Sunday, November 19, 2017

Want to Improve your Writing? Here’s a Writing Tip from C.J. Burright


One of the best writing classes I’ve taken is Fearless Writer by Laura Baker. In that class, Laura helped me figure out exactly what types of stories I wanted to write by unearthing the themes that matter most to me in life. Pinpointing that one element has really helped me focus my stories and express my belief system through my characters.  This is the mission statement I came up with during the class that conveys what I hope to achieve with every story:

I write because I want to create romantic stories that convey themes that matter to me through emotionally stirring characters, both with and without paranormal elements. I feel especially connected to characters who need to overcome their fears to find happiness, acceptance, worthiness, and love, whether that fear is of rejection, being hurt, or being vulnerable. I love creating opposing romantic characters who demonstrate the positive effects of compassion, connection, and the power of self-acceptance. My goal is to give readers a story with characters they want to root for, laugh with (or at), and fall in love with.

Dangerously Dark definitely incorporates broken characters who must scale emotional battlements before they realize they’re perfect for each other, and for love. There’s laughter and banter, struggles and romance, all culminating in a HEA. Figuring out what you’re passionate about, what motivates you to write, and incorporating that into your stories will be what keeps you writing on those tough days when nothing seems to be going right, when the rejections roll in and sales fall flat. The message you’re driven to share with the world through your stories matters.  I highly recommend any class taught by Laura, but if you get a chance, take Fearless Writer. You won’t regret it. Promise.

And C.J. knows what she’s talking about. Here’s an excerpt from her new release Dangerously Dark.



A chittering echoed from beyond a sand dune. Whatever had made the noise remained out of reach for now, but not long enough. She slouched. So much for downtime.
Weariness shuddered through her. It would be so easy to curl up on the cool white sand beneath her boots and surrender. To let whatever monster came next do its worst and slip into oblivion for a while, despite the cost. Gripping the iron cross, its chain wrapped around her wrist, she closed her eyes. Relaxing for even a second was dangerous, but she was so tired, she almost didn’t care.
“Quinn.” Close, so close, the musical voice sang a shiver through her, more sinister for its serene softness. She didn’t want to open her eyes, didn’t want to know what new horror haunted her nightmares and knew her name.
With a resigned sigh, she faced the voice and froze. Zaire stood in the sand a foot away. He was different than outside the dream. His dark hair was shorter, in a skull cut. Same olive skin, same kiss-me mouth, but his eyes…she inhaled. His eyes, black velvet in life, now held an abysmal void, deeper and more potent than when he’d been a boy. The darkness there pulled at her, grasping for her soul.
She forced her attention to the rest of him, and her brain blanked while her body purred. Black leather boots. Trousers covered in blue-black metallic scales. And a shirt of the same iridescent material as his pants, only lighter. Black weapons hung everywhere, sword at his lean hip, knives strapped across his broad chest, on his belt, in his boots. The whip-end tail of one silver tattoo poked past his collar and licked his collarbone.
Lethal. Vicious. Magnificent.
He was her midnight fantasy and nightmare combined. Fantasy because he embodied everything she wanted. Nightmare because he wasn’t really Zaire. In her childhood, he’d snuck into her dreams, a dark presence watching over her, but whatever wore his face now wasn’t the boy from her past or the man she’d finally met. She gripped her cross tighter.
“Nice sword,” she said, her voice raspy with regret. “Come here often?”
He watched her with those fathomless eyes, unblinking, and she had the strangest impression that he memorized every detail of her. Probably searching for her weak points.
The chittering beyond the sand dune grew closer, and she nearly slumped beneath another wave of fatigue. Fighting a manifestation of Zaire along with whatever else came along made her want to cry.
“Why so sad, dearling?” Deep and soothing, his musical voice only added to her misery.
Dearling. She wouldn’t have minded Zaire calling her that, but she wasn’t about to put up with endearments from a demon, and dishonesty was a waste of time. The demons always knew the secrets she tried to hide.
“Oh, you know. All the usual.” Quinn straightened, pushing the exhaustion aside. “Nonstop nightmares. Delusions in the daytime. Trying not to ruin my mother’s political career. Figuring out what to do with my life. Meeting you.”
“Meeting me brought you sadness?” His voice lowered another octave. He shifted slightly, and his clothing shimmered, like dragon scales in the moonlight. His dark beauty squeezed her heart. What she wouldn’t give to have him be real and with her now, fighting the nightmares together. Calling her sweet names.
“It’s not you, not really. It’s the idea of you. Your existence. Knowing you want to leave.” She should kick herself. Conversing with a demon. Brilliant idea.
“Want and need are not always equal.” Flames danced in his eyes, stirring up annoying embers in her blood.
“Right.” She snorted. “I’ve been around the block a time or two, pal. You read my thoughts, manipulate my desires, and use them to tempt me into despair. Demons one-oh-one.”
He frowned. “I am not your…pal.”
Cresting the dune, a shadow raced toward them, white sand churning beneath it. In archetypal demon fashion, tendrils of fear preceded its arrival, which Quinn ignored. She had enough experience with fear to resist its pull, and the demon two steps away was much more treacherous.
And undeniably intriguing.
“Sorry about that. Do you prefer buddy?” She grinned at an unusual burst of energy. “How about chum, bro, dude, or ol’ chap?”
“Zaire will do,” he said stiffly.
“Nice Zaire costume, by the way. Pal.” She rocked back on her heels, biting her lip to keep from grinning like a crazy person. Typically, a demon staring at her with murderous intent would batter her senses with wave after wave of horror. Instead, she had the irresistible need to bedevil the demon.
Behind him, the darkness loomed larger, speeding closer with each heartbeat. A shadow man, common, familiar, and not particularly threatening. It couldn’t do much physical damage, not when she was ready. She jerked her chin at the phantom barreling down on them, five seconds away tops. Maybe that was what this Zaire waited for, backup. “Friend of yours?”
Smooth as any practiced dancer, Zaire freed a knife, pivoted, and threw it at the shadow three yards away, all before she could flinch. The darkness exploded into black and silver glitter, sparkling and lovely in the night.
He waited in silence until she met his gaze again. “I don’t have friends.”
A thrill coasted down Quinn’s spine, not the type of thrill she’d ever experienced in her nightmares. This one spun warmth all the way to her toes and back to her scalp. This demon was dangerous, and she wasn’t even referring to the blades strapped to every limb—weapons that destroyed other demons. He made her needy and achy and tingly in all the right places.










Some call him Purgatory’s Missing Prince. Demon Master. Overlord of Shadows. Only one woman may call him hers.

A master of dreams, a failure at life…

After another botched career attempt, Quinn Carmichael escapes to a remote lodge for a weekend recharge, needing respite…especially from the nightmares that haunt even her days. When a wounded, sexy-as-sin stranger faceplants unconscious on her kitchen floor, there’s something disturbingly familiar about him—as in he’s the boy from her childhood dreams. Mr. Dark, Dangerous, and Diabolical may be the key to unlocking the mysteries of her past and future, and Quinn isn’t about to let the opportunity—or him—escape without a fight.

His time is running out…

Known as Purgatory’s Missing Prince, Zaire’s existence has been one of endless pain, torture, and loss. Resigned to his fate, his final goal is simple—rescue his nephew before succumbing to the deadly darkness inside him. But when a fateful misstep brings him face-to-face with the one woman who could have saved him once upon a dream—the one woman he treasures above all else—he battles to keep his distance before he destroys her, too. But he would gladly sell his soul for just one taste.

Love draws them together, destiny will tear them apart

With ruthless enemies closing in, Quinn and Zaire must fight to save each other and those they care for before it’s too late—even if it means they’re doomed to live apart forever.

Buy Links:




a Rafflecopter giveaway The link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f9fb0b6a13/?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Author Linda O'Connor Shares a Writing Tip And... Her New Release... About Perfectly Skeptical

Writing Tip: We have a house on the water, and I love to sit and write where I can look at the lake. When the weather is warm, I’ll write outside. I also write when I’m travelling – on the train or plane. It makes the time go by quickly. I heard a tip at a writer’s conference about writing on a computer in public. They suggested changing the colour of the font to gray so it couldn’t be read over your shoulder. Not that my work is top secret, but I do that now!



Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at the local home d├ęcor store. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories :D ). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.
Laugh every day. Love every minute.


Social Media:
Website/Blog/Newsletter:  http://www.lindaoconnor.net
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LindaOConnor98
Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA


About Perfectly Skeptical
Dr. Brianna Scott looked forward to sleeping away her staycation, until a lucky windfall meant an upgrade to palm trees, an ocean view . . . and the sexy Dr. Matt Gaelen. She’ll play and have fun, but can a holiday fling really turn into a soul mate for life? Doubtful.

Matt has no radar for sniffing out gold-diggers and protecting his heart. Until now. Brianna is more turned off than turned on by his wealth. What are his chances of getting her to overlook it? Dubious at best.

Improbable and uncertain, iffy and unlikely – the typical path to love.

Perfectly Skeptical . . . love when you least expect it.

Excerpt:
She stopped in her tracks and squealed, almost bumping into a man standing on her porch. He put out his hand to steady her.
“Oh my god, you scared me,” she said, taking a deep breath.
Laughing blue eyes looked back at her. “Sorry about that. I was just about to knock, but you beat me to it.” His eyes swept the length of her. “I was sent to see how you’re doing.”
Brianna stiffened. “I’m fine. Why?” She hadn’t advertised she was going away. Her parents and Maisy were the only ones who knew where she was.
“You haven’t been out and about.”
Who’s keeping tabs? And who would send this dark-haired, all muscle, all-male hunk with the relaxed island smile and disarming blue eyes? Not her parents, that’s for sure. Maisy? It was entirely possible. Maisy’s reach was surprisingly long.
Don’t live a little. Live a lot. Maisy, you’re a cheeky devil, sending a male escort. He looked at her with a patient smile, waiting for her to catch up. Something about a tropical paradise and his sexy bod made her consider. Brianna narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you married?”
“Nope.”
“Do you have nail fungus?”
He blinked and his smile faltered. “No. Are you feeling okay?”
“I’m feeling great.” She stepped closer to him. His eyes darkened. He didn’t step away. What the hell – she could play this game. Be cool. Fake nonchalance. Cultivate some of that swagger that came so easily to Maisy. Her heart pounded, but he didn’t need to know.
She went on her toes and brushed her lips against his. When he responded and took control, Brianna felt a tingle from her head to her toes. She pressed closer and felt the hard muscle of his chest through the thin shirt he wore. He caressed the bare skin of her back and skimmed her waist. She opened her mouth to take him deeper and their tongues danced. This wasn’t the kiss of a boy. This was the kiss of experience. Maybe Maisy had it right – if you were going to play, you might as well play with top-of-the-line equipment.
He ran his hands down her arms and then gripped them gently and pushed her away, breaking off the kiss. Brianna raised startled eyes to his and made a noise in protest.
“I’m sorry.” He stepped back, putting more distance between them, and cleared his throat. “I think you have the wrong idea. I’m Matt Gaelen. Dr. Matt Gaelen.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Jerome and Maria were worried because you hadn’t shown up at the restaurant, so they asked me to come and check on you.”
“Jerome and Maria. Owners of the villas?”
“Yes.”
Uh-oh. “You weren’t sent by Maisy?”
“No, I don’t know a Maisy.” He grinned. “Though I wish I did.”
She felt a flush rise on her cheeks. So much for living it up. “I’m very sorry,” she said stiffly. “That was a misunderstanding.” She grimaced. “It won’t happen again.” She’d stay well and truly hidden under a rock of mortification.
He raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’m happy to see you’re fine. Better than fine.” He smiled. “I’ll let them know.” He turned and jogged down the steps. And then he stopped and looked back. “But it does seem a shame that it won’t happen again.”
Brianna blew out a breath and watched him go. That wasn’t embarrassing. She cringed. This was precisely why she wanted solitude and privacy. She shook her head at herself and picked up her towel. The light was fading, but she still had time for a quick dip to cool off.
Let that be a lesson learned – well two, really: don’t jump to conclusions, and Dr. Matt Gaelen is an excellent kisser.


Buy Links:
Perfectly Skeptical, a Perfectly Series novella, is one of 25 brand new, exclusive romances in the Tropical Tryst boxed set. Escape to the tropics with award winning, USA Today and NYT best-selling authors.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0713MQ2TP
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tropical-tryst-nicole-morgan/1126270355?ean=9781508076988
Pronoun: https://books.pronoun.com/tropical-tryst/
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tropical-tryst
iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/tropical-tryst/id1229317436



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Looking for an Intriguing Summer Read? Check Out Dark Love Rising



Photo courtesy of Ben White Unsplash



If you're like me, you love a good vampire story, my guest, Danita Minnis has written one and she'd like to share it.



Dark Love Rising
By
Danita Minnis

Blurb:

Former MI6 agent Xavier Quinn would say that you're daft if you think he will stop killing for a living. But that is exactly what is about to happen. Very soon now, Quinn will start killing to stay alive. On the run after taking out the wrong man, Quinn would die a happy man if he could just live long enough to ruin the Parliament member who set him up.

Layla, a 2,000 year old vampire with a moral code, has other plans for the contract killer. When she awakens to the sound of a dark rising, she enlists Quinn to join her on a mission to save humanity from her twin sister Tamara.

But Quinn is just the kind of man that a cold-blooded killer like Tamara needs in her world. A man like Quinn, who never believed in humanity, has only one belief; self-preservation. Being a vampire sounds much better than staying human in the game of kill or be killed. Will he stay alive long enough to find out how Layla's love can change the equation?


Excerpt:

The pounding came closer, harder, hurting her ear as she lay against the earth.
Something was running towards her. She could smell its fear. A human.
Layla’s predatory instincts rebounded in an instant. Before the conscious thought was fully formed in her mind, her arm shot out and grabbed the human’s ankle.
The human hit the ground with a surprised gasp as air whooshed out of its lungs. 
Layla opened her eyes and watched a dark stare turn into curiosity.
“Let go of me!”
She grit her teeth at the harsh inflections of the woman’s strange tongue, but she would master it. She already understood the golden-haired woman who tried to shake off her grip. With her other hand, she touched the short halo of golden hair that spiked out of the woman’s head like a fierce helmet. She was Nubiti, a golden lady.
A large structure flashed in her mind. The woman’s home; she wanted to be free to go there. But Nubiti, the golden lady, would not live to see another day.
“Who are you?” The woman began to kick and scratch at Layla’s hands.
“Doo…not…fee-arrh…meee...” Her vocal cords stilted the strange words even to her ears, with a rasping halt that sounded too deep to be human. The unused muscles in her throat needed exercise.
When the woman screamed and kicked her in the face, the stiletto heel lodged in Layla’s eye.
Pulling the stiletto out of her eye, Layla was at once regretful. She would have to concentrate on a more suitable pitch. She had no wish to frighten the golden lady who would soon begin her journey to the underworld of paradise.
She crawled over the woman, rubbing the dark, glittering stones on her garment, which left most of her body bare. The stones were like stars in the night, shimmering as the woman struggled.
The golden lady looked into the eye she’d ruptured with her shoe, her own blue eyes widening as the fissure closed. She stopped struggling and started keening softly.
“Nubiti…” The low rumble Layla emitted was meant to sooth, but she could not temper the power behind it. Unable to find calming words, she shook her head as the woman’s eyes rolled.
Gently, Layla touched the strange, blonde spikes on Nubiti’s head.
“Please, don’t hurt me.”
“Anubis waits for you.” Her tone now held the gentleness of a human’s, and she smiled. The triumph was brief as she felt the sting of envy where her heart had once resided, filled with life. Nubiti would meet the god who was the scout of all souls.
Long ago, she had been denied her meeting with Anubis, but she would not think of that now.
She turned her attention to the woman’s skin. Her hand followed her lips to Nubiti’s translucent neck. Veins glistened in the smooth white column as the finest lapis lazuli. Reverently, she sank her teeth into the flesh, savoring her first drink after such a long slumber.


Danita Minnis Bio:

Born and raised in the heart of New York City,  Danita is a singer, writer and lover of romance. Her fourth novel, Dark Love Rising is her first vampire romance. She's the author of the ghostly love story Adderley's Bride and the Cardiff novels, Falcon's Angel and Love Entwined. 
Mystery, mayhem, the fantastic and the fey are as intriguing as Siberian Huskies - shout out to the Khan Man. One more hour with her laptop and Danita is living the dream. 

Connect with Danita:



Book Links:





Thursday, June 8, 2017

Want Perfect Prose? Try Brenda Sparks’ Helpful Solution #AuthorLove



Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Mia. I'm excited to be here. The writing tip I'd like to share is my favorite editing advice.

After I do revisions and a round of copy edits, I do one last step before submitting the story to my publisher. I copy the manuscript into a reading program and have the story read to me. It is amazing how many things you will catch when someone else is reading it. I've found typos, grammatical errors, and even content errors during the reading phase of edits.

There are lots of free reader programs out there. I personally use Natural Reader, but there are many others. Any text to speak program should do. Happy writing!
Brenda Sparks has always loved all things spooky and enjoys incorporating paranormal elements in her writing. She refuses to allow pesky human constraints to get in the way of telling the story. Luckily the only thing limiting her stories is her imagination. Her characters are strong, courageous, and she adores spending time with them in their imaginary world.
Her idea of a perfect day is one spent in front of a computer with a hot cup of coffee, her fingers flying over the keys to send her characters off on their latest adventure.



 Brenda Sparks’ novel, Alpha Lover, a Hot Paranormal Romance, is currently on sale. Here’s its blurb.

Starved for blood, vampire, Nicholai Peterhof is greatly relieved when two tourists, in Russia for the Christmas holiday, decide to grace his restaurant, but one sip from the pretty brunette and his world is forever turned upside down. Juliette Staint-John is everything he could have asked for in a heartmate; pretty, smart, built with curves in all the right places…and totally unavailable.

Juliette doesn’t want anything to do with the handsome, young-looking Nicholai. As if their differences aren’t enough, the acute grief over the loss of loved ones keeps her heart guarded. He may be her fantasy, but that’s all he can ever be.

To get past Juliette’s defenses and in order to keep her safe, Nicholai must prove himself worthy of her love and trust. Unbeknownst to the couple, her personal demons are not the only ones threatening their relationship. Hiding virtually unseen by the vampires, Demon Royalty plots to destroy not only the couple but the entire vampire breed. Luckily, Nicholai will do anything for Juliette—even if it means sacrificing himself.

And here’s the excerpt.

She had only a second to realize Nicholai stood in the doorway before Desmond’s powerful thighs brought him to the door in a single bound.

He grabbed Nicholai’s shirt with one hand, his other made a fist that landed squarely on Nicholai’s jaw.

Nicholai’s head snapped back. Shock took his face. With a mighty push, Nicholai threw Desmond backward across the room into one of the flowery couches. It moved under his weight, crashed into the end table, and the Tiffany lamp tumbled to the floor.

Julie’s eyes went wide. The two men became a blur of motion, bodies flying apart then back together. She had to concentrate to make out the shapes of hard forms in the powerful whirlwind.

Connor pulled, lunging at the whirling mass. His deep growls and barks added to the chaos as the two males swirled around the living room. They spun around the room like a tornado, moving so fast Juliette’s eyes did not register their kicks and punches. However, she heard bones crunch and the slap of skin while the two exchanged blows.

The furniture that exploded when the blurry mass neared evidenced the fierceness of their battle. Julie watched one piece of furniture after the next burst into pieces. First her delicate coffee table, next the end table where the Tiffany lamp had been, then the rocking chair. When the mass moved toward the antique credenza, Juliette screamed.

Her beautiful roses sprayed about the room. Red petals floated slowly to the floor in surreal contrast.


Want Alpha Lover for Only $0.99? Pick up a Kindle copy on Amazon.
Buy the Book On Amazon.
Don’t want a Kindle copy? Get a copy at one of these other fine retailers.
Buy the Book on Barnes and Noble.
Buy the Book on iTunes.
Buy the Book on Kobo.
Buy the Book from The Wild Rose Press.
If you’d like to contact Brenda, you can find her at these links.
Visit the Author’s Website.
Visit the Facebook Fan Page.
Visit the Twitter Page.
Visit the Goodreads Page.bve3


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Legion of Regrettable Super-Villains



BOOKLOG 66: LEGION OF REGRETTABLE SUPER-VILLAINS
by Jon Morris

A followup to the author’s remarkable League of Regrettable Super-Heroes, this book takes a look at the super-villains that have threatened the super-heroes, both regrettable and not, since super-heroes began to protect the denizens of the comic book worlds. While I absolutely loved the predecessor, I found this book harder to get into, mainly because these super-villains were so much more…regrettable. I actually felt sorry for the villains because they were so awful! But that in its way is its charm; the villains are goofy and their downfall, because of that, is inevitable.

For example, there’s the villain who devised how to put poison into brick (and no, how is apparently never explained, nor whether it’s feasible to carry some around for nefarious purpose). His name is Brickbat, but there’s an elegance in naming, right? There’s Bloor, the dictator of Uranus (the author has much too much fun with juvenile jokes, and how can you blame him?), Captain Black Bunny—yes, a bad bunny. So cute, so evil! The Horrible Hand, the wicked version of the officious and useful version of The Addams Family’s Thing, I would guess; and along the same lines, there’s Mr. Pointer, the Finger of Fate (not to be mistaken with the Fickle Finger of Fate, of course). Also Robbing Hood, who really is the robs everyone for himself, and Sinistro, Boy Fiend. Just “Boy Fiend” would do, but no, it’s Sinistro, Boy Fiend!

What I found particularly funny but it makes sense is that many of these villains have their authors as uncredited. Which makes sense, of course. If you wanted to keep working, would you want to admit to having created some of these? Nevertheless, there are still notables in the industry who did cop to inventing some of these sad sacks of comics, notables such as Otto Binder, SF author and classic comics writer; Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit; Stan Lee; William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman; Joe Simon, a giant of the industry (you may be familiar with a character named Captain America); and the Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman. I can only assume that even the greats can be stumped for an idea once in a while and come up with one of these.

One of these like Ugly Man. Doctor Bong. The Generic Man. The Ghetto-Blaster. Yep. A late night, a headache…and you come up with one of these.

Overall, these villains are well regrettable. And they’re even funny, once you get over what pathetic creatures they are. Both this book and its companion should be read together to get the right effect; the reader will be reminded that evolution works in this way, too, with the best (or more likely to be regarded as logical) super-heroes to survive and the less logical to be forgotten, and the same goes for super-villains. Once I got over how sorry I felt for these regrettable super-villains, I enjoyed the book. And so will you.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Prophecy of Solstice's End- a Cover Reveal

Today, I've something exciting for you--a cover reveal! Diantha Jones has sent us an advance peek at her latest release.


Summer Solstice is here. Let the games begin.
Nothing but lies (some of them her own) and deceit have brought Chloe to Olympus for the Solstice Olympic Games. As the Oracle and the special guest of the King of Myth, Chloe becomes immersed in a life of unfathomable luxury, taunting history, and overwhelming excitement. Though scheming and untrustworthy, the gods remain on their best behavior as the tension and anticipation builds around the outcome of the Quest of the Twelve Labors, the deadliest competition of the Games. All seems well on the celestial front...until athletes start turning up dead and a philosopher missing for months returns with a most terrifying story...
But that’s not all.

As Strafford confronts his troubled past and more is learned about the Great Unknown Prophecy, Chloe grows close to another, setting off a chain of events that will bring her face-to-face with a truth that will rock both of her worlds to their core.

And it’ll all happen before Solstice’s end...


Book Links:
Amazon  | B&N | Goodreads

 Author Bio:
Diantha Jones loves writing fantasy books filled with adventure, romance, and magic. She's the author of the Oracle of Delphi series, the Mythos series, and the Djinn Order series (as A. Star). When she isn’t writing or working, she is reading or being hypnotized by Netflix. She is a serious night-owl and while everyone else is grinning in the warmth and sunlight, she’s hoping for gloominess and rain. Yeah, she’s weird like that.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads (A. Star) | Amazon | Pinterest | DJ's Book Corner



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Talking About Super-Heroines


By Eilis Flynn


I'm giving a presentation about how to create super-heroines to the Evergreen Romance Writers of America chapter in a couple of weeks. I've given variations of this, but like life (super-hero life, at least), it's updated and refreshed a bit. And in honor of those super-females, here's a Q&A on the topic that may or may not be up your alley:

How are super-heroines created? To get some idea, let’s look at some Qs and their As about some super-heroines in pop culture!

Q: Who was the first super-heroine of the 20th century? (See, I have to be specific about the century, but I’ll get into that later.)
A. Wonder Woman
B. Miss Fury
C. Edith Cavell
D. Sonya

The answer is (B). Believe it or not, it wasn’t Wonder Woman. Journalist Tarpe Mills came out with Miss Fury almost a year before psychiatrist Charles Moulton Marston, the developer of the X-ray machine, introduced Wonder Woman. And Mills came out with her character on her own, as opposed to Marston, who spearheaded a committee to come up with Wondie. Wonder Woman is notable because she battled evil through the 1940s and the 1950s and went on from there, never really going away to this day, while Miss Fury fought crime in one incarnation or another before she went off into the sunset in 1953. (Wonder Woman, of course, continues to live, no matter how many versions of male creators try to kill her off. I'm certainly looking forward to her movie debut!)

Edith Cavell was a real-life hero of World War I, a nurse who worked on the front. Amazing woman! But not our topic today.

Of course, Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, also introduced a woman warrior in a short story. It wasn’t a very big intro in 1934, and only diehard fans remembered her, but decades later, in 1973, Marvel Comics came up with Red Sonja, based on Howard’s character. There were big differences between Howard’s Sonya and Marvel Comics’ Red Sonja. Howard’s feisty character, who showed up in just one short story, was based in modern times, while Marvel’s Sonja was a contemporary of Conan the Barbarian and also held her own in a fight. Also interesting, but also not our topic today.

Q: Who’s the comic chick who went from girl to woman to girl?
A: Wonder Woman
B: Hawkgirl
C: Supergirl
D: Disco Dazzler

Sorry for the broad hint! Ahem. The answer, of course, is (B). Before super-heroines were big—and super-heroes had barely come on the scene themselves—there was Shiera Sanders, introduced in 1940, just a while after Superman and Batman. But she wasn’t super yet; she was super-hero Hawkman’s girlfriend. By 1941 she had gained super-powers and she fought alongside Hawkman as Hawkgirl. She faded after World War II, but a new version was introduced in 1963, by then Hawkman’s wife—but she was still Hawkgirl. Twenty years later, Hawkgirl became Hawkwoman, but she wasn’t any stronger and she was still very much a sidekick. Another twenty years later, she was Hawkgirl again—but there wasn’t a Hawkman in sight. She was also more likely than not to relax by starting a brawl than taking a bubble bath. (Her secret identity moniker went between Shiera and Shayera, but again, not the point.) The latest version of Hawkgirl was part of the TV series Legends of Tomorrow. She’s as persistent as Wonder Woman herself!

Wonder Woman, of course, was always Wonder Woman (A). There were Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot too, but they were different characters.

Supergirl was always Supergirl (C). There has been a “Superwoman” from time to time, but only for a single story line, and never for long. And of course, she’s got a TV series of her own these days!

Disco Dazzler (D)…oh, that’s a topic for a whole ‘nother workshop!

Q: For those of you who’ve seen the Marvelverse movies, what about the character that Scarlett Johansson portrays? Codenamed Black Widow, Natasha Romanova (1964) was:
A: A Russian spy
B: A ballerina
C: An actual widow
D: All of the above, depending on whom you ask

Natasha has been a complex and many-lived character (D). That black catsuit she often sports? Not original to her. That costume she’s become best known for only began to be her usual outfit in 1970. No, Emma Peel (1965) of the British TV adventure series The Avengers(!) wore the sleek black catsuit before the Black Widow. Natasha started off as a Russian spy who later defected, becoming at one point a freelance agent of the government agency SHIELD. At one point she was implanted with false memories of having been a ballerina; at another point it was revealed she was married, but her husband faked his death before he ultimately died; and she dated Daredevil, Hawkeye, and others. Busy, but when you’re one of a relatively small pool of super-heroines in a mostly male genre, you probably have your pick.

Q: Why was 1976 a notable year for heroines of all stripes?
A: Miss Piggy was introduced
B: The original Charlie’s Angels debuted
C: Phoenix of the X-Men was revealed
D: Apple Computer was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

Kidding! A, B, C, and D all happened. (For those of you who are curious, Jean Grey of the X-Men was first known as Marvel Girl, then became known as Phoenix or Dark Phoenix in the “new” X-Men depending on whether she was threatening to destroy all of humanity, but mostly as Jean Grey. Also popping up in the Marvelverse are Miss Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Captain Marvel, all female. There was a male Captain Marvel, but he was killed off. Also not to be confused with DC Comics’ Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel—male—both of whom must be the topic of yet another workshop, and that Captain Marvel was recently renamed Shazam. So if you’re a longtime Marvel Comics fan, their favorite phrase “Make Mine Marvel” has many layers.)

Q: Why do we remember Supergirl (1959) and Batgirl (1967)?
A: One is Superman’s cousin and the other is not related to Batman at all
B: From their movies. Oops, sorry, Batgirl never had her own movie, and the Supergirl movie is not spoken of in polite company. Alicia Silverstone as “Batgirl” in the Clooney version of Batman isn’t spoken of, either
C: No idea
D: The possibilities are endless!

It’s (D)! Remember when I mentioned that “Superwoman” as a character has popped up from time to time, but never for long? Supergirl has been the cousin since her introduction in the late 1950s, and she’s stayed that way. (She does have a doppelganger of sorts in the form of Power Girl, the slightly older and definitely more zaftig clone/parallel dimension version, who has gone through a number of different changes.) The same isn’t true for Batgirl. Since the version you’re probably most familiar with is Barbara Gordon (Commissioner Gordon’s daughter or niece, depending on the writer), it may come as a surprise to you that before a series of recent company-wide resets of the DC universe, Barbara fought crime as wheelchair-bound Oracle, leaving the titles of “Batgirl” and “Batwoman” to others. For the moment, anyway.

Q: Not precisely a super-heroine, but she’s pretty darn super nonetheless: How many incarnations has the declared dead ex-junkie turned deadly assassin Nikita had since she was first introduced in 1990?
A: One
B: Two
C: Three
D: Four

Oh, this one’s a gimme (D). La Femme Nikita was the original French film, which came out in 1990 (with Annie Parillaud); Americans were so intrigued by it that they came up with their own version under the title Point of No Return in 1993 (with Bridget Fonda as the lead character, renamed Nina); TV got interested in the character and came up with Peta Wilson (1997–2001); and the latest one on TV just ended with Maggie Q as Nikita (2010–13). It’s had four incarnations in 20 years. Why is this character so popular? We’ll discuss it in my workshop!

Over the years, Eilis Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, a young adult, a graphic novella, and self-published historical fantasies and short stories (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). Check out eilisflynn.com if you’re curious about them. As Elizabeth Flynn, she’s also a professional editor and has been for more than 35 years, working with academia, technology, finance, romance fiction, and comic books. She can be reached at emsflynn.com. Most days, she hangs out at Facebook at eilis.flynn. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A New Release- Only a Mistress Will Do


Looking for something new to read? Jenna Jaxon would like you to check out her new release—Only a Mistress Will Do.

The man of her dreams . . . belongs to another woman.

Destitute and without friends, Violet Carlton is forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure in London. She steels herself for her first customer and is shocked when the man rescues her instead of ravishing her. A grateful Violet cannot help but admire the handsome Viscount Trevor. But she must curb her desire for the dashing nobleman she can never have because he is already betrothed to another . . .

Tristan had gone to the House of Pleasure for a last bit of fun before he became a faithful married man. But when he recognizes the woman in his bed, he becomes determined to save her instead. Now, his heart wars with his head as he falls for the vulnerable courtesan. Unable to break his betrothal without a scandal, Tris resolves to find Violet proper employment or a husband of her own. Still, his arms ache for Violet, urging him to abandon propriety and sacrifice everything to be with the woman he loves. . . .

ORDER LINK:  https://www.amazon.com/Only-Mistress-Will-House-Pleasure-ebook/dp/B01I85NPZ0/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8




Here’s an excerpt.

“You heard me playing?” She didn’t know whether to be excited or terrified.
“I came in about halfway through. Just before you broke free.” Straightening, he handed her the sheets of parchment. “It was like watching a bird leave the ground and soar.” His fingers brushed her palm as he passed the music to her.
The spark that leaped from him to her sent her reeling. She stumbled back and he caught her wrist, scalding her, making her tremble inside.
“I do beg pardon. I shouldn’t have startled you so. Come, sit down here.” He escorted her to a chair before the fire. “Let me get Mrs. Parker. She had brought the tea tray while you were playing, but I selfishly sent it back.” His eyes were warm and dark. “I didn’t want you to stop.” He disappeared into the passageway, calling for the cook.
Torn between the elation of playing music again and the shock of Tristan’s touch, Violet sat in the chair, allowing the warmth of the fire to soothe her for a moment or two, until he reappeared. At least he had liked her playing, although she was mortified he’d heard her stumble so badly at the end. She would practice hard so when he heard her again he would be even more pleased. And she did want to please him. A small repayment for his numerous kindnesses, but something within her power to do.
Tristan entered bearing the tea tray himself and she rose, holding out her hands to take it from him.
“No, my dear. Please sit.” He nodded to her chair and she sank down again. “You’ve given me a treat after a long and taxing day, so indulge me by allowing me to serve you.” Once he had settled the tray on the music chest, he pulled a small flute-edged table in front of her. “Mrs. Parker assures me the shortbread came out of the oven not ten minutes ago.”
Violet inhaled aromas of fragrant tea and sweet pastry and her stomach gave a growl. She clamped her hands over the offending organ as heat rushed to her face. Curse it. Just when she might have become comfortable with him.
“You are ready for tea, I see.” He grinned, taking some of the embarrassment out of the moment. “Well, I could tell you have worked hard for it. That is why you are so accomplished.”
“Not very accomplished now,” she said, accepting a napkin from him.
“Nonsense. I’ve no musical ability myself, but I recognize true talent when I hear it. Sugar? Milk?” He poured a cup, then hovered over the bowl of sugar with a pair of tongs.
“One lump and a splash of milk, please. I have not played for a very long time. And even longer since I had the opportunity to practice regularly.” She sipped the tea, deliciously hot and sweet, and took a bite of the still warm petticoat tail. “Ummm.” Violet couldn’t hold back the sigh of contentment. The confection all but melted on her tongue.
“Mrs. Parker’s shortbread would rival Mrs. McLintock’s I’m sure.” He leaned back in his chair opposite her and crunched into a wedge. It disappeared in two bites and he reached for another one.
“Who is Mrs. McLintock?”
“The Scottish woman who apparently invented shortbread about thirty years ago.” When he laughed, his face turned boyish. “At least she gets the credit for writing it down in a recipe book before anyone else. Mrs. Parker told me the first time she baked them for me.” His laughter died as he looked at her, his gaze traveling from her head to her feet. “I see you met with Madame Angelique.”
“Yes, I did. It was quite a surprise.” Completely aware of his scrutiny, Violet sat straighter and smoothed out her skirt. “I cannot thank you enough, my lord.”
He glared at her over the shortbread. “My lord?”
“Tristan. Tris.” She blushed and could do absolutely nothing about it. “You have been more than generous to me. I cannot think how I shall ever repay you.” There. She had given him the opportunity to issue the suggestion she still half expected. Better to get it out in the open and be done with it.
He raised his eyebrows as he lifted his teacup to his lips.
Those very full, very sensual lips she could still feel kissing her body.
“Can you not, my dear? Perhaps I can think of a way you could repay me that will be to our mutual satisfaction.” Tris set his cup down and took her hands.
Her pulse raced and her mouth dried to dust.
“Will you become my mistress?”

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical in all time periods because passion is timeless.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as Vice-President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has three series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France.

She currently writes to support her chocolate habit and she’s been pretty successful at it. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing her about writing, her life and her new release.


1. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I always seem to learn more the more I write. This book taught me about varying sentence structure and to try to make my characters’ lives as miserable as possible before giving them an HEA.

2. What do you do when you are not writing?
When not writing I have a day job that includes teaching and theatre. I also love to read and binge watch TV shows with my daughters.

3. What is #1 on your bucket list?
To ride in a hot-air balloon. I’m deathly afraid of heights, but I think hot-air balloons are so beautiful and so airy, I just want to go up in one.

4. Do you have a favorite fictional character by another author you’d like to meet?
Beowulf Malloren, Marquess of Rothgar from Jo Beverley’s Malloren series. God, is he HOT!

5. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Of Mistress? I think my favorite parts to write was the beginning when Violet is about to become a prostitute in the House of Pleasure. I really enjoyed trying to make the reader sympathize with her.

6. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Fact checking against the other two books in the series. I had to make sure the dates worked out correctly and that the timeline worked out with travel times in the 18th century. Very detailed work!

7. Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?
My H/h are some of my favorite characters. I put them through as much emotional baggage as possible and kept turning the screws. But Tris is tough and gallant and honorable. Violet is plucky and warm and generous. They weren’t inspired by any real person, though.

8. How did come up with your villain? Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

No, the villain just sort of sprung up of necessity. He’s one of my nastier villains—I’m quite proud of him, actually.

9. Do you read the same genre you write?
I do. I love historical romance. I read other genres—just finished a contemporary and am reading a sci-fi romance, and I love Stephen King as well. But historical romance is my first love.

10. What led you to write this book?
I was reading a Mary Balogh book, A Precious Jewel, and the situation of her heroine led me to ask, “What would it be like for a lady to have to sell herself in a brothel just in order to keep from starving? What would it be like to have her first customer?” And Mistress was born!
11. What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Married to the Cyborg by Cara Bristol.

Favorites Flash Round:
Martial arts move: Huh?
Weapon: Rapier
Beverage: Iced Tea
Book boyfriend: Jamie Fraser
Animal: Cat
Comedy: Notting Hill
Comeback line: Only if I like you
Ice cream: Heavenly Hash
Movie:  Argo
Video Game: Tetris
TV show: The West Wing or Downton Abbey depending on my mood
Drink: Miami Vice
Shoes: Flats
Artist: Van Gogh
Sports team: Washington Redskins
Guilty pleasure: Writing!

If you’d like to know more about Jenna or her new release, here are her links.

BLOG:  https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Jenna_Jaxon

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Jaxon/146857578723570

 
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