Friday, April 30, 2010

Brenda Novak Online Diabetes Auction, May 1-31

Here are links to the things I donated (along with the other participants in the Paranormal Gift Basket) to Brenda's auction:

Also 3 critiques:

Get ready to bid!

Pikes Peak Writers Con: After-The-Con Update, Donald Maass & Kelley Armstrong

I'm going to the PPW Con in Colorado Springs this weekend. I've never attended before, mostly because there is usually another con that meets the same weekend, and I always went to that one. I'm very happy to be able to drive a couple of hours instead of flying across the country. If you come to the con, please stop me and say hello. (I always appreciate seeing friendly faces at cons because I get a little anxious in crowds!)
Got back late last night. I had a great time. I rarely say that about cons, because I am a very shy, introverted, introspective person and the crazy energy at large gatherings usually wipes me out. I think because PPWC is a moderate-size con, and the volunteers who organized it are friendly and helpful, I was able to relax and have fun. Without exception, everyone I met was nice. There wasn't the clique-y (how do you spell that?) tendency I find so often in regional cons. I'll definitely go again. The biggest surprise for me was literary agent Donald Maass. I will admit that I've harbored limited ideas about agents for a while now. Let's just say I had low expectations. Donald sat next to me at the book signing and he was warm and friendly. Kind. Supportive of all the authors near him at the table. His luncheon presentation was insightful and spot-on. He was delightfully unpretentious and funny. His workshop (and accompanying book) -- THE FIRE IN FICTION -- was excellent. He offered perceptive and intuitive questions for the writer-filled room. Anyway, I now have a new idea about how a literary agent can be. Maybe there's hope I can find one who gets me. I also enjoyed the presentations given by one of my favorite paranormal authors, Kelley Armstrong. Her advice on pacing and tension-building was extremely helpful. Her keynote speech about "the rules" -- and how to determine if they fit for you, or not -- was inspirational.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Guest Blogger: Gabi Stevens

The winner of Gabi's book is: Daria Drake. Congrats, Daria! Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Gabi. Thanks to everyone who participated.
What if?

How many times have you played the game “What if”? My favorite version: If you could choose a magical and or superpower, what would it be? My answers always varied depending on my age. I know which powers I wouldn’t want. I would hate to be able to read minds. I don’t want to know what people are actually thinking about me. I know, I know, there are situations where mind reading would be handy, but for me the negatives outweigh the positives.

I think the ability to fly would be cool. But I can’t imagine it would be easier to fly than say to jog. In my logic, I can’t believe powers would come without a cost. In fact in my book THE WISH LIST, all magic requires energy, and if a wizard overuses his powers he can harm himself. Flying would probably be as hard as running, and I’m not a big fan of exercise (I know it’s good for me and I do it, but I don’t enjoy it. It never has the effect on me that it’s supposed to. I’ve never felt energized by it.) Besides, it’s cold in the atmosphere, and I hate being cold.

Being invisible is another one. But there’s a sneakiness and underhandedness about being invisible that bothers me. It’s like eavesdropping. It’s rude. Sometimes manners do count. And I’ve always had the perception that people don’t see me anyway (Yeah, we writers are neurotic). I don’t need to aide that perception.

Super strength? That could be fun, but I’d be afraid I’d hurt someone. Stopping time? Interesting, but messing with time causes problems I’d rather not deal with (do I keep aging while the rest of the world stops?). Teleporting? Now that I like, but I’d bet I’d be on everyone’s watch list. Telling the future? No thanks. I’d rather be surprised. Transformation? OK, I confess, I’d like to be able to change in to a dolphin for a while and swim, but I’m sure I’m underestimating the dangers I’d face.

Let’s face it: I’m a chicken and a pessimist. No, I’m really not a pessimist. I believe in happy endings, that most people are good, that we do have a future, and that life is fun. The magic I want most in my life is the ability to tell a story. When I sit down at the computer or with a piece of paper (Yes, I do still write on paper occasionally) and the words flow and the story reveals itself, that’s what I call real magic. When a twist occurs that I hadn’t foreseen, even though I’m the author, that’s real magic. And when I’m holding my novel in my hands, a real book, that’s magic.

So tell me? If you could choose a magical and or superpower, what would it be?

Gabi Stevens’s latest book is THE WISH LIST. In it, she gives her characters the magic she doesn’t actually have herself. When Kristin Montgomery discovers her three aunts are fairy godmothers and she’s next in line for the job, her orderly world disappears like magic. No, not like magic; it is magic. Not only does she have to deal with burgeoning powers, she also encounters a surly arbiter, a sarcastic sprite, and a suave French sorcerer. And one of them is the bad guy. You can find it on line or at a bookstore near you. Visit Gabi’s web site at


Gabi will be giving away a copy of her book (and some fairy dust) to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you won.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Guest Blogger: Lynda K. Scott

The winner of Lynda's book is: Linda Andrews. Congratulations, Linda!
Eight Rules for Writing Paranormal Romance

1. No matter what you're writing, Characterization Is King. No one wants to read about ho-hum characters who dither and wander aimlessly. They must have a goal and you, the writer, must give them a real personality complete with strengths and weaknesses even if they’re covered with fur under the light of a full moon.

2. No story happens in a vacuum. There must be a setting appropriate to the story, the characters or, at a minimum, the underlying truth you’re trying to express. However, you must be careful to only include the interesting little tidbits of the world you’ve created that are pertinent to the plot/story. Likewise, you must include that one tiny tidbit that explains why your scaled and clawed hero character exists or you’ll leave your reader shaking her head.

3. A story doesn’t happen to nobody. Or to everybody. If you can take a character out and replace that character with another character, then you probably don't know enough about that first character. Keep digging. The lead characters must be unique and appropriate to the story.

4. Books are like out of body experiences for your audience. When you create the story and characters, you are giving readers a variety of sensory perceptions to pull them into the story or to create a sense of empathy between them and the characters. Don’t be stingy, give the reader everything you’ve got.

5. Paranormal material is interesting as long as it's relevant to the story. Don’t toss in a werewolf or dragon just to make the story a paranormal. Do yourself and your readers a favor and spend a little time thinking about the paranormal rules in your world.

6. Chances are somebody's already thought of it. In the world of paranormal romance, there are a lot of crazy, oddball ideas. That means the ones you come up with have a good chance they’ve been used already. Accept this, and understand that it is your unique take on that concept that will freshen it and keep it relevant. There have been a million werewolf or vampire stories already told, but they haven't been done your way, and that's what makes it interesting.

7. For the romance - Never shut down the playground. Your imagination must always be at work on some level. Romance is not about following a recipe, it is about emotions. About bringing those emotions to the front and showing them in a new way.

8. Expect some explosions or deadfalls. Paranormal Romance fiction is about winging it, sometimes. About trying new things and doing odd things to familiar ideas. Some of those odd things will make those familiar ideas act awkward, feel vulnerable, and not want to call you the next morning. But that’s okay. If you're not risking something, then you're not in the running for the big payoffs, either.

Since Heartstone isn't available yet, I'd like to offer one of your readers a copy of Wild Blue Under by Judi Fennell. To enter the drawing, please leave a comment here AND send me an email (lyndak.scott @ no spaces) with Wild Blue in the subject line and your address in the body. You have until Wednesday to email me. That evening I'll put all the names in a box and have my fluffy buddy, Wookie, pull the winning name. Oh, you can see a picture of Wookie on my myspace site :-)

To join my newsletter and learn more about me and my books (and be eligible to enter more drawings), send a blank email to:

My Website: (under construction at this moment)

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction, May 1-31

Here are links to the things I donated (along with the other participants in the Paranormal Gift Basket) to Brenda's auction:

Also 3 critiques:

Get ready to bid!


Thanks to the marvelous Beth Hayden, teacher of all things Social Networking (, I am sticking yet another toe into the Twitter pond. I initially opened my account a couple of years ago. But, since I couldn't figure out what the HECK Twitter was about, I didn't do anything. I had a session with Beth today and am ready to boldly go, etc., etc. So, if you are a Twitter person, and you think we might have some interests in common, let's follow each other! Here's my Twitter address:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wonderful Article by Author Jenny Crusie

This is a great article -- A Writer Without a Publisher is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle: Writers Liberation and You\ke-a-fish-without-a-bicycle-writers-liberation-and-you/

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Guest Blogger: Laura Bickle

The winner of Laura's book is: Cherie J! Congrats, Cherie! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Laura. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Elemental Familiars

The ancient Greeks theorized that the world was composed of four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. They developed the idea that each element was tied to a corresponding set of nature spirits called daemons. Socrates himself was said to have been inspired by such a guardian daemon, who he spoke to for much of his adult life. Plato notes:

"For after death, as they say the daemon of each individual, to whom he belonged in life, leads him to a certain place in which the dead are gathered together, whence after judgment has been given they pass into the world below, following the guide, who is appointed to conduct them from this world to the other: and when they have received their due and remained their time, another guide brings them back again after many revolutions of ages." (Phaedo 107d)

Centuries later, the alchemist Paracelsus classified elemental spirits into four categories:

-Undines, corresponding to the element of water. Ancient philosophers believed that every body of water, even every fountain, had its own undine. As water was considered to be the element of the emotions, they were nearly always described as female nymph-like creatures or mermaids.

-Sylphs, avatars of the element of air, were associated with the intellect and ideas. They were often described as what modern storytellers would think of as fairies or angels.

-Gnomes, tied to the element of earth. These were variously described as elf-like beings, dryads, and satyrs. They were concerned with pragmatic matters, with the woods and wealth of the harvest.

-Salamanders, corresponding to the element of fire. Salamanders were considered to be the most unpredictable and destructive of the elementals, tied to the fires of creation. Philosophers suggested that the salamander took the shape of the familiar amphibian…probably because salamanders that dwelled in felled logs came crawling out when the logs were burned. Pliny the Elder described the salamander as: “an animal like a lizard in shape and with a body starred all over” (The Natural History).

In developing EMBERS, I was fascinated by the idea of a salamander familiar. My heroine, Anya, is an arson investigator and a medium searching for a serial arsonist in Detroit. Like the guardian daemons of Plato’s era, Sparky the salamander defends Anya from malicious spirits – when he’s not chewing on her cell phone or shorting out the microwave. I wanted to capture a bit of the wildness of the classical salamander into his behavior.

Overall, I found the idea of a human-elemental partnership intriguing. Since the time of Socrates conversing with his daemon, the idea of an elemental familiar has persisted. I suspect that ancient and modern peoples have all yearned for a bit of the same thing: a connection with nature. It’s no wonder that, in an increasingly urbanized and mechanized society, there’s a visceral desire to bond with something as primal and ancient as the four elements.
Laura will give away a copy of her book to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you won.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kindle and Smashwords Versions

UNDEAD IN THE CITY, a novella I originally sold to Loose Id under my pen name (and got the rights back for), is now available in Kindle and other e-book versions (along with THE VAMPIRE SHRINK and DARK HARVEST). You can go to either or and search for my name. UNDEAD is an erotic paranormal romance.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Guest Blogger: Linda Andrews

The winner of Linda's book is: Vijaya Schartz. Congratulations, Vijaya! Send me your contact information and I'll pass it along to Linda. Thanks to everyone who participated.
To Believe or not to believe? That is the question.

Shamelessly rephrasing Shakespheare aside, I am referring to ghosts and the belief in whether or not they exist. Certainly believing is seeing, even when there's nothing to see. Studies have shown that the mere idea of a haunting makes people more susceptible to encountering spooks and phantoms. The common term of the phenomenon is mass hysteria and like fear and sneezing it is contagious.

But what about the other group, the nonbelievers? Is believing seeing? Nope. But it may nudge them in the direction of belief or at least shake their non beliefs.

Case in point: My sister, her husband and their son went to Scotland to visit a notorious haunted castle. My sister and her son are open to the idea of ghosts, her husband humors her.

The afternoon was waning by the time the tour started. Long shadows added to the spooky atmosphere and there was a palpable expectation, a breathless anticipation of an encounter to come. In one windowless room, the tour stopped and the guide told of the tragedies that unfolded. Voices from the group behind them echoed in the cavernous room but after a while, my sister and her family were able to ignore the murmurs and focus on the story.

It was then my sister and her son noticed the shadows on the rugs. More silhouettes than could be cast by the small tour. Some vanished while others appeared, yet the people stood still. When they moved on, my sister mentioned it to her husband. "A trick of the light," he assured her.

Cold spots aside (it is a drafty, old castle), the tour ended with no other supernatural phenomenon. A little disappointed, my sister and her family prepared to leave. As they thanked their guide, her husband quipped that perhaps they should space the groups further apart because the talking from the tour behind them had been so loud that he had a hard time enjoying the retelling of history of the place.

With a start, the guide told them that their group had been the last one of the day. There had been no one behind them.

Did my brother-in-law change his beliefs? Nope. He's certain there's a rational (read non-spectral) explanation, but, maybe, just maybe...

In Ghost of a Chance, the hero Everett Grey is of the same rationale. A no nonsense former Union spy, he knows there's always a human culprit behind every bit of mischief. But doubts undermine his certainty when he hires Brighid Garvey as a wet nurse. Brighid knows the living and the restless spirits of the dead coexist, the constant presence of her Gran's spirit won't let her forget it.

And Gran is going to make certain Everett learns that death doesn't stop some folks from protecting their loved ones.

Ye be thinking of her, right, boy-o?

The faint words swept over his ear. White flashed in the plate glass window. Fear pricked his flesh, straightening the hair in his follicles and bubbling under his skin. He whipped about. A woman appeared, as substantial as the tulle in a bride’s headdress. He blinked, and she disappeared.

Everett sprinted to the corner. No woman in white strolled down the avenue. Had she vanished into the ether? White blobs danced on his lids as he rubbed his eyes.

“Steady on. Don’t give anyone a reason to toss you into an asylum.” He returned to the window. No white shadow floated next to him. He smoothed his tie flat, reassured by the pressure of his fingers against his collarbone. Wool scratched the pads of his fingers as he pinched the edge of his jacket and jerked it flat.

His Adam’s apple throbbed. Everett glanced at his neck. His tie tilted. A woman’s laughter, carried by the cool breeze, trilled in his ear. He straightened the tie and swallowed a few times for good measure. The tie bobbed but did not tilt.

The excerpt is just one of many encounters that convince Everett of a world beyond the veil. What about you? Was there any one incident that made you believe in ghosts?
Linda will give away a copy of her book to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you won.