Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Snips & Clips: The End of February as We Know It

Can you believe that February is over? It feels like the new year just started and here we are trudging into March! Not to mention this has been the winter where it snowed and snowed and snowed – it even snowed here in Texas three times, once with enough that they shut schools down. While Northern and Midwest states may be used to that, in Texas – not so much.

March is going to be a busy month here at the Daily Dose, I have a manuscript to finish writing and a host of YA authors coming to play for Spring Break! So be sure to check back regularly as the Daily Dose does Spring Break Young Adult style.

Young Adult Giveaway

Speaking of Young Adult, on Valentine's Day, the Daily Dose was proud to feature the article Young Adult Authors Say Many Lessons Learned From Love and Literature. If you missed out on this, I urge you to check out the fabulous authors of the Class of 2k10 and the wonderful books that are coming out this year.

Shannon Delany sweetened the article with a fantastic giveaway including a 13 TO LIFE pin (shiny!), some tasty chocolate and a copy of Rachel Hawthorne's trade paperback MOONLIGHT. That winner was chosen today from a random drawing of the commentators and the lucky winner is Dani! Look out for an email from Shannon or myself, Dani! And congratulations.

Saturday Smackdown Winner
Despite my best intentions yesterday, the Saturday Smackdown didn't happen. I spent most of the day with many wonderful authors at an author/tea event in Hurst, Texas. It was quite fun to sit there and visit with readers and introduce them to Prime Evil, Remembering Ashby and more. Hanging out with Nikki Duncan and Shayla Black was just a bonus! In the meanwhile, for those of you waiting to see who won last week's Saturday Smackdown, we have: K.F. Zuzulo for the iTunes gift card! Way to go Kellyann! And with just a few votes (seriously, I thought Michael Westen and Christopher Chance would have a few more votes), the win goes to burned spy Michael Westen!

Legend of the Seeker

The second season of the Legend of the Seeker continues to entertain with a series of episodes surrounding our heroes desperate attempt to stay together and find a way to defeat the Keeper. The most interesting, of course, was Richard's journey to the old world where he was to train as a wizard. If he remained with the Sisters of Light, he would have been locked away for decades and beyond wanting to complete his mission, Richard could not bear to abandon Kahlan for that long. Either way, I am still loving this wonderful show.



The Doomsday Brethren
I picked up the first book in this series by Shayla Black. If you haven't checked out the The Doomsday Brethren, I would highly recommend Tempt Me with Darkness to get you started. I am about halfway through this book and it's great fun to read!



March Winds
Okay, I know we're just short and sweet today, but hang in there, March is coming in with a lion tomorrow! Have a great day!



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Speculative Fiction and Romance with Bianca D'Arc

Greetings to those of you in blogland. I’m Bianca D’Arc and I write all kinds of speculative romance from fantasy and sci fi romance to military paranormals in varying shades of super naughty to nice. Some of you might know my Dragon Knights epic fantasy erotic romance series or maybe my Resonance Mates futuristic erotic romance. Or maybe you’ve seen some of my vampire or werewolf novels around. Recently I’ve branched out into a new area that’s not quite horror, but it does feature zombies quite prominently.

One might think zombies and romance are mutually exclusive but I beg to differ. My newest series of books, which happen to be my first books for Kensington’s Brava line feature zombies and are most definitely romances. The heroes are all military men with heroines of various professions. They all share in the battle to contain a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong.

The series will consist of two novellas and three novels. The first novella was released in an anthology called Half Past Deadin January. The first novel is called Once Bitten, Twice Deadand will be hitting stores in early March.

The second novella will be included in a Halloween anthology called The Beast Within, which will also feature stories by Erin McCarthy and one other author. The second full-length novel will be released in November 2010 and is titled A Darker Shade of Dead. The third novel will be out sometime in 2011 but I haven’t come up with a title for it yet.

Now, you may be wondering – why zombies? To be brutally honest, it wasn’t really my idea. I swear! It was one of those things where an opportunity arose but the story had to be about “zombies.” That’s what the editor said. I was a little taken aback, I will admit, but after a few moments of thought, I figured a way to do it. There were no other limitations other than there had to be zombies, so except for that slight wrinkle, I was free to create any world or circumstances I wanted, which was great.

I figured I could go two ways with zombies – either the legendary voodoo type zombies or some kind of science-experiment-gone-wrong type zombies. I opted for the slightly campy science-experiment type zombie because I have a science background and I like to get that into my writing when I can. I also really love writing military heroes. Those tough Alpha males are fun to write! But I didn’t want the heroine to be forever in the hero’s immense shadow. I wanted to write modern women who were capable and bright – and able to fight the zombies alongside their men. I hope I’ve achieved that balance and I hope you’ll enjoy the cast of characters I’ve developed for this series.

In other news, I also have a lot of print releases from Samhain Publishing this year. Just this month, an anthology of three of my vampire novellas released called Brotherhood of Blood. These three stories form the foundation for my vampire world, which continues in other books that are already available. Due to some small press publisher growing pains, they had to be reissued when their original publisher went out of business. I enjoyed reworking the stories – making them longer and better, in my opinion – before they were reissued by Samhain.

A follow-up to these three stories is the novel Inferno (Tales of the Were), which will be released in print on April 1st. It is a crossover story that mates an ancient vampire with a lone werewolf girl who’s been sent to spy on him by his enemies. Add a fey knight in the mix and you have a recipe for some scorching hot romance and adventure as a rogue mage lobs hellfire at every turn.

Other print releases this year include the fourth book in my super-hot ménage sci fi romance series called Grady's Awakening (Resonance Mates) on June 1st and later in the year, DRAGON STORM will come out in print. I think it’s slated for a September release. Unlike my other dragon stories, this one is a dimension-travel story that brings two shapeshifting dragon princes into our world for a while. I had a little fun with them, putting them on an airplane and toying with their perceptions of our modern world for some moments of humor along with a lot of adventure.

Here’s a little heads up for those of you with Sony eReaders – from March 1st to March 4th, they are supposed to be offering FREE downloads of HALF PAST DEAD to coincide with the release of ONCE BITTEN, TWICE DEAD. Nice, huh? Make sure you mark your calendars and get your free download when it becomes available!

In the meantime, I’d like to thank Heather for inviting me here today. And thanks to all of you for taking time to read about my books – especially my new military romances with zombies. Happy reading!



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Elements of a Fairy Tale

A fairy tale begins with the proposition of romance. Whether the characters are a prince and a princess, a chef and a frog or a pair of naval aviators, each needs the other to save them. While fairy tales do not always emphasize the role each plays in saving the other, the couple in question is a potential savior and lover for each other.

For example, in the classic fairy tales of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, the princes are saved by their love and attraction to the princesses in question. Cinderella's prince faced a loveless match, a marriage forced on him by his father out of duty. He had no interest in the women he was presented with until he met her. If she had not dared to dream and go to the ball, he would never have had this opportunity. Even in the Disney version, it is her preservation of the other slipper that saves the day and lets the two be together.

Beauty and the Beast is another great example of redemption because the Prince who became the Beast did so because he was selfish, arrogant and without compassion. It took the compassion, open-minded acceptance and real love from Belle to free him from his curse. The most powerful element of a fairy tale is the ability to see beyond the surface to the person beneath, to express that depth of observation and feeling and to be open to the changes it brings.

Erotic Fairy Tales
When you turn the tables on a fairy tale and treat it more erotically such as was done in The Sleeping Beauty Novels: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty / Beauty's Release / Beauty's Punishment written by Anne Rice under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure, the traditional fairy tale is twisted with sexual fantasy. Yet, even in these tales of erotic delight, it is the guileless wonder of the heroine that eventually saves the ones she loves and empowers her.

Erotica allows readers to explore potential fantasies with strong, powerful characters that take control of their own destinies. While Beauty may have seemed like a victim in The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, she was anything but at the end of her experiences. She embraced her power as a sexual being and wielded it both gently, yet forcefully. While Anne Rice took us far beyond the origins of this fairy tale, she did it with both grace and panache for the story of a Princess, who though saved by a Prince, saved him and others.

Kiss the Girl, Save the Guy

You cannot have a fairy tale with one weak character and one strong character. You cannot have the Penelope Pitstop heroine that is always saved by her prince. As a woman, I have a hard time rooting for another woman who does nothing to save herself. As a mother, I have a hard time endorsing a story that encourages my daughter to be weak. As a writer, I have a hard time writing a character that cannot at least try to be proactive in her life.

Powerful female leads are very alluring in fiction, I want to read about them, I want to root for them and yes, sometimes, I even want them to be saved. Think about the relationship between Rick Castle and Kate Beckett on ABC's Castle. Beckett is a strong, self-assured and extremely capable woman. She is self-possessed and more than capable of saving herself. Earlier this season, she went to Castle and asked him for help in figuring out who killed her mother. This was a wonderfully moving scene because we know how strong Beckett is, but even strong people need help sometimes and it was made all the stronger by her trust and faith in Castle. Their relationship has evolved from writer and cop to partners to friends. They both bring to the table a powerful personality and the capability of caring for others as well as for looking after themselves. Not that it isn't great fun when Beckett has to save Castle (such as when she strutted her way into the gambling house at the beginning of the season), but they work because there is balance.

The elements of a fairy tale begin with a once upon a time and end on a happily ever after, but without the balance and the strength in between, it's just a flimsy story with pretty pictures.

What fairy tale elements do you enjoy in fiction, movies or television?


Monday, February 22, 2010

Heart-to-Heart: Sylvia Shults

Today's Heart-to-Heart with Sylvia Shults brings to a close a fantastic month of authors who participated in the 28 Days of the Heart at All Romance eBooks. If you haven't had a chance to check out these fantastic authors and their tremendously romantic and charming works, I encourage you to head right over to ARe and start picking up copies, not only will you get a great read, you'll be contributing to a fantastic cause.

Today's guest is Sylvia Shults, author of A Slightly Different Perfect.

A Slightly Different Perfect
Even immortals need a vacation now and then…

When Trisha Gillespie, mousy fifth-grade teacher, is chosen to take Aphrodite's place on Mount Olympus, she thinks she is up to the task. Who wouldn’t want to be the goddess of love, beauty, and physical perfection? But then she does the unthinkable and falls for a mortal. Will the new goddess accept her fate knowing she’ll have to leaving love behind?

Heart-to-Heart with Sylvia Shults



Share a little about why you chose to participate.
First of all, I love mythology. And what better way to celebrate the heart and all its mysteries than writing about Aphrodite, the goddess of Love? “A Slightly Different Perfect” is my … well, I guess you could say it’s my offering to Aphrodite.

I also have a reason for participating that’s a little less frivolous. See, my mom had a heart attack a few years ago, and had to have a stent put in. She has slowed down a little after that, and it pains me to know that there are things she just can’t do as well as she used to. Submitting this story for the American Heart Association 28 Days of Heart fundraiser was just my way of trying to give something back to her, and to all the people living with heart disease.

What do you enjoy reading? Who are your five favorite authors?
I read voraciously and omnivorously. I’d rather read than do just about anything else, honestly. When it comes to romance, I love reading humorous stories. It’s got to be funny – none of these serious Harlequins or Regency romances for me. The goofier, the better, and it helps to have a supernatural angle too. When I first started writing my own romantic stories, I consulted a friend who worked with me at the library. I knew she read romance, and I asked her to direct me to some good, funny authors. That’s when I discovered that I like reading humorous romance about as much as I like writing it!

I absolutely adore Karen Harper and her “Nice Girls Don’t” series. She has so many nutty characters in her books, and they all contribute so much color to the story. I also really dig Mary Janice Davidson’s “Undead” series. Mindy Klasky rocks out loud. I’m thoroughly addicted to Kimberly Raye’s “Dead End Dating” series. I have to read them when I’m by myself, because otherwise I snort and embarrass myself. And I do have a soft spot for Katie MacAlister, because she’s the first author my friend suggested to me.

What type of movies make you cry? When was the last time you cried in a movie?
Anything involving sacrifice. I figured that out pretty darned quickly. The first time I cried in a movie was at the end of Terminator 2, when the Terminator realizes that he has to step into the vat of boiling metal and melt himself down too. (Yeah, okay, I’m weird.) And Titanic? Only every. Single. Time. Avatar, Up, the list goes on. The last time I cried was during the Season 5 finale of Lost. The part where Juliet … oh crap, there might be people who haven’t seen it yet. Anyways, when Juliet and Sawyer are in the jungle trying to decide whether to let Jack explode the bomb or not? I was holding it together pretty well until Juliet said, “If I never meet you, I’ll never have to lose you.” Sniff … sniff … BAAWWWLLLLLL!!!!


What is the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?
For my husband’s birthday a couple of years ago, I hired a Chinese lady to come in and … good lord, people, get your minds out of the gutter! Sheesh! My husband LOVES tea, and at this health fair in the fall, I met this lady who gives tea demonstrations. She comes to your house and sets up this gorgeous tea service, and tells about the different kinds of tea, and passes around samples of perfectly brewed Oriental tea. We always get together at our friends’ house on the weekend, so I invited a bunch of friends to come over for this, and didn’t tell my husband about it. He thought it was just one of our regular get-togethers, and he had no clue anything special was going on until this lady showed up with her presentation. Yeah, he was surprised. And pleased. He said it was the best birthday he’d ever had. I think it was his 36th – not even one of the biggies.

Describe a moment that really tugged at your heart.
Well! Every once in a while, my husband surprises me with something sweet and poetic, something just completely out of the blue. Years ago, when we were still dating, he did something sweet for me – I can’t even remember what it was now, maybe he got me a cup of tea without being asked or something like that. I said, “You treat me better than anyone ever has.”
He looked at me with those gunmetal-gray eyes and said, “I want to treat you better than anyone ever will.”

I melted. Right there on the kitchen floor. Swoon!

Another incident really sticks out in my mind. Quite often he’ll stay up later than I like to, so I’ll go to bed and he’ll tuck me in, then go about his evening. That’s sweet on its own, but he really floored me with what he said once. We’d been married for, oh, about four years or so. He came in to tuck me in, and he pulled the covers up, snuggled them up to my neck, and made sure my ear was covered, “because I know you like that”. I’ve been in relationships before him. I’ve even lived with someone else before him. But nobody – NOBODY – that I had ever slept with – in either sense of the word – had ever picked up on the fact that I have to have my ear covered in order to sleep comfortably.

And THAT’S why I love him so.

About Sylvia Shults

"Sylvia Shults is the princess of darkness, a mistress of malevolent miracles...and her lean, mean prose will keep your nightlight on well past your bedtime. Highly recommended." -- Jay Bonansinga, national bestselling author of FROZEN, TWISTED, and THE SINKING OF THE EASTLAND

"TIMELESS EMBRACE encompasses all the great human reactions and emotions: laughter, amazement, lust, tears, joy, surprise, and the best, love. You couldn't ask for a better story..." -- Xeranthemum, Whipped Cream,

Learn more about Sylvia Shults at her website.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

A KILLING CUPID Valentine

Sometimes a story just comes to us. Maybe we watch a TV show or have a dream or someone says something that spurs an idea. My book SOUNDS TO DIE BY was spurred into life by two sentences spoken in a conversation. Other times we have to work hard at creating a story, including building the characters from scratch. This has been the case with my current WIP – EMPATHIC ECHOES. With A KILLING CUPID it was different again. I wanted to give readers something to stay in touch with my FBI guys between releases, and the chance came up to do a Valentine’s theme. It could be about anything we wanted, but we had to have a Valentine theme in there somewhere.

Now, my critique partners and people who’ve plotted with me before know that it’s pretty much impossible for me to do a simple plot. I just can’t do it. Apparently not even in a 3,000 word short story. LOL

In this case, the title came to me almost immediately. A KILLING CUPID had it all for me. It’s suspenseful, has Valentine’s day in it, and it hints at romance. As for the story itself, I knew I wanted to take this chance to get to know Aidan and Lana a little better, but their relationship isn’t one where they would be dating. I mean, he’s FBI working in the Specialized Crimes Unit and she’s a reporter looking for award winning stories. These aren’t two people who would team up, so of course I teamed them up.

A serial killer is tracking high-profile, professional women in Miami. He’s killed one woman every night leading up to Valentine’s Day. If the Feds are right, they have to catch him fast or he’ll be free to repeat his pattern next year. Assuming he only has this one pattern. Of course Lana, the Lois Lane of reporters, steps in to act as bait. The trouble is Aidan. He doesn’t trust reporters, but more he doesn’t want to see Lana in danger. Even if he doesn’t admit it to himself. And the great surprise for me was that this story kicked off the ideas for the full story that will belong to Aidan and Lana. 

When Heather read this story she told me it reminded her of the 2-minute mysteries she used to read as a kid. Now, I don’t remember those stories, but I have the memory of a gnat at times so that doesn’t mean a whole lot. LOL I would love to hear what you think though, so please check it out and email me, or come back here and chat about it. It’s free! There’s no reason not to check it out.



Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Smackdown: Human Target versus Burned Spy

Good morning and welcome to Saturday! It's been a couple of weeks since our last smackdown (we celebrated Valentine's Day last weekend), so I have a copy of Nikki Duncan's Sounds to Die By to give away (winner announced at the bottom) and a new prize for this week: a $10 gift card to iTunes. To enter, just comment on our smackdown with your personal pick! Comment! Comment! Comment! Winner to be announced next week!

Human Target versus Burned Spy

On the USA Network's Burn Notice, Michael Westen is a former covert operative who finds out he's been burned while on a mission in Nigeria. Michael ends up back in Florida, flagged on every list known to man. He has no assets and a personal mission to discover who burned him and why. In the meanwhile, Michael helps underdogs who are being persecuted by gangs, drug runners, corporations and more.

On Fox's new series The Human Target Christopher Chance takes on impossible missions to protect people from threats known and unknown. He is a highly trained operative, with advanced combat skills and a serious lack of fear in facing down guns, bombs, speeding trains and inaccessible buildings.


Working with their Teams

On Burn Notice Michael works with his on-again, off-again lover, the trigger-happy Fiona and ex-army intelligence officer Sam. Sam also happens to be working for the FBI and keeping an 'eye' on Michael. The threesome makes a formidable team.

Christopher Chance is The Human Target but he receives technical support and backup from his partner Winston. Guerrero, who brings a special set of skills and talents of his own to the table, often joins the pair. Due to Chance's specialized work, Guerrero and Winston have to act as his lifeline and backup, particularly when Chance's primary concern is keeping the client alive and identifying the threat to the client.

Special Ops

While Michael Westen's special ops training is made clear from the beginning, Christopher Chance's origins are a great deal more secretive. Chance is highly skilled and trained. He has experience in many different, wildly impossible situations. He has also gone to great lengths to scrub his own history. His fingerprints turn up as a John Doe in the system. In a recent episode, however, it was revealed that someone flagged his image and bounced it off several satellites – a technique Chance learned from the man who trained him.

Enemies

The man who trained Chance and the elements that burned Michael are definitely the big bads in these men's lives. The people they help come with their own baggage and enemies, but both Chance and Michael are more than capable of dealing with the riff-raff that comes their way. Michael has faced more imminent threats, including several assassination attempts.

Both men are terrifically resourceful and formidable in their own rights. If it were to come to a smackdown, one on one between them, it could go either way in my opinion. We have had several seasons to support Michael and be on his side and only a handful of episodes with Chance (though I am rooting for a lot more).

The Human Target airs on the FOX Network, Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern. Burn Notice airs on the USA Network, Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern. If you haven't seen either show, I would encourage you to check them out. Both are available on iTunes for download and early seasons of Burn Notice are also available on DVD.

Speaking of availability, if you haven't checked out Candy Haven's Take Me If You Dare, you should pick up your copy soon. We're also giving away an autographed copy to one lucky commentator if you check out Candy's Spotlight On from earlier this month.

Sounds to Die By Winner

Two weeks ago, I challenged you to choose sexy brothers in a smackdown and offered up a copy of Nikki Duncan's delightful Sounds to Die By as a prize. Our winner is PamK! Pam please drop me a message with your email address where you would like to receive your eBook! Congratulations!

Choose This Week's Smackdown Winner

This week's smackdown is officially open. You choose who wins: is it Christopher Chance or Michael Westen? The prize for one lucky commentator is a $10 gift card to iTunes. To enter, just comment on our smackdown with your personal pick! Comment! Comment! Comment! Winner to be announced next week!

By the way, if you enjoy the Daily Dose but don't get to stop by often, you can now subscribe via email. Just check out the form in the upper left!




Friday, February 19, 2010

Heart-to-Heart: Leigh Ellwood

We're winding down our 28 Days of the Heart here at the Daily Dose and if you missed any of our earlier Heart-to-Hearts, I encourage you to check those blogs out. I've been privileged to host some of the best authors I've read. So don't miss out! Today, we welcome Leigh Ellwood. You'll enjoy her, I did!

Leigh Ellwood

Hello, and thank you for having me here today. I am Leigh Ellwood, author of erotica, romance, and mystery, and I am happy to be a guest promoting my title with the ARe 28 Days of Heart. My short, GPS, is a m/m romantic comedy with a touch of the fantastic. What's it about? Well, let me tell you!

GPS
When Cale Durbin receives a GPS system for his birthday, he tests it out on the drive to meet a blind date. The blasted device gets him lost, but Cale doesn't mind so much when he ends up at the door of a hunk named Mike who shares many of his interests.

After the date fails, Cale discovers the GPS possesses a unique feature—it leads him right to Mike again! Can true happiness be found through a global positioning device, or is Cale headed in the wrong direction?

GPS is out February 21. Pick it up and help heart awareness.

Heart-to-Heart
Now for my amazing interview answers, which I hope will give you some insight into my strange little mind.

What type of movies make you cry? When was the last time you cried in a movie?
I believe I am a born bawler - where movies are concerned I'll cry at the drop of a hat. Particularly if the movie has a truly heart-tugging ending, like in The Color Purple, I'm bawling. I think the last time I cried at the movies, however, was the last Lord of the Rings film right at the ending. I won't give it away if you haven't seen it yet.

If could live in any century previous to the 20th, what century would it be and why?
I've always been fascinated by the British monarchy, so I'd probably choose Tudor England or the Victorian era, perhaps the latter to really get a feel for the time "steampunk" stories are set. I have a feeling, given the rough religious climate of the Tudor days, I wouldn't last long there. ;-)

Share a little about why you chose to participate in 28 Days of the Heart.
I am somewhat a charitable soul. As executive editor of Phaze Books, I greenlighted a number of charity anthologies for publication, and I have supported various charities for breast cancer research and homelessness. The AHA campaign of 28 Days struck me because heart disease runs in my family. I lost both grandfathers to heart attacks, and my father's line has a history of the men dying young because of heart problems. In writing GPS, I feel I'm doing my part to help.


What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your stories?
It surprises me to learn how weird of a sense of humor I actually have! People have remarked on it before, but sometimes I'll go back and read some of my work and think, "Where did I get THAT?"

Are your characters inspired by real people or events?

Sometimes.

The stories in my Dareville series have their roots in various true events, and I find people I admire from afar tend to inspire characters and dialogue. Often, too, I get ideas from what I record in my dream journal. The mind is an incredible tool.

What do you enjoy reading? Can you name your five favorite authors?
Believe it or not, I'm a mystery lover. I have roots in mystery, and I'm working on a new one. I love love love Dick Francis, read just about everything he's done; also, Carl Hiaasen and James Ellroy for their dark humor, Agatha Christie for the classics, and Sue Grafton.


Discover more about the fantastic Leigh Ellwood via her website. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Heart-to-Heart: Cornelia Amiri

My name is Cornelia Amiri. I write Celtic/Romances about long swords, hot heroes, and warrior women. My 28 Days of Heart story, Timeless Voyage, is set in 1st century AD Ireland. It’s a tale of a love so strong it’s not bound by the limits of time.

What type of movies make you cry? When was the last time you cried in a movie?
Movies that make me cry focus on a relationship with characters and events that are strong and believable to me. I feel what the characters feel so when they laugh, I laugh, and when they cry, I cry. The last movie I cried at was Away We Go. It’s great.



If could live in any century previous to the 20th, what century would it be and why?
First century AD, the Iron Age era, in Wales, Ireland or Scotland. It is my favorite historical time and place. I write about it quite a lot. It’s the time period that Timeless Voyage is set in.

Share a little about why you chose to participate in 28 Days of the Heart.
I was thrilled to submit a story to help the AHA as I have been struggling with weight and high blood pressure since my mid-forties. I am personally grateful to the American Heart Associations’ commitment to encourage me and others to realize the importance of heart-healthy habits such as eating better and getting more exercise. The AHA also funds research for advances in curing heart disease, which is the number one killer of women in the U.S. The AHA really does save lives everyday.

Are your characters inspired by real people or events?
Some of my characters are completely made up, some are real historical characters, some are fiction but based on people I know, I draw from the character qualities of friends and sometimes the personality traits of my bad guys are from people who really made me mad.

Reading romance reduces stress and can help relax you from your worries. Do you feel that writing romance helps you cope with your own worries and stress?
I believe when you write or engage in any creative activity your draw the creativity from you soul, you connect with what’s deep down inside you. I find that very relaxing and also it grounds me. I think creating conflict for the characters and having them resolve it for the happy ever after helps me deal with my own worries and conflicts that life creates. Also in writing I visit the places and people that I create and it gives my mind a mini vacation, it takes me away from my real life, and I hope my stories do the same for my readers.

Timeless Voyage
Off the mist-shrouded coast of Ireland, a pagan lady-pirate, Anwen, captures the enemy, a Roman, Titus Rufius Kaeso. The Celtic warrior woman presses her hard iron dagger against Kaeso’s throat, but her arm does not obey the will to slay him. From time out of mind, memories of fated lovers, druids, and sacrifice, stay her hand. Kaeso is also captivated by dreams of the woman he loved in a previous life, the mirror image of Anwen. But in this lifetime they are foes, Roman and Celt. Can Anwen and Kaeso steer their timeless voyage to a happy destiny or will they be robbed of love once more?

Keep Up with Cornelia

My Celtic/Comedy/Paranormal/Romance, A Fine Cauldron of Fish is also available at All Romance Ebooks. My other Celtic/Paranormal/Romance books Queen of Kings, Druid Quest, Vixen Princess, The Fox Prince, Danger Is Sweet, and One Heart One Way are available at Amazon, Fictionwise, and Barnes and Nobles online.

Keep up with Cornelia Amiri at her website




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Heart-to-Heart: Barbara Hancock

As our Heart-to-Heart with the 28 Days of the Heart authors continues this month, we welcome Barbara Hancock. One of the best parts of this tour has been getting to know some really terrific authors, every one of these ladies has offered some insightful glimpses into the mind of the writer while tantalizing readers with their tales.

Barbara Hancock

With A Shadow's Kiss I decided to lean a little gothic and I enjoyed every minute of it! There's just something about a dark and dangerous hero, a mysterious haunted abbey surrounded by the chilly moors of Northern England and a doomed heroine who is in great danger, but won't give up on her hope of one day being free to walk in the sun.

Before I was born, I lost my grandmother to a heart attack. I've seen my mother battle with her own heart problems my whole life. It was only natural for me to want to participate in the 28 Days of Heart. Being able to do what I love and at the same time champion a worthy cause like The American Heart Association is gratifying to the extreme.

Describe a moment that really tugged at your heart.

Welcoming my husband back from the war in Iraq was the most amazing experience of my life. There's no measuring the joy and excitement we all felt that day. In "A Shadow's Kiss", I drew on that experience when I created Malcolm Hayes, a man who is just beginning to learn to live his normal life after war when a vampire attack leaves him changed in a profound and deadly way. But, like my husband, Malcolm is a hero who isn't about to give up without a fight.

What type of movies make you cry? When was the last time you cried in a movie?

Emotional movies make me cry, but it doesn't have to be the emotion of sadness. Avatar made me bawl like a baby...even in the most exhilarating parts...because it was just so moving and beautiful. Any movie that fills my heart is bound to make tears leak--or pour--from my eyes!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your stories?

When I began writing I was surprised by the depth of emotion and the darkness that would come out of me onto the page. I have a friend who calls what I write "the hardest edged sweet romance I've ever read". As the daughter of alcoholic, I carry dark memories in my heart, but as the happy wife of a real-life hero, I also carry happily ever after there as well. I pair the two emotions when I write and apparently it works!

What do you enjoy reading? Can you name your five favorite authors?

I read a little bit of everything. I love hot romance, cold chills, larger-than-life heroes, kick-ass heroines and humor. On my keeper shelf and stored on my Kindle, you'll find Kresley Cole, Dean R. Koontz, Johanna Lindsay, Laurell K. Hamiltion and Jane Austen...among many, many others. It hurts me to list only five!

Reading romance reduces stress and can help relax you from your worries. Do you feel that writing romance helps you cope with your own worries and stress?

Absolutely! I am a much happier person now that I've given myself permission to embrace this impractical, crazy career. For one thing, I'm borderline obsessive compulsive. It's good for me to have words to worry with because it keeps me too busy to worry about things I can't control!


Bio
As the daughter of an alcoholic, Barbara learned at a young age to turn to fictional worlds for escape. She especially loved fantasy, romance and science fiction. When she decided to write, it was natural that she should combine her early loves. Barbara has a special affinity for characters who live in the shadows but refuse to be defined by the darkness that surrounds them. She loves exploring deep emotions, bringing impossible happily ever afters to life on the page… and Glacier Mint ice cream. If you'd like to learn more about Barbara and her books, you can visit her at her website.

Blurb
Can their love overcome a legacy of evil…

Anna Benecia can't escape her destiny. A promise signed in blood binds a Shadow for eternity even if the one bound longs to live in the sunny here and now.

Malcolm Hayes is the new host for the hunger of an evil spirit who has walked the earth for a thousand years. The Darkhaven shade must have the blood of innocents fed upon by the vampires he creates and controls in order to remain manifest. Freshly possessed and cursed to burn with a hunger only his Shadow bride can slake, Malcolm is determined to fight.

Can a young woman destined to marry into darkness bring the light of hope to a man newly cursed to walk the night?


Book Trailer





Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heart-to-Heart: Kellyann Zuzulo

Genies are on the rise! Well, in my books anyway. Match Ramsey, in particular, rises to the occasion of ARe’s 28 Days of Heart campaign … and when in proximity of a certain alluring teacher-turned-realtor named Angeline Delaire.

Angels & Genies is my fourth genie romance but the first to introduce Match and his surfer-dude angel sidekick Miguel. Together, they seek to block the entrance of evil jinni Iblis to the earthly realm. Angeline holds the key to the sought portal. The only hint I’ll give is—as any realtor will tell you—it’s all about location, location, location.
Kellyann Zuzulo
I’m so pleased to be able to share this story and especially thrilled to be spreading the word through the Daily Dose. Heather Long, who created this really fun and informative romance blog, offered up a few questions for the ARe authors’ blog tour:

Share a little of why you chose to participate in the 28 Days of Heart campaign:
Well, honestly, I wasn’t going to do it. I’d come up with the idea of creating Match a few weeks before I heard about All Romance eBook’s campaign. I didn’t initially pay attention to what the campaign was for. Got the email. Delete.

Soon after, in October, my husband and I took our kids to Ireland for a large family wedding. The emotions, stories, and adventures were unforgettable. Part of that emotion was remembering my Aunt Tina, who would have been at the wedding, but had died the previous Christmas Eve of a heart attack. We raised a glass as well to my maternal grandmother, who had died of a heart attack at 73 years old. And in a final reminder of the fragile strength of a woman’s heart, I learned that same week that my best friend had suffered a heart attack at 45 years old.

I think you probably know what’s coming next, though, at the time, I didn’t. When I got back to work the second week in October, I opened another e-mail from ARe. This time, I read what charity would benefit from the “uncompensated” efforts of the participating authors. It was the American Heart Association.

I worked like a genie flying a carpet in a hurricane and turned in my novella two weeks later, on the last day for submissions. Enough magic remained that my story was selected to be a part of the 28 days and will be released on February 24th—my grandmother’s birthday….Psyche. Not really. That would be just too weird. I didn’t need any more omens to remind me that loyalties are more important that royalties. (In fact, Granny Kelly’s birthday is October 10th, the same day as my cousin’s wedding in Ireland.)

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your stories?

I learned that emotion drives the story. I had suspected as much, but the more characters I create—even when they’re genies—I increasingly realize that you must touch a reader’s heart to keep them interested. The emotions aren’t always warm and fuzzy, or hot and titillating. They can be vengeful, tender, angry, or confused, but they must be there and they must be palpable. Otherwise, the story becomes as flat as the screen upon which it is read.

Have you become more or less romantic since you began your writing journey?
I like to think I was always romantic. But I’m Irish and we don’t show it. Maybe that’s why I enjoy immersing myself in the expression of a romance novel. The plots are rife with desire and thick with passion, ladled with a healthy glaze of sexual tension and, let’s admit it, some sex. But, again, the sex would be as empty as a bottle without a genie unless it has emotion. That’s where the romance comes from. That’s where the heart is.

You can learn about K. F. Zuzulo, her books, and the romance of the jinn at her website
Angels & Genies will be available from All Romance eBooks on February 24th.



Monday, February 15, 2010

Heart-to-Heart: Samantha Sommersby

Our February Heart-to-Heart continues today with the delightful Samantha Sommersby and her novella Touch of Fire. Enjoy the interview, the blurb and check out the fabulous contest hosted by this terrific author. Without further ado, please help me welcome Samantha Sommersby to the Daily Dose.

Samantha Sommersby

As an author and lover of romance, matters of the heart are important to me. I was thrilled to have my novella, Touch of Fire, accepted by All Romance for their 28 Days of Heart series. Valentine’s Day is filled with imagery of hearts and flowers, expectations of boxes of chocolate, or dinners out. I love the idea of doing something to promote awareness, especially in women, about the importance of taking care of our health and our hearts.

Describe a moment that really tugged at your heart.

Recently my son had to do a project at school and he selected one that seemed pretty ambitious. He wanted to learn blacksmithing. My son was born with cerebral palsy and doing anything that requires a fair amount of dexterity with both hands is a challenge. He made a little film about his experience. When I watched it for the first time and he got to the part about how difficult it was for him because of the CP, the tears flowed. Despite the challenges, at the end of the movie he has such a wonderful smile on his face. I’m a very proud mama. (Go to Youtube and search MrMazzax – it’s called “The Blacksmith’s Apprentice”.)

Are your characters inspired by real people or events?

I think most writers are sponges. We soak up everything around us and all of that becomes grist for our creative mill. I recently turned Shelter From the Storm into my editor at Samhain, it’s a contemporary that will be releasing in the next few months. The hero is a social worker who works with abused children, which is what my husband does. Mac isn’t my husband, they’re very different. His experiences however definitely influenced how I wrote the character.

What do you enjoy reading? Can you name your five favorite authors?

My favorite genres are Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. My name is Samantha Sommersby and I’m a series junkie. Asking for a top 5 is tough and it’s likely to be different a week from now. 1) Laurell K. Hamilton, 2) Charlaine Harris, 3) Sherrilyn Kenyon, 4) Kelley Armstrong, 5) S. J. Day or Jeanne C. Stein. I love both Sylvia’s Marked series and Jeanne’s Anna Strong series and am hoping for more soon of each.

Reading romance reduces stress and can help relax you from your worries. Do you feel that writing romance helps you cope with your own worries and stress?

Wow, this is an interesting question. I recently watched a great Nova episode about dreaming. About halfway through it I was struck with the notion that my writing zone is probably very close to a dream state. That’s probably especially true when I’m writing the Forbidden series since it’s from the first person point of view. You have to go deeper when writing from first person POV, which is one of the reasons I’m so fond of it. The submersion process absolutely distracts you from those everyday worries. If I were to be honest I’d admit I sometimes have to set alarms to remind me to do things like eat of pick my son up from school.

Have you become more or less romantic since you began your writing journey?

More. And I see so much romance in the world. I see it in the every day gestures that I didn’t necessarily notice as much before. Could that just be maturity or something else? Absolutely. But I do wonder if the repeated act of crafting that arc and building relationships does make you more acutely aware of each of those little steps along the way that eventually lead to the happily-ever-after.

Touch of Fire

He'd brave the fires of hell just to hold her...

Firefighter Garrett Flint rescues the beautiful Nicole from a burning building, and then breaks all the rules by taking her into his home and into his heart.


Enter the Your Heart’s Desire Contest

1. Post a list of the four titles from the series you’d most like to have someplace on the web. Facebook, myspace, twitter, your own blog, one belonging to a friend, this one…all fair game.

2. Using the contact page on my website, email me the URL where I can find your post and your email address

What’s the Fabulous Prize?

At the end of the month, I will fulfill the wishes of seven winners for a total of 28 books. Winners will be contacted prior to fulfillment just in case their top four selections has changed.

Why seven winners, four books each? Because I really want to encourage everyone to support this endeavor. With 28 titles to choose from in so many sub-genres, and for a super reasonable price ($1.99-$3.50) you’re sure to find some others that you can’t live without. Right?

About Samantha Sommersby
Samantha Sommersby lives in San Diego with her husband and son. In 2007 she left what she used to call her “real life” day job as a psychotherapist to pursue writing full-time. She now happily spends her days immersed in the world of the Forbidden, a world where vampires are real, where magic is possible, and where love still conquers all. Samantha is the author of over a dozen novels and novellas including The Temptation, book four in the critically acclaimed Forbidden series releasing March 5 and published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Keep Up with Samantha




Sunday, February 14, 2010

Young Adult Authors Say Many Lessons Learned From Love and Literature

Debut novelists in the Young Adult genre agree that the deep impact felt by teens in love too often gets overlooked by adults. Author of the popular WVMP series of adult novels, Jeri Smith-Ready makes her debut as a YA author this year with her novel SHADE (Simon Pulse; May 4). Smith-Ready recalls “hearing adults chuckle over our [teen] heartbreaks, like, “Oh, how cute. Remember when things were simple?” Losing someone you love is NOT cute or simple. It’s the end of the world.” In Smith-Ready’s exciting paranormal novel, her “main character Aura is already in love with her first boyfriend Logan at the beginning of the book. This first love is tested—by his rock star ambitions, their failed attempts at intimacy (aka sex), and finally by his death and ghosthood.”

Fellow Class of 2k10 member and debut author Shannon Delany (13 TO LIFE: A WEREWOLF’S TALE; St. Martin’s Press, June 22) also agrees adults often accidentally marginalize first love. “As teens, things are so new, exciting and fresh. Things feel sharper somehow—emotions run higher and hurt cuts deeper.” Delany’s main character, Jessie, struggles to figure out the difference between emotions that can grow into love versus the power of crushes.

Crushed!

“There’s a reason they’re called crushes,” Delany suggests. “Those emotions hit suddenly and are so powerful they’ll crush everything else out of you.”

For many teens, crushes and first love help define them. Denise Jaden, author of LOSING FAITH (Simon Pulse; September 7) says, “A crush is different from love. My main character explores both sides of this through the novel, and it’s not until she experiences true love that she really starts to find out who she is.” Jaden’s novel “opens with Brie Jenkins planning her “first time” with her boyfriend.” The author says, “I won’t say what happens, but Brie eventually ends up with another boy, the first boy she can really trust. There are a lot of firsts for these two as they find safety in each other in the midst of their very unsafe worlds.”

Crushes and the blossoming of love help author Shari Maurer’s character Emmi (CHANGE OF HEART; WestSide Books; April 23) cope. “As Emmi starts getting sick and things get serious, she notices that Sam seems to like her. The growing romance helps distract her from her fears about her health.” The ability teens have to focus on things their grown-up counterparts might glaze over as being of lesser importance gives Emmi strength. Maurer says, “...even when facing a medical crisis, she [Emmi] still has time to worry about boys and her friends and other seemingly minor things.”

Author Kristina McBride (THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES; Egmont; May 25) reminds readers that “there are many different types of love. Some are healthy. Some are not. I hope that after reading this [her debut novel], teens consider what types of love they will allow into their own lives.” McBride points out “They [different types of love relationships] are modeled around us daily, and many of us can relate personally to some of the unhealthy relationships found in THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES.”

Must Friendship End When Teen Romance Begins?

Denise Jaden says of her characters in LOSING FAITH, “I don’t think the romance is integral as much as the trust between them. If they had never kissed, their relationship as friends would have still been enough to bolster them into making the changes they needed to make in their lives.”

In debut author Judith Graves’ paranormal novel UNDER MY SKIN (Leap Books, March 27) “Eryn’s perception of love is tainted. She hasn’t let people into her heart for a long time. As the plot develops and the relationships grow, Eryn (a wolven shapeshifter) begins to view her new friends/family as pack. The ultimate love she could give. Since Eryn’s a fighter, this is shown through her desire to protect.” Graves reminds readers love is not just some romantic ideal, it’s also an important component to building strong friendships and families.

In Jennifer R. Hubbard’s recently released debut novel (THE SECRET YEAR) “the main character, Colt, has two relationships with girls that begin as friendships. In one case, he is drawn into a situation that's more than he wanted, when his long-time friend Sydney needs closeness and support at a bad time in her life. Because Colt is not completely honest with her about how he feels, that relationship gets rocky very quickly, hurting not only the romance but the friendship.” Hubbard adds, “In the other case, Colt sustains a more enduring relationship with a girl named Kirby, and it's no accident that he is much more honest with her from the beginning. In the case of Kirby, the friendship didn't end when the romance began; the romance was better because of the friendship.”

“Love and other powerful types of emotions can test friendships, as happens in 13 to Life,” Delany says. “It doesn’t mean that friendship has to end when love begins, but friendships will change. Some will deepen and some will dissolve. But life, like werewolves, is all about change.”

Is Teen Love Built to Last?

Although author Jeri Smith-Ready is quick to point out that there is probably no such thing as the “normal teenage experience,” she hopes the strength and growth of the relationship in SHADE resonates with readers. “Even death can’t destroy Logan and Aura’s love. His ghost remains a huge part of her life, which solves some problems (sex is no longer an issue) but brings lots of new challenges.”

Delany’s characters face challenges of their own. “As if being a teen isn’t tough enough, the struggles between love and concepts of loyalty, honesty and friendship put Jessie and Pietr to the test time and time again. Love is seldom simple and they have things pressing in on them from all sides as the story unfolds.” Delany says that although her paranormal definitely has what her editor likes to call “werewolf-y goodness” and “supernatural funk” it’s still very much a novel about normal teen issues.

Smith-Ready says, “I think for a lot of people, that first love is the one we hang onto harder and longer than any other. We fight for it to last, sometimes way longer than it should.”

Love Changes Things

If characters are supposed to grow and evolve during the course of novels, is love a major force pushing those changes? Of her novel LOSING FAITH, Denise Jaden says “Finding a safe place to be herself changes everything for Brie. She no longer needs to strive to fit in, and for the first time, she can see who she really is.” Sometimes the power of love doesn’t just change us, it changes our perception and our entire world.

In the beginning of Maurer’s CHANGE OF HEART “Emmi and her best friend Becca had a pact that they wouldn’t have sex in high school. I like the fact that they had empowered themselves like this. Things change as the story progresses that make them question their decision, but it’s a great thing for a teen girl to be able to feel like she can control this part of her life.”

In UNDER MY SKIN “The feelings wolven shapeshifter Eryn develops for Alec – a human, and Wade – a vampire, are confusing and scary. The bonds these three characters forge are crucial to Eryn’s motivations throughout the story, causing her to take risks, to face her inner demon and come out the other side a changed person.”

And things aren’t static for the characters in THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES either. “As Tessa’s best friend, Noelle, returns home after a two-year abduction, Tessa struggles to connect with her and regain the lost friendship. Many things get in the way, one of which is the new (very hot) guy named Max. Tessa’s relationship with Max causes her to question everything she has done since Noelle’s kidnapping. Namely, her failure to live her own life.”

“Love does remarkable things to us,” 13 TO LIFE’s author claims. “It blinds us at the same time it betters us. It tests our perceptions and helps define us in both life and literature.”

Change can often bring epiphany as it does for CHANGE OF HEART’s Emmi. “Without giving too much away, I think she [Emmi] thinks love can only be one way, but realizes that love sometimes comes from places that surprise you,” Maurer states.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, dances and the inevitable break ups, first dates and high drama, some debut YA authors hope we all remember to try and be patient and supportive. As LOSING FAITH’s author Denise Jaden points out, “Teens can have much more depth than they’re often given credit for,” and “all relationships, teen or otherwise, are as unique as the individuals involved in them.”


The authors quoted above may be contacted separately through the following websites and are receptive to interviews:


These authors and more can also be contacted through Class of 2K10.com.

Comment to Win
Shannon Delany's also going to give away a couple prizes to one lucky random commenter. The winner will score a 13 TO LIFE pin (shiny!), some tasty chocolate and a copy of Rachel Hawthorne's trade paperback MOONLIGHT. One winner will be chosen by February 28th!





Saturday, February 13, 2010

Laughter is the Best Romance

Welcome to the Valentine's Day Blog Tour 2010! I hope you enjoyed stopping by Mariana Blaser's blog and I'm delighted to have you here today. I wanted to take this time to talk to you about laughter.

Laughter is infectious. Giggles are contagious. Who doesn't crack a smile when they hear a baby chortle? When you see a man and woman grinning at each other? Or even better, when the chuckles are popping and crackling the air between them. Romance may sizzle, but laughter kindles the heat, the heart and the soul.

Healthy Heart

The romantic comedy is a popular medium for romance in the theater, on television or in novels. Who doesn't adore the couple that makes you smile or makes you laugh aloud? Sure, angst has its place, but without laughter – who could enjoy a romance that only ends in tears? From the psychological viewpoint, laughter is extremely healthy.

Laugher releases endorphins into the body and the brain. Good humor relaxes you, eases your stress, boosts your immune system and increases your level of happiness. When you laugh at a joke, a photograph or a moment, you let go of all your pain and anxiety and feel profound relief. Look at this photo:



Do your eyes light up? Do you feel a grin tugging at the corners of your mouth? Are you snickering?

I bet you feel better.

If you send this blog to someone else or tell them to check out the image, you will enjoy their laughter at it as well. When you share laughter, it binds you. When you share happiness, you share intimacy and you weave together ties that will keep you together. Laughter is a domino effect in life and in love.

Laughter and Love

Laughter is the most powerful aphrodisiac when you are making love or making dinner. In writing, as in life, I look for the laughter that comes hand in hand with the love. The best couples are the ones who not only make me laugh, but manage to amuse each other. In the darkest times, you can remember a moment of laughter and smile. When you think of the people in your life, you think of the good and the bad, but I bet the ones that make you laugh are the ones you think of first.

Laughter is intimacy. It is organic. It is natural. It is almost better than sex.

So this Valentine's Day, I wish to emphasize the Happy part of the Happy Valentine's Day. Remember to laugh and to share that laughter. Find the funny in every moment that you can and treasure it like a charm against the dark places in life. Laughter is the most inexpensive medicine we can give ourselves and while we may not end up having a tea party on the ceiling, try to carry this thought in your heart: "I love to laugh – loud and long and clear."

Share that laughter with the ones you love. Give the gift of humor and invite others to burst, cachinnate, cackle, chortle, chuckle, cluck, convulse, crack up, crow, die laughing, fracture, giggle, grin, guffaw, howl, roar, roll in the aisles, scream, shriek, snicker, snigger, snort, split your sides, teehee, titter, whoop, or be in stitches right alongside you.

Happy Valentine's Day and thanks for stopping by the Daily Dose on the Valentine's Day Blog Tour 2010, I hope you spread the laughter forward wherever you go.

Your next stop: The Art of Writing In The Rain


Friday, February 12, 2010

Heart-to-Heart: Michele Hart

Greetings, Romance lovers! My name is Michele Hart, and I’m the author of Zero-G, a Sci-Fi Romance novella available at All Romance e-Books. Zero-G is proud to be a part of 28 Days of Heart, a collection of short stories brought together for you in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Proceeds go to the American Heart Association. Read for Charity! Healthy hearts for everyone!

What type of movies make you cry? When was the last time you cried in a movie?
Oh, the timing of this question is perfect. Usually I’m not a weeper for most movies, but I saw Marley and Me last night. Of course, we all know the ending even after only hearing about the movie, and it had me bawling, remembering my pets. It also comforted me to know my dog Rocket, although a mischievous, trouble-magnetic devil, is not the World’s Worst Dog. I remember weeping while watching Of Mice and Men and Wuthering Heights.


If could live in any century previous to the 20th, what century would it be and why?
I think I’d love any century where I could make my life out of the Earth. Farming or stonemasonry or carpentry, something physical. Writing makes you deskbound and depends on so many and so much technology, so I dream of living in simpler times of self-sufficiency. It’s strangely diametrical to my preference for writing Sci-Fi.

Share a little about why you chose to participate in 28 Days of the Heart..
Zero-G is a special story for me, one I’m going to hand to someone one day. There’s a lot of someone close to me in it. That the story will make money for the American Heart Association is such a wonderful bonus. And I thought a Hart should write for the AHA. : - ) I’m very proud to see Zero-G in the collection. I hope everyone enjoys it.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your stories?
I was very surprised to learn I could turn a love of science into Romances people would like. Turns out Sci-Fi Romance is a great under tapped genre. I invite everyone to check out the new Sci-Fi Romances coming out. Find a favorite author, follow them, and live out a futuristic adventure.

Reading romance reduces stress and can help relax you from your worries. Do you feel that writing romance helps you cope with your own worries and stress?
Oh, yeah, it’s a great outside-stress reliever to write. I can lose the world, shuttering up for a few months to write a story. Of course, managing elements of a story is an inside-stress thing, but one you learn to direct, as opposed to outside stress, which often seems out of our control.

Zero-G

Their love was out of this world...Maggie Gates was madly in love with shy Will Hudson in high school, but he never made his move.


Two decades later, they’re trapped on a lunar space station for eleven days. A relationship between the two should be off limits, but that isn’t stopping Will from setting his sights on Maggie for conquest in the cosmos. 


The shy boy she knew is gone, and this man possesses the will to storm her gates. Now he has the Moon and stars on his side.

For love in the stars, check out Zero-G at all Romance e-Books.

See reviews, watch the book trailer, read an excerpt.

Visit my Michele at her website!




Thursday, February 11, 2010

Guest Blogging at the Daily Dose

Hello! Thanks for your interest in guest blogging at the Daily Dose. I love hosting other authors who have something to share.

Here is some information you’ll need:

At the bottom, there is a form for you to fill out so I know who you are and why you want to be here.

Please fill it out, then rename the MS Word file your name (example: AuthorName.doc). That will help me keep things organized.

Please return all of this ASAP, and at least two weeks ahead of the date you’d like to appear on my blog.

PLEASE

1. Follow the directions. I am not going to go looking around the www for your information.

2. Give me the URL for any photos you’d like included. I don’t have the space on my server to host large images. Instructions can be found below on how to find an image URL.

3. Offer swag if you can. Just a free copy or download of one of your books is great. (Unpublished authors are not expected to offer swag.)

4. Copy, fill out this form completely and return it to me as an MS Word attachment to heather@heatherlong.net at least two weeks ahead of the date you would like to appear.

Date you would like to appear (if no date is specified, I will assign one to you):

Name/Pen Name:

Contact Email (not to be given out, just for me):

Website:

Blog:

Twitter:

Facebook:

Book You are Promoting:


Buy Link
(either to your author site or online places like Amazon):

URL for cover: (right click on the pic, then go to properties. It will have a URL, copy and paste that here)

You have the choice of writing an article, a character interview, or excerpt.

Articles and Interviews MUST be new. I will not repost something that has already been posted on another author’s website. For the article, gear it toward readers, not other authors.

The interview can be yours or a character of yours. For your interview questions, scroll down. You are responsible for interviewing your own characters. See an example done by Melissa Schroeder and one by me when I guest blogged at at Nikki Duncan's website.

What do you plan to do (article, interview, excerpt)-

Cut and paste it here (Be sure to proofread it. I am a writer, not an editor):

What are you offering for swag (giveaway):

Would you rather have people comment or answer a certain question to get their name in the hat for the prize?:

When you are done filling this out, send it to me at heather@heatherlong.net.

I’ll confirm receipt when I get it, so if you don’t hear from me within 72 hours, please contact me.

You are more than welcome and encouraged to show up on your guest blog/interview day to chat with readers.

I will give them until 8 a.m. Eastern on the following day to post for a chance to win.

I will draw a name, announce it on the blog, then send the contact info to you.

It is your responsibility to contact the reader and get the prize to them.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask,

- Heather


Author Interviews

If you’re an author and would like to be interviewed by me on this blog, please fill out the questions below and return them to me via email at:

Heather@HeatherLong.net
Author interviews and/or guest blogs will be posted on Wednesdays or Thursdays at the Daily Dose but I will work with you to schedule another day if you need it.

Please send your answers or guest blog to me no later than two weeks prior to the date you require so I have time to post it.

If you’re promoting a specific book, please include the blurb, short excerpt, cover, and purchase link for the book in your interview (all in one document, please).

Author interview questions:

1) What genre do you write and why?

2) If romance, what subgenres do you write in? Why?

3) Are you aware of any themes that run through your stories? If so, what are they?

4) What would you like readers to take away from your stories?

5) What inspires your stories?

6) Will you be attending any book or writing conferences this year? If yes, which ones? Where and when?

7) Do you have any book signings or author appearances coming soon? If yes, where and when?

8) What is your writing schedule like?

9) Do you have any other passions besides writing? If yes, what are they? Why?

10) What is your best memory?

11) What is your favorite comfort food?

12) What relaxes you?

13) What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

14) What decade has been your favorite? Why?

15) What is your favorite way to promote your work?

16) Where is your favorite place to write? Why?

17) What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?

18) What was your favorite vacation?

19) If you had another career, what was it?

20) If you didn’t write, what would you do instead?

21) If you could have one wish, what would it be?

22) If you could describe yourself in only one word, what would it be?

23) Are you a cat or dog person? Do you have any pets and if so, please tell us about them.

24) What is the one thing you most want to do that you haven’t yet?

25) When the zombies take over, what will you do?

26) Vampire or werewolf? Why?

27) Please tell us about your most recent release and where we can purchase it.

28) Please give us your urls and your publisher’s url.

29) Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers? Please do so here.

Special thanks to Ashley Ladd at http://www.ashleyladd.blogspot.com/ and Lisa Pietsch at http://lisapietsch.com for showing me how to do author interviews properly!

Heart-to-Heart: Jackie Kessler

Hi! I’m Jackie Kessler, and I like to write about demons and angels, among other things. When I heard about the 28 Days of Heart, and that all proceeds would be going to the American Heart Association, I knew I wanted to write a Hell story for it, one that was about connection, and possibly even redemption.

The angel called Angel first appears in my second book, THE ROAD TO HELL, but you don’t need to read it to understand why Angel is alone outside the gates of Paradise...or why she feels so horribly alone. And you don’t need to read the first book, HELL’S BELLES, to know who the archangel is that she meets. (But of course, I hope you will read the books!)

Hell’s Angel is somewhat of a departure from the Hell on Earth series in that it’s not humorous, it’s not written in first person, and it’s not about the former succubus Jezebel. Whether you’re new to Hell on Earth or if you’ve read all the books and novellas, I think you’ll enjoy the story.

What type of movies make you cry? When was the last time you cried in a movie?

Oh God, I am SUCH a freaking sap. I cry at the drop of a dime. No, really. True love? I’ll probably get misty-eyed. A true love dying? I’m a goner. And if there’s anything in there about kids dying, forget it. I’m a mess. Get me a box of Kleenex, stat. I used to be such a hardass, too. I used to watch horror movies and laugh. Now I flinch. I blame motherhood. My kids have made me an utter wuss. **grins** I’m so damn lucky!

I just watched JACOB’S LADDER the other day (a psychological/supernatural thriller from 1990), and I was bawling my eyes out.

If could live in any century previous to the 20th, what century would it be and why?

Oh, heck no. I couldn’t live without my computer, the Internet, and email. I am a slave to technology. Sad, really. But if I had to pick something, it would be in an era where women could have full figures and not be told they needed to lose 20+ pounds.


Share a little about why you chose to participate in 28 Days of the Heart.

How could I not? It’s for a terrific cause. Heart disease is all too real; according to the American Heart Association, it’s the number 1 killer of women in the United States. I hope that our fiction helps raise not only money but also awareness about this disease.


Are your characters inspired by real people or events?

In Hell’s Angel, neither Angel nor her paramour are inspired by real people. I think of her as Innocence Slowly Lost, and of him as Innocence Lost Long Ago.


What do you enjoy reading? Can you name your five favorite authors?

In both adult and young adult, I’m a sucker for a great paranormal or urban fantasy, with some leanings toward epic fantasy. I also enjoy magical realism. For middle grade, I’m all about the urban fantasy.

Favorite authors? Hands down, Neil Gaiman is my favorite. He’s also my god of writing. I also hugely enjoy reading Heather Brewer, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Richelle Mead, Michelle Rowen, Kelly Meding, Christopher Moore, Anton Strout, Mark Henry, Caitlin Kittredge, Michele Bardsley, Charlaine Harris, Julie Kenner, Amy King, Rick Riordan, Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, Shannon Butcher, Jeri Smith-Ready...

Oh, you wanted five. Well, you have more!

Hell's Angel
Where can an angel find comfort? A lonely banished angel sits outside the gates of Paradise, lamenting the joy she has lost. When she is joined by a fallen archangel, she learns that one doesn't need to be in Heaven to experience bliss.


Books and stories by Jackie Kessler
Hell on Earth series:

  • Hell’s Belles

  • The Road to Hell

  • “A Hell of a Time,” Eternal Lover

  • Hotter than Hell (mass-market reissue coming September 2010)

  • “When Hell Comes Calling,” Lilith Unbound

  • “Hell Is Where the Heart Is,” A Red Hot Valentine’s Day

  • “Hell’s Angel,” 28 Days of Heart

  • “Hell Bound,” Those Who Fight Monsters (coming fall 2010)

  • Hell to Pay (date TBA)

  • “Hell’s Fury,” Mammoth Book of Hot Romance (date TBA)



The Icarus Project series (with Caitlin Kittredge):

  • Black and White

  • Shades of Gray (coming June 2010)



Young Adult novels (by Jackie Morse Kessler):

  • Hunger (coming October 2010)

  • Rage (coming spring 2011)



Jackie Kessler on the Internet

  • http://www.jackiekessler.com

  • http://www.jackiemorsekessler.com

  • Deadline Dames: http://www.deadlinedames.com

  • League of Reluctant Adults: http://reluctantadults.blogspot.com

  • Twitter: @JackieKessler, @JackieMorseKess

  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jackie.kessler



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heart-to-Heart; Tilly Greene

My name is Tilly Greene and I’m an erotic romance author – boy, does that sound like a confession or what. Anyway, yes, I delve into a variety of sub-genres, themes and heat levels, and all with romance at the core. The twisting passionate path they take to each other intrigues me and I don’t make it easy for them either. My characters aren’t perfect, they make mistakes, and life often throws in a couple of bumps as well, but it’s how they face them that make it interesting.

What does all that mean? Well, in And She Scores, there are plenty of bumps and twists. The Santa Ana winds are whipping up the heat, wildfires are raging, and two people who used to date are about to meet again – on camera! There are a few problems for Patrick Conway, a professional football player, and Sarah Winters, a reporter, to navigate through, and when the heart is involved, you know it won’t be easy.

Now, something else I like to do with a story is put the reader there, on sight, no matter where it happens to be. And She Scores, is set in Southern California and the couple take a walk along the beach and eat at a restaurant, both things I’ve done many times before, and thought to share with others. I’ve also done this in other books, like “Highland Heat” and London, “Taming Marie Antoinette” and Paris, and the series An Invitation to the World and India, to name a few. I like to call these visits to another place a snippet of voyeur tourism amidst an erotic romance.

There you go, a hint of what I write, and to follow is a hint of me:

Describe a moment that really tugged at your heart.
There are many, both happy and sad tugs, that happen all the time, too many to pick just one. When my cutie surprises me with a mug of hot chocolate, topped with mini marshmallows, it’s an excellent tug. When a friend receives a call from her son in Afghanistan to check in, it’s a tear jerking fantastic tug. When a nephew, who is a teen, cracking voice and all, asks to go out to lunch with you, it’s a fabulous tug. I enjoy those moments.


What type of movies make you cry? When was the last time you cried in a movie?
I’m easy to tear up while watching films. The last one was “Up” – a Pixar animation – and I watched it on an airplane. Yes, I cried, ran out of tissues, and was stuck sniffling until the bathroom was free. It’s a great film, very creatively put together, and also rather romantic.


What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your stories?
I find it interesting that, as a kid, I was told by a teacher to write a paper – say 5 pages – and I thought the world was ending. I could never write that much stuff, but I somehow managed in the end. Then, in college, I read a handful of books a week, wrote papers – let’s say 10 pages – and was often shocked to turn them in. The length no longer mattered, it was the quantity that was the challenge. Today, there’s no trauma or drama that I used to feel when it came to writing. It flows and I call it my job – the best I’ve ever had. It’s funny how life twists about on us.


Are your characters inspired by real people or events?
Some are and it’s interesting to take reality and twist it around while maintaining what drew me there in the first place. When the organizers of Wimbledon, the tennis competition in England, a few years ago announced women would have the same prize money as men, I was surprised. While I enjoy tennis, it never dawned on me that the prizes weren’t the same. Interesting, but what had my writer’s antennae working overtime was when some male players came out and publically stated they didn’t think it was fair. They played harder and longer than the women. When the shock dissipated, I wrote “Zandia” a futuristic about sexual equality, and the ladies come out the winners.


What do you enjoy reading? Can you name your five favorite authors?
I read everything! There are too many places to visit through a book to turn away from one. Lately, I’ve found some interesting non-fictions, but if I’m looking for an escape, then I’ll go with a Mystery, Romance or SF/Fantasy. I don’t do “favorite” authors, but for Christmas, the books I asked for and received were by Kelley Armstrong, Linda Fairstein, Tess Gerritsen [my fist one by her] and Laurell K Hamilton, and the first book I bought in 2010 was Stella and Audra Price’s latest release.

To discover what happens between Patrick and Sarah before that first football game of the pre-season, you’ll need to visit All Romance or OmniLit, and pick up a copy of And She Scores,. And, when you do that, remember all proceeds will be given to the American Heart Association. What a great way to enjoy an erotic romance.

Learn more about Tilly Greene visit her at her website, her Hot Thoughts Blog, Facebook and Twitter.