Monday, September 24, 2012

Glowing praise!

A good friend from Facebook, Ms. Tammy Schweiger-McLaughlin, has written a wonderfully generous and glowing review of Chasing Shadows. Thank you so much, Tammy! Rest assured that there is more to come from this world I created, including more Lochlan. From the Shadows is Juliette's story, and Loch will have center stage in book three---so keep your eyes peeled!

Tammy's review can be read on her blog or at (Raven Payne is her Amazon username). Thanks once again, Tammy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On her birthday, YOU get the gift!

Tomorrow, September 21st, author Katie Jennings is having a birthday, and she's giving readers the gift of a FREE copy of her newest release, When Empires Fall. Make sure you head over to Amazon and grab yourself a copy!

When Empires Fall by Katie Jennings

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Promo Blog Tour Interview

I got an invite to participate in this fun exercise of posting a virtual interview, and I just couldn't resist! So here goes...

What is the working title of your book? The title is From the Shadows. The titles of the books are actually thematic, in that each has the word 'shadows' in it. First book title was Chasing Shadows.

Where did the idea come from for the book? It's part of a series, so it's a sequel to the first book. The main character, Juliette, had a supporting role in Chasing Shadows. From the Shadows is her story--she gets to be the star this time!

What genre does your book fall under? 
I have long been a fan of paranormal romances, so I knew that when I finally took the plunge into writing my own books, I'd probably start there. There's also a little suspense in it. But I've an interest in trying my hand at other genres as well, which is why here on my blog I say I'm a writer of contemporary romantic suspense as well. I've a romantic suspense series featuring firefighters in the planning stage.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Juliette Singleton - Ashley Greene
Race Covington - Alex Pettyfer
Mark Singleton - Jensen Ackles
Saphrona Caldwell - Kristen Bell
Lochlan Mackenna - Jonas Armstrong
Merrick - Isaiah Mustafa
Diarmid Mackenna - David Tennant 
Evangeline Mackenna - Keira Knightley

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? I only get one sentence? Ha ha. Okay, let me see... "She was his past, and he was her future."

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? The name of my blog answers that question. I'm self-publishing, though I've come up with a name for my own imprint: Black Room Press. I've long had this secret dream of publishing under my own label and this was the eye-catching name I came up with. All my books from here on out will have Black Room Press listed as the publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I'm still writing it, actually, though my first book only took me a combined total of about three months, I think.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I have a few in mind, but I think I'll let the readers make their own comparisons if they so choose.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Although I was 14 at the time and writing a Star Trek fan fiction story, my mother read the early draft and said, "You could write this stuff." I think that's what really has kept me going during those periods where I just don't feel like writing at all---that she believed in my talent long before I ever set my mind to writing professionally. About five years later I wrote a speculative script for Star Trek: Voyager (which I didn't have the courage to actually send in), and she very much enjoyed that as well. My mother has read the first book in this series and she wanted to know if I was going to write more, if characters like Juliette and Lochlan would be getting their own stories, which really helped boost my confidence. 

A lot of my story ideas also come from my dreams and my day dreams, those times when I let my mind just drift and do whatever it wants. Sometimes the most random thing will make me pause and say, "Hmm, I could write that into a story."

I'm also inspired by my favorite genre authors, like Christine Feehan, Deborah Cooke, Denise Grover Swank, and N.J. Walters. They've all written amazing paranormal romance series and been very successful at them.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? I think one thing that set my first book apart was that it was more of a romantic suspense story with characters that just happened to be supernatural. There was some telling of the history of the vampires in that book, and this second book will have more of the culture and history of the shapeshifters in it. Also, when people think of shifters they don't usually think of dogs as a typical animal form, perhaps because they don't seem as exciting as wolves or panthers (which we might very well meet as the series progresses!), but in truth, a shapeshifter or 'were' can be pretty much anything. I liked the thought of my main shapeshifting character having an atypical animal form. Juliette's Siberian Husky form is inspired by one of my late pets, whom I loved dearly and still miss even three years after her death.

Check out these other great authors: Deborah CookeKristine CayneLiliana SoareMonica Euen, and S.P. Mount.

Book Review: "The Comeback Kiss" by Lani Diane Rich

Rating: 4 black roses

I really liked this book. The characters were real; I felt like they could definitely be real people. 

Dermot "Finn" Finnegan, the male lead, came across as a good guy who'd made a lot of foolish choices. He was a prankster and a petty thief as a kid, and when he was 19 he let the uncle who'd raised him scare him into running out on the girl he loved by saying he wasn't good enough for her. Finn then spent the next ten years proving his uncle right by continuing to be a thief, when he should have stayed and proved his uncle wrong. At the same time, I gathered that Uncle Max was not so much intending to scare Finn away, but scare him straight. After all, at their first meeting in ten years, the first words Max said to Finn were, "You're okay, then?" Oh, and throughout the book Finn was quite the smartass. I loved that too. I think every book should have a snarky smart-mouthed character (if written well, of course), because it makes the book more fun and enjoyable.

Contessa "Tessa" Scuderi, the lead female, was a likable character too. She seemed like a really strong person who was doing the best she could after her mom died. It was awesome that she stepped up to take care of her little sister when she could have just let her stay in foster care. I think Izzy knew Tessa was doing her best even while she was setting all kinds of rules. I agreed with the younger Scuderi in that Tessa shouldn't have put her life on hold, but at the same time I understand why she did. She was walking a tightrope and kept herself shut off from joy, from having a life outside of being a surrogate mom to her sister, because the social worker had made it clear that any perceived screw-up would cause her to lose custody of Izzy, and Tessa simply couldn't bear the thought. So she worked her butt off to make sure her sister had everything she needed and that was really well conveyed. 

The relationship between Finn and Tessa was pretty authentic. You could believe that they really had spent the last ten years denying they were still in love with the other. Finn's returning to his hometown (he shoulda known he wouldn't be able to get in and get out without being noticed) forced them both to confront the fact that they hadn't really let go of their feelings, that they'd just buried them away where they wouldn't have to admit them. The emotional and sexual tension was there from the get-go and didn't let up.  I could sympathize with the internal debates each was having about why they shouldn't be together, but I didn't agree with them, as they were obstacles that were easily overcome once they put their minds to it.

Overall this was a really fun read. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a lighthearted romance with realistic characters and situations.

The Comeback Kiss can be purchased for just $2.99 at!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Goal! ... sort of.

Okay, folks, got some news for you:

I've done some reading. I've done some talking with a couple other writers. And I've done a lot of thinking (internal debating). And while I've considered that starting something new might be the way to get my head back in the writing game (see previous post), I found myself worrying about getting stuck in the middle of those stories too. Although I have every intention of getting to the first book in my firefighter series, or the stand-alone dystopian novel that came to me the other day, I know that what I really need to to is get back to From the Shadows. I need to sit myself down in front of this computer, read the last couple of pages I wrote to refresh my mind on the direction I was going, and then JUST WRITE. 

Yep, I'm talking about what a number of others have told me I should do: sit down and write even if it turns out to be crap, because you can always edit later. I've forced myself to write before with amazing results, and I think I can do it again. I've just got to get over this damn slump, and I think forcing some writing is what will do it. Well, that and setting a deadline, which I have decided to do. I actually have two deadlines in mind. The short-term deadline for release is October 11, 2012 (10/11/12)--that's just under a month away, and if I hunker down and ignore distractions, I can do it. If that one can't be met for some reason, then my long-term release date is October 31, 2012. Further motivation to get the book prepared for release no later than Halloween is the fact that another of my stories is coming out then.

That's right, I've got a Halloween release! Just in case you've all forgotten (I sure hope not!), I wrote an erotic short story which I titled The Beauty in the Black Room, about an incubus who meets his soul mate after more than six hundred years of life. Hot Ink Press is releasing the story as a part of the anthology Darkest Desires. I'm really excited because not only will the book will be available for ereaders, but also in print! Yep, for the very first time, my words will be on the printed page for the masses to hold in their hands, and I am seriously stoked to hold my very own copy--you can bet I will take a picture to show you all!

So anyhoo, I'm feeling some renewed spirit for writing. Setting a deadline will help me achieve my goal, which is to finish From the Shadows. Wish me luck!

And on a quick little side note, keep checking back for another book review. This time a contemporary romance with a suspenseful twist, The Comeback Kiss by Lani Diane Rich. I'll have the review posted in the next couple of days.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A little help with Motivation.

Many writers will say when they've come to a point where they can't write that their Muse has fled. I used to be one of them. But I finally figured out that, with me at least, such is not the case. After all, as I've said many times before writing goes on in my head all the time. Stories in progress get written further, and new ideas for stories--and, of course, characters for those stories--come to me just about every day. I realized after all these years that this means Lady Le Muse (as I affectionately refer to my imagination; Muses in Greek mythology being traditionally female and all) never really leaves me. It's her sister, Miss Motivation (the drive to actually get anything done), that takes off on the red-eye to who knows where. 

I mean, ask any writer and they will tell you that all the stresses we deal with in our daily lives can take a toll on us. Oftentimes we encounter periods where we really want to write, because the voices in our head are demanding to be heard, but can find absolutely no motivation to do so. This is bad for several reasons, not the least of which is the stories don't get told--which means we don't get paid because we're not doing our jobs. And as we all know, just thinking about writing doesn't make one an author. You actually have to do some actual writing. Sometimes just forcing yourself to sit at the keyboard and type or take pencil and paper in hand and scribble away is what it takes to get the ball rolling again. I've even done this myself and had it work beautifully. 

But it's not working this time around. I sit here with both laptop and notebook at the ready and the most writing I've done in weeks is this here post, the prologue of a book that is back on the proverbial shelf indefinitely, one book review, and a few messages to fellow authors I'm connected with on Facebook. And it really sucks, because I do want to write. I want to get back to doing something I really love to do, telling stories. So I've decided that since my current WIP, From the Shadows, has stalled so terribly, I'm going to try shaking some sense into Miss Motivation by turning my attention to another story. I've got two things in mind, and if you read this post, please comment with your opinion on whether or not I should go for the one-shot dystopian romantic adventure that came to me out of the clear blue sky the other day, or the first book of a new series featuring firefighters, which has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks now. I'd really appreciate the help!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Memoriam

May we never forget those who died, 
and keep those who lost loved ones in our hearts forever.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: "Redemption in Blood - A Novel of the Penitent" by Tara S. Wood

Rating: 5 black roses

Let me start off by saying I really loved this book. I loved how the non-traditional vampire elements (endurance of sunlight, breeding, feeding habits) were mixed with the traditional ones (fangs, bloodlust, enhanced senses, strength, and other abilities). I loved that the action started right away and didn't let up. I loved that there were characters you rooted for and characters you couldn't wait to see get what was coming to them. There are characters you can sympathize with and some who make you scratch your head and say, "WTF?" and "Get over yourself already!" And again, there are the bad guys, who I really, really wanted to see die horribly. And they do! ;)

Decker Price, the human homicide detective, was easy to fall in love with as a character. He was cleanly written as a tortured man just looking for answers...and a way to ease a ton of pain and guilt. Vesper Hyde, the militant vampire female...I admit that I found her very hard to like at first. She came across as really bitchy and way too full of her own self-importance for my taste, and more than once she treats Decker like shit, which I did not like at all. But she does mellow eventually so I'll just say I don't think of her as a complete bitch...but still a bitch. Marcus, another militant vampire, I saw as a classic badass, the kind daddies hope their daughters never meet (his being a vampire notwithstanding). Lori the witch is someone I liked quite a bit, though chick seriously needs a reality check (ever heard of not messing with shit you don't understand?). Decker's partner C.C. wasn't in the book enough to get to know her well, but she seemed a level-headed gal. And Cain, the half witch/half vampire was awesome as the comic relief guy--his antics made me laugh out loud more than once! 

Overall I liked this book A LOT, and I think it deserves my first five-rose rating. I definitely recommend it to those of you who enjoy paranormal romances with steamy love scenes with a few dollops of danger and intrigue. 


Redemption in Blood: A Novel of the Penitent can be purchased for just $2.99 at and!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bummers and busts.

Well, Camp WriMo was a bust. I battled a little downturn in my mood earlier in the month, and could find no motivation whatsoever to work on From the Shadows. Then I got the awesome news about The Beauty in the Black Room and my motivation was renewed. But as seems to always be my luck, right when I was ready to get back to my work, my laptop decided to malfunction on me. I really can't say what happened, I just know that all of a sudden I could not get online anymore. Couldn't access some of the basic programming, or when I did it acted all wonky--for instance, in Word, the cursor kept jumping around and screwing my sentences up when I tried to write. 

Fearing that my data files could be damaged or lost, I bought an external hard drive to transfer them to. But the computer wouldn't or could not recognize the external. It's like it wasn't even there. Same thing with my little flash drive. So, I was able to get a friend who knows a bit about computers to look at it and we even hooked up a transfer cable from my laptop to hers. Her comp acknowledged the transfer cable right away, but once again, mine acted like it wasn't even there. She determined that because of that, and based on the error messages we'd see when we tried to do things, that the issue was not a software problem but a hardware problem--something inside the machine was loose or broken. I figured this might be a result of the laptop having been dropped. She then recommended I try seeing if the CD drive still worked, and transfer the files I wanted to save to disk. 

I was, thankfully, able to do that, but oddly enough the laptop would only recognize three disks--and they weren't even brand new ones. It wouldn't read the unused disks, kept telling me that they were either corrupt or needed formatting before use, something like that. So over the course of a week or so, I painstakingly moved files to those three disks, took those three disks and a 32GB flash drive to the library, and copied them to the flash. Once back at home, I would erase the disks and start over. The process was painstakingly slow and tedious, but I was determined to save all my pictures, all the photomanip art I had created, and of course my novel! 

Then one day last week, when there were but a handful of files to transfer, I nearly had meself a heart attack, because the computer suddenly stopped registering the built-in CD drive! I was in a panic, and kept restarting the old laptop to see if it would pick it up. It would not. At some point I did something I thought was probably futile, which was plug in the 32GB flash drive. Dunno why I did that, because it hadn't worked before. But when I went into My Computer after about the sixth or seventh restart, I noticed that although the CD drive still wasn't registering, miracle of miracles the flash was! So of course I immediately began transferring the remaining files to the flash.

In the course of all this nerve-wracking activity, I consulted a number of friends on whether or not it was prudent to get the laptop looked at to see if it could be repaired. A number of people said that sure, I should have it looked at to determine if it could be repaired, but that in the end, fixing it might cost me quite a bit. One fellow even told me about a friend whose computer was "totaled" over a simple loose wire. So I ultimately decided to put getting it looked at on hold, and to just buy a new laptop. Because honestly, I was going ape not being able to get online properly (was visiting the web via my Kindle Fire) or for very long (library only allows two 30-minute sessions a day). And I really have been wanting to get back into my writing. I want to get back to my book and get it finished so that I can move onto the next one. I want more of my books out there. I want to grow my audience, and of course my sales! 

So, just three days after ordering the new laptop, it arrived. Yay! Still getting used to it, as it has a different OS (old lappy had Windows Vista, new one has Windows 7), and the keyboard feels different. The lid doesn't latch like the lid on my old one does (old lappy: Acer; new lappy: Hewlett Packard). But that's okay, for the most part, as I only ever close the laptop for transportation; when it's sitting on my desk it's always open so it's always ready for me. Of course, I have to revisit and re-save all my favorite websites, but I suppose I am okay with that. It'll help me get used to it. Once I have all the sites saved (the ones I can remember, at any rate!) I'm gonna work on moving some of my data files to the hard drive, mostly just the ones I use most often. And of course, I plan on making some system recovery disks.

Anyhoo, friends... that has been my August. Once I get the new laptop set up, I'm going to get back to my novel. I've two days off from work this week, so I should get my nose back to the literary grindstone one of those days. Having talked about release dates and whatnot some with a fellow indie author, I'm setting myself a deadline to get the book finished. I plan to stick to it, so I gotta get this lappy set up quick! Just wanted to keep you all updated with what's been going on with me. Hope you all are well!