Friday, September 30, 2011

Night Number One at Ellora's Cave Romanticon

As some of you know, Annette and I ventured out to the Ellora's Cave Romanticon this year.  Today is Friday and it marks the first full day of the convention.  Our day started with a yummy breakfast, followed by several different workshops.  We learned how to turn anything into a sex game, all about the 31 flavors of sex, and how to be an exotic dancer.


To make the day even better, we got to watch-and participate-in an actual photo shoot with the Ellora's Cave cover models.  Nothing like having a hot guy groping you in front of a camera to make you feel sexy. 


Once finished with the photo shoot and workshops, we got ready for the cave party.  Once there, we were treated to two groups of models doing a primitive dance while wearing nothing but loinclothes.




After a good meal, we danced the night away with several hunky guys, then finished the night getting our picture taken with the group of models.




Tomorrow starts Day Two of the festivities, and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

-Carla

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Blog: If I Bought You a Box of Commas by Bernadette Marie


If I Bought You a Box of Commas

by Bernadette Marie



The rejections letter, more often than not, will tell you that your work just isn’t right for the company or agent that you have submitted to. Okay, that one is an easier pill to swallow, yes, even though you have an original story no one has told before. It’s the harsh words that bite when you get them, and if you’re an author and you're submitting your work to agents, editors, houses, or contests—you’re going to get them.


Here are a few of my favorites. The first contest I ever submitted to the first judge LOVED my story. She could smell the fire that burned in the first few chapters. That was great! I had conveyed my message. The next judge said it was too slow paced. Well, yeah. It took me a while to realize that thirty pages in is way too much to not even have your hero or heroine in the same book together. (No matter how long it took, I learned something there.)


There are the hurtful critiques like the judge who asked, “If I buy you a box of commas will you use them?” Hurtful! Or the judge in the SAME contest that gave me all high scores, and no comments at all. But mixed in with that comma comment, and the high scoring non-comment judge, was the judge that told me my heroine sucked so much she’d never buy me. WOW!


The purpose behind contests is to learn, right? Oh, I learned. I didn’t submit anymore.


It took a long time for me to gather my courage again. Sure, I looked at my work real hard. Yes, I didn’t use commas correctly. (My editor might still argue that I do, but now I’m in the position that she looks for them for me.) I see why the other judge wouldn’t buy me, ever. Because the small snippet of the book that she was reading didn’t have anything but boring information, there was no character interaction. I get it now, but the delivery of those comments nearly cost me a career that I wanted so much.


When I was finally picked up by a small house, it was my personality and my self-marketing that sold me. It was a short lived relationship, but what it gave me was experience and education beyond words. The first editor she picked for me said, “When she rewrites it and fixes all the tells vs. shows, I’ll edit it.” Well, without guidance how do I know if I’ve told you or shown you? This is an amateur’s mistake. The next editor, who will remain my editor for life, took my book and scene by scene, yes…scene by scene, we broke it down and she taught me how to write. Oh I could weave a good story, but to write and capture the audience, she taught me that. I learned how to stop POV shifts. I learned how to put things in order so it read right. After six books together we can almost read each other’s thoughts. As I edit, I hear her telling me what she would think. She molded me, and if she said she’d bought me a box of commas, because of her diligence to help me become a better writer, I’d use those commas.


Two years later, I am now content editing books. It is amazing what a bit of constructive criticism with some pats on the back and pushes in the right direction can do to inspire and enlighten someone. I hope that the authors I edit will walk away having learned something. And to the unpublished authors to whom I will someday critique your books or judge your work, I promise to make sure you walk away with something that will help you along your journey as an author.


BIO:


Bernadette Marie has been an avid writer since the early age of 13, when she’d fill notebook after notebook with stories that she’d share with her friends.  Her journey into novel writing started the summer before eighth grade when her father gave her an old typewriter.  At all times of the day and night you would find her on the back porch penning her first work, which she would continue to write for the next 22 years. 

In 2007 – after marriage, filling her chronic entrepreneurial needs, and having five children – Bernadette began to write seriously with the goal of being published.  That year she wrote 12 books.  In 2009 she was contracted for her first trilogy and the published author was born.  In 2011 she (being the entrepreneur that she is) opened her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, and has released contemporary titles and will begin the process, eventually, of taking on other authors in other genres.  Also in 2011 she became co-owner of Seven Songs Press and will release a novella as part of an anthology with other very talented authors in November 2011.


Bernadette spends most of her free time driving her kids to their many events.  She is also an accomplished martial artist, working her way to her second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.  An avid reader, she enjoys most, the works of Nora Roberts and Karen White. She loves to meet readers who enjoy reading contemporary romances and she always promises Happily Ever After.


LINKS:
WEBSITE: http://www.bernadettemarie.com/
BLOG: http://www.authorbernadettemarie.com/
EMAIL: info@bernadettemarie.com
FACEBOOK:www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie 
TWITTER: @writesromance


BLURB FOR THE EXECUTIVE’S DECISION:


Regan Keller fell in love with a wealthy and powerful man once. He was her boss. When that turbulent relationship ended, she swore she’d never again date someone she worked with. That was before she literally fell into her new boss’s lap.


Zachary Benson is the head of a successful empire and used to getting what he wants in the boardroom and outside of it – and what he wants is Regan Keller. He’s determined to convince Regan that even though he’s her boss, they can share a life together.


However, when Regan’s past threatens to destroy the architectural firm Zach has invested his entire career in, he has to make an executive decision whether to choose his business or fight for the woman he loves.


EXCERPT FROM THE EXECUTIVE’S DECISION


Chapter One


     Thunder rippled through the gray clouds that loomed overhead. Regan Keller raised her eyes to the sky. Please, please don’t rain. As she sent up the silent prayer, she felt the first drop hit her forehead.
     The nervous flutter in her stomach quickened as she looked down at her watch. Surely her day couldn’t get any worse. But the sky opened up, and those around her crowded together in the bus stop shelter. Her hair, tied in a tail at the base of her neck, dripped rain down her back as she hunched in her coat. How could she have forgotten her umbrella? Had her car been running, she’d have the one tucked safely away in the glove compartment because spring in Tennessee often meant sudden storms. She should carry one in her bag but had suffered a lapse in memory, having opted for the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the past two years.
     As the bus arrived, those under the shelter huddled onto it ahead of her, claiming every seat. Soaking wet, Regan wedged herself between two people and held onto the handrail above her head. She looked out the window at the commuters driving themselves to work in the pouring rain. That should have been her.
     A bitter-faced old woman sat below her, her oversized bag occupying the next seat. Regan bent to ask her to move it, but the woman glared up at her and gave a grunt that sounded like a dog’s bark. Regan flinched and tried to look away. But she was compelled to keep an eye on the woman.
     The man to the other side of the vacant seat snickered. Regan looked down at him in his long black overcoat and perfect hair. Hemmed in between the old lady’s bag and an overweight man in a jogging suit, he was as pinned in his seat as she was to the people around her. She would have given him a piece of her mind for laughing at her had the bus not jolted to a sudden stop. It lurched forward then back and tossed Regan onto the man’s lap.
     “I would have offered you my seat,” he said with a bright grin as the bus lurched again.
     “Why, you…” She struggled to free herself, but the crowd moved in tightly around them as the bus bounced down the street. The pace of her heart kicked into gear and she could feel the sweat bead on her brow.
     She hadn’t been this close to a man in over a year, and the panic of having him actually hold her on his lap was making her more than uncomfortable. “I need to stand up.”
     “You might as well sit.” He wrapped his arms around her. “Doesn’t look like you’ll be standing again anytime soon.”
     Regan took a few deep and cleansing breaths. She forced down the panic that was filling her body and tried to push it away. Alexander Hamilton thought she was dead. There should be no danger in sitting on the lap of a nice-looking man. She should find it within her to enjoy the experience and focus on something else.
     He didn’t have an accent native to Tennessee like hers. Perhaps the rain had caught him off guard as well. If she didn’t relax, she’d have a heart attack, and this nice gentleman who wasn’t from Nashville would probably be blamed for her death on the bus on his way to work.
     Accepting her predicament at face value would be a prime opportunity to let go of bitter feelings for the opposite gender, though after what she’d been through, she wasn’t sure she could. The thought of ever loving another man or letting one touch her made her palms sweat and her stomach clench.
     The man smiled at her, and a dimple formed in his cheek. “This is your first time on this bus, isn’t it?” He pushed back a wet wisp of hair from her forehead, and she flinched away. “It’s always crowded, but I know I would have seen you.”
     “My car wouldn’t start this morning.” She pressed her hand to her jittery stomach and willed it to settle. “I start a new job today. Car trouble couldn’t have come at a worse time.”
     “New job? Congratulations. So what is this new job?”
     God, he was handsome, and wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the ride? But she wasn’t. “Executive assistant.” The words shook as she spoke.
     “Pretty important.”
     “You think it’s just some glorified secretary, don’t you?” She clenched her teeth and her fists. Why wouldn’t she be angry? The last man she’d worked for had interpreted the title executive assistant as a license to run her life and to ruin it.
     “No. I was serious. It’s a very important position.” He looked sincere. “So where is this new job?”
     “Benson, Benson and Hart.”
     “Real estate development.”
     “Yes.” Her breath was becoming harder to push through her lungs. “I should get off your lap.”
     “You’d ruin my day.” He laughed easily, so she tried to relax. “So whose executive assistant will you be?”
     “Zachary Benson’s.” She looked around for a space to stand.
     “CEO? He must have been very impressed with you.”
     “I’ve never met him. His current assistant is having a baby and leaving the company. He was out of town when she interviewed me.” She thought about Mary Ellen, his current assistant. The interview had had a motherly quality to it. She wasn’t sure whether it was because Mary Ellen was pregnant or that worried for her boss. “I think she takes good care of him. It’ll be a hard pair of shoes to fill.” And if that hadn’t had her stomach tied in knots, here she was having a conversation about it with a man she didn’t know while sitting on his lap. Had she completely forgotten the last man she’d gotten this close to tried to kill her?
     “I’m sure he’ll be pleased with her choice.”
     “Thank you.” She wanted to wiggle away from the hard muscles she could feel in his chest, from his arms that held her tight against him, and from the legs of a man who obviously kept in shape. She couldn’t, so she kept talking. “I hope he likes me. I can’t imagine him not wanting to meet me first.”
     “Maybe he’s ugly.”
     Finally a laugh rolled from her throat. “That’s not what Mary Ellen said.” She tucked in her lips. “She says he’s a hottie.”
     “Hottie?” His voice lit with humor. “Well, you’ll enjoy your job then.”
     “Strictly business here. I don’t get involved with the boss,” she said sternly. Not anymore. This was, after all, her chance to take back her life after making such a mistake.
     The bus stopped, and the old woman stood and grabbed her bag.
     “Move!” She shoved her way through the people who climbed on and made her way out the door. Before Regan could stand and claim a seat, the crowd around her pushed her closer against the stranger, whose arms wrapped tightly around her as others dropped down beside them.
     “Your stop is the next one,” he offered, and she nodded. “So what’s your name?”
     “Regan.”
     “You’re native to Tennessee, aren’t you? Your accent gives you away.”
     “I was born in Memphis. I spent most of my life in Nashville though. I did a stint in Los Angeles and then lived in Maui for the last two years. I missed home though.” The more she tried to suppress her nerves, the more she talked.
     “Los Angeles? Tried your hand at Hollywood?”
     “No.” She shook her head. “I worked for a prominent lawyer who had some big-name clients. But I wasn’t seeking fame and fortune.”
     “Well, Ms. Executive Assistant, I’m glad you came home or this would have been a very boring ride this morning.” The bus stopped, and most of the people began to move to the door. “This is your stop.”
     She finally stood and turned to exit with the crowd without looking back.
     The man caught her hand and held it. Her very core shook, and her first instinct was to rip her hand away. But she needed to move on and not be so damn afraid of every man that gave her attention.
     “Would you have lunch with me?” he asked.
     “What?” She looked back at people climbing on. If she didn’t exit the bus now, she’d miss her stop. “Oh, I don’t think so.”
     “Meet me at the hot dog stand at noon just on the north corner of your building,” he said with a wink and a nod.
     She couldn’t think to speak. She nodded as she hurried off the bus.
     The rain had subsided for the time being. Regan had almost dried off as she sat on the handsome man’s lap. The smell of his cologne lingered on her coat. She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of him.
     She stopped as she neared the door and turned to see the bus drive away. He was watching her from the window, and he waved. It occurred to her she didn’t even know his name.
     She looked down at her hands. They were shaking.
     Get over it. Move on. Not everyone wanted to hurt her. Not every man was evil with ulterior motives. No, some were just nice men who wanted to take you to lunch.
     Well, it wasn’t like he’d asked her to stay at a hotel. He’d offered to buy her a hot dog. Really, it was harmless. And he’d assume she was too busy with her new job if she just didn’t show up.
     But she wanted to.
     Well, there was no better time to move on with her life, and no better way to get to know the man on whose lap you’d ridden to work than over a hot dog.
     A tingle of hope shot through her. She needed to start taking back her life the way she wanted it. No more mistakes. No more regrets. It was her life now, and she was going to enjoy it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Mr. Darcy's Bite
by: Mary Lydon Simonsen
ISBN#9781402250774
$14.99 trade paperback
Sourcebooks Landmark
Historical Romance
Released: October 2011






The fiasco with her youngest sister behind her, Elizabeth realizes Darcy isn't the villian she originally portrayed him as.  She's willing to give him another chance to woo her, but his infrequent visits and dissapearing acts are beginning to wear on her nerves.  She begins to wonder if Darcy has lost interest in her.

When Darcy shows up with an invite to his country estate, she's thrilled, and secretly hopes he'll propose.  What he does instead is turn her world upside down.

Turns out Mr. Darcy is a werewolf, and the reason he's been absent so much is due to his monthly change.  As Alpha of his pack, he's been kept busy with hunters out to get him and those under his care, not to mention keeping peace within the Pack itself. 

Now Elizabeth must make a terrible choice, one that will affect not only her own happiness, but the happiness of the one man she's come to truly care about. 



This was an interesting take on the traditional Pride and Prejudice story.  In this one, Darcy was bitten by a werewolf as a child and now turns furry for three days and nights a month.  He loves Elizabeth but is afraid of her reaction once she finds out, but knows he must lay all his cards out before he can ask for her hand in marriage.  This book picks up right after Lydia's forced marriage, and the author did a wonderful job blending the two stories together.  She's very true to the old world way of speaking, and despite the werewolf factor, this is an amazing addition to the world of Pride and Prejudice.

Carla gives this book a




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Book Week is September 24 - October 1

This article has been taken from the address listed below, and I think they've summed it up better than I could.  We give thanks to all the booksellers, librarians, teachers, and others who have helped devote their time to making sure our literature isn't taken away from us.
http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm

September 24−October 1, 2011

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. In 2011, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, and PEN American Center also signed on as sponsors.

To access a list of some banned titles, please click the link below.

http://www.mchsmedia.com/uploads/2/7/2/7/2727950/banned_books_list2011.pdf

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review: Unleashed by Sara Humphreys


Unleashed
Amoveo Legend #1
by: Sara Humphreys
ISBN#9781402258435
$6.99 mass market paperback
Sourcebooks
Paranormal Romance
Released: October 2011





Samantha Logan decides to give up the city life and go back to where she feels comfortable and safe her childhood home.  The dreams she that began before the move continue and now begin to confuse her of what is real and what is a dream, especially after meeting her neighbor.

Malcom is an Amoveo a shapeshifter who has always known that Samantha was his mate even before they set eyes on each other he was already connected to her.  But, she has no knowledge of whom or what he is but he will do everything he can to hang on to her and keep her safe.

When trouble heads straight for Sam she realizes that she has no choice but to trust her secretive neighbor Malcom who says he can protect her and she soon discovers there is more to the man then she knew and when he tells her that she is also of the Amoveo clan she is unsure of what or who to believe.  Can she really trust a man who thinks he is something more than human and what will happen if she walks away from him after he has stolen her heart?


 
UNLEASHED is the debut novel for Sara Humphrey’s and the first in the Amoveo Legend and may I say AWESOME!!!!  I could not put it down.  I know there are many shifter books hitting the shelves but I love the way Sara writes about the Amoveo a story that captivates the reader with action and romance.  You will get to meet many of the secondary characters that I am sure will be showing up again hopefully in their own books.    

Annette gives this book a

 
 

Review: Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen

Lord and Lady Spy
Lord and Lady Spy #1
by: Shana Galen
ISBN#9781402259074
$6.99 mass market paperback
Sourcebooks
Historical Romance
Released: September 2011




 
Lady Sophia Smythe has been a spy ever since she can remember now the war is over and a spy is no longer needed.  What is she to do with her time now, spend it with her husband who knows nothing of how she spends her time not likely?

Lord Adrian Smythe has been told something he thought he would never hear that his skills as a spy are not needed.  Now it is balls and like with his wife that he must brave.

When the Smythe’s learn that there is one open spot for a spy still needed it is not war between the Smythes, but what neither one knows is that they are fighting against each other.  As they finally learn the identity of the other spy they soon find that they did not know each other at all.  Is it possible for them to salvage their marriage and only have one spy in the house?


 
Loved, it, loved it, loved it!!!  Battle of the spies and spouses as Sophia and Adrian soon learn they go together.  Full of suspense but still romantic and a real page turner with lots of action and humor it gives a reader everything you could ever look for in a story.  I look forward to seeing what Shana Galen has coming next.

Annette gives this book a

 
 

Review: Magic on the Hunt by Devon Monk

Magic on the Hunt
Allie Beckstrom #6
by: Devon Monk
ISBN#9780451463913
$7.99 mass market paperback
Roc Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: April 2011





After rescuing the man she loves from death's door-literally-Allie's ready for some down time.  Too bad the forces that be don't agree with her.  Before she knows it, her and Zayvion are tasked with tracking down the missing leader of the Authority, who'd been kidnapped during the wild storm battle.  After the battle, very few mages were still left on the side of good, leaving their numbers severely depleted.  Now she, Zayvion, and a ragtag team must find their missing leader before it's too late.

What's worse, the Authority has come under scrutiny from the higher ups, leaving Allie and gang very little time to set things right before marshall law is declared on the Authority.  And a change of leadership right now is something they'll try to avoid at all costs.



In this book the stakes get raised, because a change of leadership means a total overhaul of how the Authority is run, meaning Allie's somewhat gray area uses of magic will no longer be tolerated.  This one was an edge of your seat thriller.  I lost so much sleep while reading this series, but it was totally worth it to me.  Now I'm stuck because I've read them all so far, and now I have to wait for the next one to hit bookshelves. 

Carla gives this book a
 

Review: Magic at the Gate by Devon Monk

Magic at the Gate
Allie Beckstrom #5
by: Devon Monk
ISBN#9780451463623
$7.99 mass market paperback
Roc Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: November 2010





In the battle that raged during the wild storm, Zayvion's soul somehow got sucked into the realm of the dead.  Uncaring of the consequences, Allie followed, taking only her pet gargoyle and her manipulative ghost father with her.  She knew the chances of saving him were slim, but she also knew she couldn't live with herself if she didn't at least try.

Once there she must learn to navigate a world unlike her own, where danger lurks around every bend and monsters aren't hiding in the shadows, but rather walking down the streets.  When she finds Zayvion, she's given a choice--give up part of her magic, or never see the man she loves again.  If she does, then that could spell disaster for not only herself, but the whole world.  If she doesn't, then Zayvion dies for good. 



This story delves deep into the sacrifices we make for the ones we love, and how far we're willing to go to keep our loved ones safe, even if the cost is far more than we're willing to pay.  Allie must evaluate her life and decide what she's willing to give up for a man she loves, but she must also try and figure out what her dad's angle is in the whole scheme.  This book picks up right where the last one left off, and I was really glad I didn't have to wait between the two books to read them, or else I might have gone crazy with waiting.  I love how the series is one continuous story woven together, and the secondary characters help to make the story both believable and fantastic.  Love the series.

Carla gives this book a
 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Blog: There Are So Many Stories by Jean Brashear

THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES...


There are so many stories I want to share, so many tales I want to write. So many places I want to go in my head, so many what ifs I want to explore.


That's the beauty of indie publishing—for years now, I've had all kinds of characters I wanted to inhabit, countless situations I wanted to put myself in. I see a man walking fast away from an empty corner, no begging sign, no backpack, no car in sight...no obvious reason for him to be there, and...I wonder. My mind starts spinning out scenarios—where did he come from? Where is he headed? Maybe he's, I don't know, lost a dog or is an undercover agent or couldn't stand his job one more second or is wandering aimlessly, lost after a tragedy...


Or I hear a song—songs are small stories, after all—and I have to know what came before and what will happen after. That woman who left her man for the bright lights...is he waiting still? Did she ever come back? How powerful was that reunion? My mind conjures up more stories in a day than I'll ever live long enough to write...and I still want to try to write them all.


But what I don't want to do is write the same story, over and over. And that's exactly what traditional publishing wants a writer to do—find a groove that appeals to as large an audience of readers as possible...and stay there. Plow that field, that furrow, over and over and over. Except, of course, be original while doing it. Just not too original.


It's not the fault of the editors, who are every bit as avid and dedicated about stories as their writers. It's just business. Businesses have to make a profit or they don't stay in business; there's nothing evil about that. But it denies the very nature of a writer because we're all about hmmm, what if I....? I remember once hearing an interview with Patricia Cornwell in which she was literally begging her readers, please do not make me write Kay Scarpetta forever. I know you love her; I love her, too, but I need to spread my wings and try other things. Fly with me. Let me do this, and I promise you that both of us will be happier. (Though not verbatim, of course.)


But I get wanting a writer you love to keep writing characters you love. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series...I just want more and more and more of Jamie and Claire, don't you? Sir John is fine as a character within their stories, but Sir John by himself? Not for me, thank you. J K Rowling move on from Harry Potter? But, Ms. Rowling, couldn't you please just go back and have Voldemort, I don't know, reanimate or something? So we could watch Harry and Hermione and Ron go battle evil some more? I'm glad Nora Roberts has Eve Dallas and Roarke moving along at the rate of a month in their time takes two years in ours or whatever it is. I LOVE them. I can't bear to think of Jamie or Claire dying. I get it, I do.


So that's where indie publishing comes in. I've written all kinds of stories I never even tried to get published. I've got scads of ideas in my head. Maybe none of them will appeal to the audience I've been fortunate to have thus far, but with me as my publisher, I can decide to take that risk. Instead of tens of thousands, maybe I'll only have hundreds...or tens. Or ones. But that's okay because I get to crawl inside the skins of a wild array of characters via this route. It doesn't mean I don't want to write for the wonderful fans who've taken me to their hearts thus far—I do. I still like to tell a good, emotional romance.


But I've discovered I can be funny and not always gut-wrenchingly serious. I love to write suspense...and I can explore topics like obsession and delve into fantasies of a dark lover who will scorch your socks off, the way the reclusive, powerful, sorcerer figure named Dante Sabanne takes a no-nonsense cop like Jace Carroll and makes her question who she is and what she believes in SURRENDER. Or create an ancient Chinese legend that tears two lovers apart...until Lily and Damon and the Jade Dragon in THE PEARL OF PARADISE.


Or there's this four-book YA series I have sketched out. And there was the quirky tale I wrote for my own enjoyment that became THE GODDESS OF FRIED OKRA, for which I am unbelievably lucky that readers are asking for a sequel I'm actually mulling over.


So many stories I want to share...and now I can, thanks to the miracle of ebooks.


I am one lucky writer.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Elisabeth Naughton Contest Winners!!!

We have drawn the two winners who will get a copy of TEMPTED by Elisabeth Naughton using random.org and the winners are:
rebelovesbooks & Victoria

Please send your snail mail to annette@romfanreviews.com within the next 72 hours.

Congratulations to you both!!

~Annette~

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Magic on the Storm by Devon Monk

Magic on the Storm
Allie Beckstrom #4
by: Devon Monk
ISBN#9780451463272
$7.99 mass market paperback
Roc Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: May 2010





The Authority's received notice of a wild storm coming their way, one filled with enough magic to destroy Portland.  Allie has been asked to help, even though she's still in training and isn't considered a full-fledged member yet.  But with tensions running high within the Authority's walls and an internal war about to be raged, they need all the help they can get if they plan to hold off the storm and keep their city from total ruin.

Allie's all for it, but she finds she's having a hard time balancing three different lives--and three different sets of lies.  The Authority isn't known to anyone, so she can't even tell the group of Hounds she looks after about them.  If it were up to her, she'd bring the Hounds into the group, but she's been told in no uncertain terms should that happen, Allie can kiss her memories goodbye.  Speaking of memories, she's still freaked out by her dad being in her head, as well as the slew of his memories she gets treated to at the oddest hours.  She's nothing if not stubborn, though, so she'll just have to weather the storm out and see what happens.



This book really starts to focus on the Authority in all its dysfunctional glory.  It shows us how two different groups have become so opposite in their views and ideals that they're getting ready to go to war over it.  As the new girl, Allie's not sure where to place her loyalties, but she figures as long as she has Zayvion by her side, she can't go wrong.  These books are great because they flow so smoothly from one book to the other, making it seem as if each book is a mere chapter into the whole, letting us see only a portion of what's going on before we're forced to wait in eager anticipation for the next installment.  Thank goodness I've got six books to read all at once.  Awesome series.

Carla gives this book a

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk


Magic in the Shadows
Allie Beckstrom #3
by: Devon Monk
ISBN#9780451462879
$7.99 mass market paperback
Roc Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: November 2009





After taking down a drug dealer bent on revenge and stopping a plot to destroy the world, Allie finds herself no longer alone in her head. Somehow her father's soul has taken up residence and refuses to leave. Just what she needed. She never liked the man when he was alive, but knowing he's in her head, aware of everything she does and says, it's just too much. Desperate to reclaim her mind, she turns to Zayvion and the Authority for help, hoping they'll have the magical know-how needed to get her dad out of her head. The last thing she wants it to owe the elusive magical society anything, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

She's also got to deal with shadowed creatures that suck her magic every time she uses it, and a deranged magic-fueled monster out to destroy what remains of her father. Not only that, but she promised a dying friend she'd take care of the other Hounds in the city, but how do you protect someone who doesn't want to be protected?



These books are hard to write blurbs for because there are so many things going on in these novels at any given time, I'm afraid of giving anything away. The author manages to tie all the different conflicts in the story together in such a way that it seamlessly blends into one large story. Because of that, I feel that anything I say will only give it away. I will say to read these in order, otherwise you'll not only ruin the earlier books for yourself, but be hopelessly lost as well. The books just get deeper as they progress, and we find out more about magic and the world with each passing chapter. It's obvious Devon Monk has put a lot of careful thought into her novels, and it shows. If you haven't read these, they're a great addition to the urban fantasy genre.
 
Carla gives this book a




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Interview with Paranormal Romance Author Elisabeth Naughton


Welcome to RomFan Reviews Elisabeth it is a great honor to have you with us today.  

Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by! I’m thrilled to be here during my TEMPTED blog tour!

 Tell us a little about your upcoming release due out Oct. 1st Tempted.

I love talking about TEMPTED!
For those who are new to the series, the Eternal Guardians are seven warriors descended from the seven greatest heroes in all of Ancient Greece who defend the mortal realm from threats of the Underworld. TEMPTED is Demetrius’s book. He’s the biggest of the Guardians, a descendent of Jason, and he hides a dark and deadly secret that could lead to the end of the world. When the fragile and meek princess of Argolea goes missing, Demetrius is suddenly the only Guardian who can save her. But along the way he realizes nothing is as it seems. And contrary to what he’s always believed, she’s not the one who needs saving after all.

 You have two other books in the series that came out before this one MARKED and ENTWINED can you tell readers a little more about the two books.

Absolutely!
MARKED is the first book in the Eternal Guardians Series. Theron, the leader of the Guardians and a descendent of Heracles, is sent on a mission to find the one woman in the human realm who can complete an ancient prophecy to save his race. But she’s not quite what he expects, and through her he discovers that everything he’s always thought as truth about his race is nothing but a lie. And not even superhuman strength can save him from having to choose between her life and the fate of his race.



ENTWINED is the second book, and it’s Zander’s story. Zander is a descendent of Achilles, and after 829 years, he’s convinced he doesn’t have a vulnerability like every other Guardian from his line. Immortality should be a gift, but as eternity stretches before him without the soul mate he lost years before, his will to live wanes. As he searches for purpose, secrets long buried come to light, and a betrayal he never imagined suddenly put him on collision course with a destiny he thought he’d already lost.



There are many more Guardians left to tell their stories are you contracted for more and if so who will be the next Argonaut you write about?


My plan is to write a book for each Guardian, so as long as readers keep asking for books, I’ll do my best to find a way to publish them. Plus, there are outlying characters I want to write books for – Orpheus, Nick, Max, etc. – so I’ll be busy with the Eternal Guardians for quite some time.
The next book in the series is ENRAPTURED, which is actually Orpheus’s book. Though he isn’t one of the original seven Guardians, he plays a big role in the series, and in TEMPTED when his brother is injured, he finds himself sucked into the fray whether he wants to be or not. ENRAPTURED releases in April 2012 and picks up where TEMPTED leaves off. Here’s the blurb for ENRAPTURED:
ORPHEUS—To most he’s an enigma, a devil-may-care rogue who does whatever he pleases whenever he wants. Now this loose cannon is part of the Eternal Guardians­--elite warriors assigned to protect the human realm--whether he likes it or not.

Orpheus has just one goal: to rescue his brother from the Underworld. He’s not expecting a woman to get in the way. Especially not a Siren as gorgeous as Skyla. He has no idea she’s an assassin sent by Zeus to seduce, entrap, then ultimately destroy him.
Yet Skyla herself might have the most to lose. There’s a reason Orpheus feels so familiar to her, a reason why her body seems to crave him. Perhaps he’s not the man everyone thinks… The truth could reveal a deadly secret as old as the Eternal Guardians themselves.
ENRAPTURED will be followed by UNCHAINED (tentative title), book 5 in the Eternal Guardians series, in the fall of 2012.

Who is your favorite Guardian?

Oh, I love them all! That’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite. I love them each for different reasons, but traditionally, my favorite is the hero I’ve just FINISHED writing. Right now that’s Demetrius. My least favorite hero is always the one I’m writing now. (Those alpha males can be quite the challenge, let me tell you.)

What inspired you to begin writing?

I’ve always loved to read, and was a fairly decent writer in college, but I never planned to become an author. I used to make up stories in my head on my way to work every day, but I figured everyone did that. One day I was talking to someone about these stories and they said, “Um, no, that’s not normal.” It was then that I realized I should try my hand at writing, but I didn’t have the chance until I took a leave of absence from my teaching job. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing—not even my husband—but halfway through that first manuscript (that will never EVER be published), I was hooked. I knew I’d found what I was supposed to be doing.

With all that you have going on do you find time to sit down and read if so what are you reading now?

I love to read. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read as much as I used to. Right now I’m reading Catherine Mann’s COVER ME, a romantic suspense about Para rescue men (or PJs). After that I’m going to start Tawna Fenske’s MAKING WAVES, a light romantic comedy, and after that I have plans to read good friend Alice Sharpe’s latest Harlequin Intrigue Trilogy – the Open Sky Ranch books. I find it hard to read paranormals when I’m thick in the middle of one of my own books (I don’t like to be influenced by what other pnr authors are writing), so I save those for when I’m taking a break between books. 

Is there any advice you would give to those who are looking to write their own books?

Don’t give up! Not all the bestsellers on the shelves started off knowing how to write. Writing takes practice. Some authors sell their first book, some (like me) sell their fifth, others sell their 12th! There is no one right way to become published. As long as you’re working toward a goal, everything you do to get there is the right way. And the only difference between a published author and an unpublished author is that the published author didn’t give up.

Do you listen to music when writing or is it easier for you to have no background noise going? If music is playing who do you listen to?

When I’m plotting books I listen to music with lyrics. I make soundtracks for all my books – songs that for some reason make me think of a character or their situation – and I listen to those on my ipod while working out or while driving to keep me “in” the book when I’m away from my computer. When I’m physically writing though, I can’t listen to anything with words (I find myself singing along, which kicks me right out of the flow!). So when writing I listen to a lot of movie scores – Gladiator, Lord of the Rings and the Transformer scores are all favs of mine. 

Which do you prefer ebooks or the real deal?

I love both. I have a Nook, which I’m really enjoying. But I will always love a good paper book because I love to read in the bathtub (preferably with bubbles and a glass of wine!)     
    
 How can readers contact you and learn more about your books?

I love hearing from readers! To get in touch with me, visit me at:

Thank you so much Elisabeth for spending some time with us it was a pleasure having you here and we hope you come back.

Thanks for having me! To celebrate the release of TEMPTED, Sourcebooks is giving away two copies of TEMPTED to two lucky commenters! Just leave me a comment asking me…anything you’d like to know about me or the Eternal Guardians! (US/Canada Shipping only). Please include your email address with your comment.  Contest ends at 11:59PM EST Sunday, September 18th.


Read RomFan’s reviews of Elisabeth’s books including her upcoming release TEMPTED here:


Review: Magic in the Blood by Devon Monk


Magic in the Blood 
Allie Beckstrom #2
by: Devon Monk
ISBN#9780451462671
$6.99 mass market paperback
Roc Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: May 2009





Allie's had to suffer plenty for her use of magic, including gaps in her memories and the latest, magical tattoos she's not sure where they came from. When she learns she fell in love with a man she can no longer remember, she begins to wonder if the price for using magic isn't too high. Trying to move on with her life, she's offered a Hounding job with the secret magical branch of the police department. She takes it, never expecting for ghosts to pop out the try to suck down her magic. Turns out the barrier between the living and the dead is weakening, and Zayvion—the man she supposedly fell in love with—is smack dab in the middle of it all. Add to that a disgruntled drug dealer Allie put in jail who's free now and seeking revenge, and it's shaping up to be a really bad week.

Now Allie has to figure out a way to juggle everything going on, while staying alive long enough to save the city she cares about...again.



In book #2, poor Allie has so many problems being thrown at her, she's not sure where to start. Yet through it all, she manages to square her shoulders and do what needs to be done, even if she's not sure she'll live through it. The world and the characters are well-rounded and believable, and the author keeps the story moving so well you're sitting there unable to put the book down because you have to know what happens next. I've already lost sleep on these first two novels because I couldn't put them down until the books were done, and I have a feeling it'll be like that for the rest of the series as well.

Carla gives this book a









Monday, September 12, 2011

Review: Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

Magic to the Bone
Allie Beckstrom #1
by: Devon Monk
ISBN#9780451462404
$6.99 mass market paperback
Roc Books
Paranormal Fantasy
Released: November 2008





Thirty years ago magic was made available to the public, but it came with a heavy price. Every time you use magic, it uses you right back, most often in the form of pain. For some people, they don't want to pay the price themselves, so they Proxy the cost onto others. In rare cases, the Proxying is done illegally to innocents. That's when Allie steps in. Her job as Hound is to trace the unique magical signature back to the caster and have them arrested. Sure, she could have went into the family business, but since her father controls most of the town and has tried to control her for years, she figures she's better off on her own.

When she Hounds a hit on a sick boy, she's shocked to discover her father's signature all over it. She confronts him and tells him to make it right, only to find out later that day he's been murdered, and the cops think she did it. Knowing it's a misunderstanding, she goes to turn herself in, only to be stopped by a sexy mysterious stranger. He tells her there's more going on than she realizes, and suddenly she finds herself sucked into a world of shadowed societies and magic more potent than she ever thought possible. To survive it, it'll take all her considerable effort to navigate the twisted maze of lies and deception she's found herself in. But hey, nobody ever said being a Hound was easy.



Great start to a great series. It's a new take on magic that makes me believe if magic was real, this is how it would be. Allie is a solid character with solid morals and beliefs, and she's not afraid to fight for what she believes in. The book is detailed enough I could actually see, hear and smell things as they were being described, but it wasn't overdone. Great job, Devon Monk.

Carla gives this book a