy a computer (I finally bought one some time in the late '90s) because I was fine with my word-processing typewriter thingy and saw no reason to change. Email? I don't need no stinkin' email! And, what's up with all the www.coms? After watching a friend surf the Net and be able to communicate instantaneously anywhere in the known universe via email, I was sold. (I'd be lost without email now -- and blogs!)

But I wasn't totally on board yet. Every new experience threw me into a tizzy. Copy and paste? What the hell is copy and paste? I'm too embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to realize how basic and easy the process is. I think the problem was that I didn't understand what the words MEANT. I'd somehow missed the "click and drag your mouse along the line and highlight it" part. And, I complicated things by buying an iMac and having a dial-up connection. I couldn't do half the things I should have been able to do because it took for-frickin'-ever to do the simplest stuff. So, I just assumed I hadn't been born with the computer gene. More evidence of my inadequacy (I feared).

Which brings me to all the social networking options. Once again, I resisted MySpace. I thought it was a place for kids and teenagers. I couldn't see how it could possibly benefit me. Until, that is, I read a post by an author on one loop or another about her use of MySpace as a place to promote her books, then the light bulb went off over my head. I started friending 20 people per day until I reached 3,000, then I was able to simply accept the people who asked to friend me. MySpace has been a marvelous promo and communication tool. I got phished once, but I learned my lesson and am very careful what I click on now.

Facebook is a different story. I created a page a long time ago but I've never been able to figure out how to use it to my advantage. Unlike MySpace, where I can find friends who like vampire books (for example), on Facebook I have to know who I'm looking for. I think. So, I barely go there.

And Twitter? I'm still at the "what's the point?" point.

What about you? What's your experience with these places (and others). What am I missing about Facebook and Twitter? And then there's Second Life. A couple of my author friends are very excited about SL. What's your experience with it? What's the next big thing? If you were going to recommend one best author promo option, what would you choose?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Keena Kincaid

The winner of Keena's book is: PJ von Detweiler. Congrats, PJ! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Keena. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Writer Almighty

Playing God is a heady, addictive experience. As paranormal authors, we get to build our own worlds. We make the rules, and if our characters misbehave we can simply delete, delete, delete. And though world building is most often associated with paranormal and science fiction writers, every writer in every genre becomes a supreme being when she sits down to tell a story.

But we’re not omnipotent. If we want to woo and keep readers, we need to play by the rules — and not just the rules for good storytelling. We need to live by the rules of our worlds so the characters act and react logically within the covers of the book. Few things annoy a reader more or faster than an author who breaks those rules.

I understand the temptation. Sometimes you’ve written yourself into a corner, and the only option that presents itself is to break the rules, but the challenge is to make the story work within the rules of that world to make a better story and leave your readers satisfied.

For example, in my historical paranormal series about Druids one of the “rules” is magic come at a cost. Sometimes the cost is relatively mild, a headache. Other times the price is steeper, such as knowing someone you love is going to die and being unable to stop it. Although I write paranormals, the need for rules within your universe is always the same. To be effective and believable, the rules must:

Identify the world’s boundaries. For instance, if you are writing a contemporary romance set in a small, rural community the townspeople have unspoken rules that are well understood and apply powerful social pressure toward conformity. Conflicts arise when these rules are broken.

Separate the heroes from the villains. Heroes don’t always follow the rules, but they always have a good reason for breaking them. Villains break them because they can (or think they can). Readers need to know what the rules are before our heroes break them.

Rules make our characters more interesting and identifiable. The average reader has rules in her life, even if it’s only a “no dessert except on Sunday” restriction. She understands how important and frustrating it can be to follow the rules. Similar to this is the rule that your characters remain “in character.” In other words, if the heroine has trouble keeping secrets, she’s not going to remain mum on the hero’s real reason for being in town even if her silence is required. Either don’t tell her or make the blabbing part of the story.

Rules make us better writers. We may be gods in our own worlds, but it’s much more satisfying to write a resolution from within the rules even if the process drives us to drink. The benefits of following rules are many, but the most notable is a better story.

In my book ANAM CARA the rules of my world, along with my characters’ personalities, put me in a corner from which I could see no way out. My HEA was in serious jeopardy and even my CP was at a loss for suggestions. Nothing I thought of worked . . . it either broke the rules or would be untrue to my characters. After weeks of angst, I happened upon a solution that worked on all levels. It abided by the rules, was true to my characters and had a happy ending. My readers think so, too. They were as baffled as me as to how Bran and Liza would end up happily together, and were surprised, but satisfied by the resolution.

So, what rules have you established in your world? And have you ever been tempted to break one?


Branwyn ap Owen knows it’s appointed for men “once to die, then the judgment” but his hell is to live again and again until he rights an ancient wrong. Unlike other such souls caught on a karmic wheel, he remembers the past, and he always remembers her.

Liza knows nothing of the vow trapping her in Bran’s judgment, yet when he walks into her inn, she knows he could destroy the life she has carefully built over the years if she lets him get too close. Trouble is, Bran can’t take a hint, no matter how blunt she is.

Determined to repair the damage of his first betrayal, Bran uses the knowledge of a thousand years to woo Liza. Yet just as he begins to regain her heart, a fresh betrayal threatens their last hope for love.

ANAM CARA Excerpt:

Bran frowned at the bite in her voice. “I do no’ ken yer anger with me, Liza. No’ even the Scots are this combative. Do I remind ye of yer husband or a lover who ill-used ye?”

“I have had no lover but him.”

“Perhaps that ‘tis the problem. Ye want what ye can no’ have.”

She made a sound between disgust and laughter. “Oh, I am quite certain I can have it if I but ask.”

“Aye, ye could.”

She stared at the river.


Her name on his tongue pulled her agitation into a sharp-pointed need. She ached.

“I can no’ offer ye the morrow. Even if I ne’er leave Carlisle, this moment is all that is mine to give.”

She made the mistake of looking at him. He claimed her attention, kept it. Heat sparked between them. Nervousness swarmed like excited bees in her stomach. Wulfric had never made her tingle with expectation, and Aelric for all his sweetness never caused her body to knot like a Celtic brooch. Bran did both just by breathing.

Keena Kincaid is author of ANAM CARA and ART OF LOVE from The Wild Rose Press. Her second book in the Druids of Duncarnoch series, TIES THAT BIND, will be released in late 2009. You can learn more about Keena at, as well as MySpace, FaceBook and Twitter.


Keena will give away a copy of her book to one commenter. The winner will be selected and posted here Tuesday evening.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Guest Blogger: Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

The winner of Linda's book is: Vickie! Congratulations, Vickie. Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Linda. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Can we say that "supernatural" is super ?

We sure can. Whether creepy, spooky, funny, or just plain whacked-out, supernatural fare seems to be ruling the day.

And I, for one, am loving every second of it.

I'm a "paranormal" writer, through and through. No matter how hard I try to write a straight novel or romance, it turns south toward that big "P." It's just something in my blood, I guess. In our family, when I was growing up, telling spooky stories or watching spooky movies was a part of our weekend routine. At that time, supernatural and paranormal were considered "out of the box." Today, it's everywhere.

Do any of you have the need to delve into the supernatural realms? An experience with it that lends a twitch of reality to your lives?

My first book was fantasy called Cafe Heaven (An autobiography of the Afterlife), about a guy, a diner, a blonde recruiter for the devil's side of the pavement, and the infamous old Route 66. That book was dedicated to my father, who I'm sure whispered the words to me from the Great Beyond.

My next story was a Kensington Brava's first vampire story. The anthology created around it was titled Immortal Bad Boys. My tale was dark historical vampire fare.

Then I just had this story in my head that was so opposite from the dark vampire historical, that I took an entire year to write the whole book: Barbie & the Beast. Light, fluffy, girl, werewolfy fun. Not serious in the least, my blurb on this book would be: A romp through the world of paranormal dating.

And Barbie & the Beast will arrive on bookstore shelves this April 1st from Dorchester. Yay !

Lo and behold, after that, I turned back to my darker side, and garnered a 5 book contract from Silhouette's Nocturne imprint. More Werewolves. Blackout was a January Nocturne Bites novella ebook release at, and Wolf Bait followed last month in February, also as a Bite. Now I'm writing the full books that will make this a series, and am thrilled to be back into the paranormal realm of my imagination.

So - I write both light and dark. Two sides of my paranormal personality - for different publishers. I write what I want to because the fun and joy of writing is what counts. Selling is supernatural in itself these days, so I believe that writers have to keep a good outlook and write what makes us happy.

I am so thrilled to be writing these days, that I can't wait to get to a keyboard, or hold a blank piece of paper in my hands. Though I do have a day job (teacher), and a family (adorable), and some acreage that needs tending (country girl) . . . I have to share with all of you my love for writing.

The beauty is this journey goes from mind to paper. The process of telling a story from start to finish was and continues to be, for me, the ultimate reward.

Anyone here love the paranormal, and writing, as much as I do?

Love, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom


Linda will give away a signed copy of one of her backlist to one lucky commenter. The winner will be posted Tuesday evening here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dark Harvest book video!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Guest Blogger: Allison Vandiepen

Allison's winner is: Davina! Congratulations to you. Send your contact information and I'll pass it along. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Some people have asked me why I’ve written a paranormal when my first two books were “realistic.” But nobody who knows me was surprised.

I grew up open-minded to most things paranormal. There seems to be a psychic gene in my family (which I haven’t inherited – and that’s fine with me). Several people I grew up with could speak of encountering ghosts, having premonitions and leaving their bodies. At a fairly young age, I had to decide for myself if these people were crazy, or if there might be a side to this world that wasn’t always visible to the naked eye.

The idea for RAVEN came when a psychic friend told me she’d seen a homeless person possessed by a spirit. She said that addiction can pierce holes in a person’s aura, leaving an addict vulnerable to the dark spirits that are out there. The idea fascinated me. And I wondered what would happen if there were beings who walked the earth preying upon people made so vulnerable by addiction that they couldn’t protect their own souls.

In doing research for RAVEN, I discovered the Chinese legend of the Jiang Shi, popularized by Hong Kong horror films of the 1980s. Jiang Shi are undead beings, sort of like vampires, who stay alive not by drinking blood, but by absorbing the souls of others. In RAVEN, the Jiang Shi prey upon the souls of addicts who have overdosed and are near death. They do not believe they are doing anything immoral. The Jiang Shi believe that the soul dissipates once it’s left the body, so there is no life after death.

The heroine of RAVEN, Nicole, finds herself falling for a sexy Arab breakdancer named Zin. She’s madly in love with him before she realizes what he really is – a Jiang Shi. The worst part is, her own brother is a meth addict. She’s terrified that he could become the victim of one of Zin’s kind. Nicole has fallen in love with a man who represents her greatest fear – the loss of her brother’s soul.

In many paranormal romances, a woman’s greatest fear and greatest love are found in the same person. I think that dichotomy is one of the things that attracts me to the genre. What is it about paranormal romance that attracts you?


Allison will be giving away a copy of RAVEN to one person who comments. Winner will be chosen Tuesday evening and posted here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance! says the release date for MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE is March 9. That's a whole month early. I read on Anya Bast's blog that pre-orders are already being mailed out. I hope you'll buy a copy. My story is called, "Blood Song." (And it would be excellent if you like the anthology and my story, if you'd post a nice review at!)
It's a great lineup (I copied this from Anya's blog):




JOHN DOE by Anna Windsor

TAKING HOLD by Anya Bast


DANIEL by CT Adams and Cathy Clamp



TRINITY BLUE by Eve Silver


ONCE A DEMON by Dina James

NIGHT VISION by Maria V. Snyder

PELE’S TEARS by Catherine Mulvaney

PACK by Jeaniene Frost



BLOOD SONG by Lynda Hilburn


AT SECOND BITE by Michelle Rowen

BLUE CRUSH by Rachel Caine

THE WAGER by Sherrilyn Kenyon

IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING by Meljean Brook

THE DREAM CATCHER by Allyson James

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Guest Blogger: Natale Stenzel

Natale's winner is Cecile! Congratulations, Cecile. Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Natale! Thanks to everyone who participated.
Between a Rock and a Heart Place

My current release, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HEART PLACE, is the third book in a series of funny paranormal romances, all rooted in the mystery of the stone circle of Avebury in Wiltshire County, England. Sure, my stories are set in contemporary Richmond, Virginia, and feature pucas (my own version), faeries (again my own version) and modern Druids (and these are incredibly my own version), but there never would have been a story to tell if it weren't for the stone circle.

A lot of people haven't heard of this particular stone circle, so I first have to assure them that I didn't make it up. No, it was truly a gift whose existence I discovered while surfing the web one day. It's real. What's it like? Picture Stonehenge, except older, much bigger and less preserved. Only a fraction of the roughly hewn stones are still standing today. Most have been knocked down, buried, or demolished beyond recognition. Oh, and did I mention the real-life stone circle of Avebury literally encloses the real-life, populated village of Avebury? I'm not kidding. We're talking streets bisecting the circle, inhabited cottages, a museum, shops, a pub and even a church. I understand, too, that sheep graze freely among the mammoth Sarsen stones. Ironic, eh?

So. We have a stone circle, implying all kinds of mystery and history and that can only spur the imagination, right? Well, one thing in particular about this circle really started my creative juices flowing. You see, some of these fallen stones were busted into smaller pieces and used in the construction of various structures in the area. Tell me that's not worth a few goose bumps. I know it was for me. Imagine a fragment of a huge Sarsen stone monument, much like the stones comprising Stonehenge, cemented into the foundation of your home. Would there be spirits tethered to it? Magic? Legends? A curse? What if someone used that stone fragment as the building's cornerstone, a hollowed brick serving as sort of a time capsule? What would be the motivation behind it? And what might it contain?

Or who?

The who in this case -- as you might know if you've been following my series -- was a puca named Riordan, the sexy shape-shifter from Pandora's Box. If I tell you any more, however, I'll be spoiling secrets for that book, and for its sequel, The Druid Made Me Do It. Just understand that by book three -- Between a Rock and a Heart Place -- we have renegade magical powers trapped inside that cornerstone. A half-spell, a blow to the right person, and suddenly those powers are loosed to find a new host in the form of my heroine, Daphne Forbes, the ordinary accountant daughter of two mostly immoral and control-freak Druid parents. (You might notice me taking a few -- dozen -- liberties here for the sake of craft and entertainment.) Now Daphne must learn to control these powers, which are at war with the untrained Druid powers she's so far managed to ignore. If she does not, if these warring powers drive her insane as has been threatened, then it falls to one man, Tremayne, to stop her by whatever means necessary.

Who is Tremayne? He's a nature spirit with the wondrous ability to undo any kind of magic -- even warped puca/Druid powers like Daphne wields uncontrollably and involuntarily. He's also the one guy who can destroy Daphne, should it prove necessary, so he's been assigned to that duty. Never mind that he's been watching and wanting her for months now . . . Kinda makes for a rocky romance, don't you think?

But not a boring one, I hope.

So tell me. Would you want a fragment of Sarsen stone from a mysterious stone circle embedded in your home? Why or why not? Better yet, if that special cornerstone were to gift you with anything at all, what would you like best? A ghost? Mysterious papers? Exciting powers? A sexy shape-shifting puca with a curse on his head? Have you ever visited Avebury or Stonehenge or some other place that gave you that tickle-along-the-spine feeling? I'll be giving away a free book to a commenter on this post. Winner gets to choose a copy of either Pandora's Box or The Druid Made Me Do It. As I mentioned before, these are the two prequels for Between a Rock and a Heart Place. Thanks so much for participating and helping me celebrate my new release!

Natale's winner will be posted here on Tuesday evening.