Saturday, October 31, 2009

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!


Today is Halloween. My eight year old is excited, I’m not sure if it’s the appeal of getting free candy—he’s a candy junkie—or becoming Rey Mysterio—his Halloween costume and his real life hero! If you’re unfamiliar with Rey Mysterio he’s a 5’3” WWE wrestler that my son worships. He cut his hair a couple of months back like Rey Mysterio—unmasked Rey, of course. LOL Here’s a photo of Rey Mysterio, so you’ll have some idea who’s going trick or treating with me later tonight!



I bit the bullet today and decided to participate in NanoWrimo. My username is gracenmiller if anyone wants to friend me. After all those edits for Elfin Blood, I’ve been a bit burned out and have had no motivation to write. So, I’m hoping Nano kicks my booty into writing action. I need something to kick my booty into writing mode. Are any of you participating in Nano this year?

But, in honor of Halloween, I’m going to talk about Haunted Houses

*insert evil laugh*

Bwhahahaha….

We’ve all grown up with stories of haunted houses or haunted dormitories or haunted areas—something haunted anyway. The city I grew up in had a local legend about a bridge. If one went to it at night, the ghosts of those that had driven off the bridge would haunt the place. Personally, I went necking down there with my boyfriend and I didn’t see anything. Nope, nothing! So much for a legend, huh? Or maybe I was too consumed with kissing the boyfriend to notice any ghosts had they been haunting the place. =)

The term “haunted houses” brings to mind my personal experiences though. I grew up in a house that, while not necessarily haunted, it had a spirit of some sort living with us in perfect harmony. I often felt protected and loved by that spirit. I mentioned last week in my paranormal interview of seeing my great-grandfather. I do believe my great-grandfather haunts my father’s house, as I’ve seen his spirit more than once. The comparison between my great-grandfather and the spirit I grew up with startling. When I saw my great-grandfather the feeling was so intense, so vile and aggressive, and he wanted us gone. Or that was the way I interpreted it.



I have a girlfriend, Nicole, who bought a home with her husband. It was a beautiful piece of property, twenty-five acres, with an older fixer-up home. The home was so old it had a well built on the corner of the front porch. It was cool, a neat little piece of history. I can’t even imagine having to draw my water out of it just to meet the basic necessary needs. But after having kids I see the danger in it too. The place had oodles of potential and best of all it was away from the big city. It was so quiet and peaceful.

My first visit there, I came home telling my husband the place had a ghost. Everywhere I went, I felt like I was being watched. I never felt any hostility, but more curiosity. Daytime or nighttime, it didn’t matter, some unseen presence was watching. From inside the home to the shed in the backyard, something was always watching. The only time I could truly get away from the presence was when we would ride the four-wheelers across the back part of the property and woods.

I didn’t realize until we visited for a Halloween party a couple of months later that Nicole had purchased the home from an estate after the previous owner, an elderly woman, had passed away in it. It was like the light-bulb went off in my head—a smack my forehead V8 moment!—where I thought ‘that is why I’m feeling those hidden eyes’.

Another weekend I was there goofing off with Nicole and her mother, Jill, when Jill started talking about her conversations with the spirit of the woman who once owned the house! I got chills!! My eyes even watered! To have my feelings and thoughts confirmed was exciting. The only thing that would have made this haunted house perfect would have been for it to have a cemetery sitting on the property! LOL


I went home that night and told my husband about Jill knowing there was a ghost there too and couldn’t resist saying, “I told you so!” His reply was that I wasn’t the only crazy person in the world. ;-)

I’d love to hear your comments. And we’d love for you to come by the Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem Yahoo Group and tell us about your own "haunted house" experiences and stories! =)

Scary photo of the week…


I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! And a safe Halloween!





HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

All photos were taken from Photobucket and no copyright infringement was intended!

~~~~~

I have received another review on my book, Elfin Blood. This one comes from Sheila Deeth and she states:

"An elf thief and vampire elf-kin, brooding mansions replete with gargoyles, and a snooty twenty-thousand-year-old king who thinks he calls the shots; Gracen Miller creates an interesting cast of characters in Elfin Blood, and fills their world with delightfully intriguing surprises.

The vampire leader’s more sex-lost than sex-addicted at the start, and Landau’s reawakening with Julija is portrayed in powerful detail. From dance-floor kiss to coffee-shop chaos, to… well, you get the picture… these two are surely “going to be a problem.”

Tortured alike by their bodies’ betrayal and lustful imaginings, the two protagonists simultaneously spend the first part of the book avoiding each other and seeking each other out. But all is revealed, in history, forest and bedroom, and elvish soul-blends demand far more than the locking of lips and eyes.

The writing rises above the occasional typo, pulling the reader into a perfect pooling of passion and desire. Very nicely done Gracen, and definitely not your granny’s or granddaughter’s romance."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Which Type of NaNo Are You?

There are two main types of NaNo people.

1) Those who want complete control (as much as possible) They are the ones who draw up maps of their world, create detailed character sheets, write a complete plot tree, a family tree for all of their major characters and even go to the extent of providing drafts of each room or scene the characters will interact in. Basically, planting down the words is a given after the fact.

2) Then there are those who will live by the seat of their pants. Taking the thrill of NaNo to new heights by not preparing anything. They may have a title of their book, they may even have a skeleton outline, but generally that's about it. These people believe that planting down 1667 words per day is good enough and everything will fall into place.

Trust me. I have tried both methods. None work for me.

The year I won NaNo, back in 2007, I was working on my sequel to Unicorn's Peril. I had already created the world in which my characters lived in the previous book, so really I was just writing a flow on. A different animal all together is the sequel.

The year I lost NaNo was the year I tried to do something from nothing. In other words, method 2. That failed miserably. I needed time to work out just where my characters would be in the world I was going to create. Indeed, I neeed to know what and who the characters were (their main characteristics anyway) I got lost in a quagmire of plot and the novel failed at about the 20,000 word mark. It hasn't been worked on since (I no longer speak of it) True, parts have been used in later works.

I do some planning with my novels, but I also like the actual enjoyment of writing from what's in my head. I don't, however, do a lot of planning to the point of drawing up plot trees or whatever, I'm not anal about it. Then again, I do like to have a feel of what's going on. See? Difficult, isn't it?

This is my new approach to NaNo this year. I have a title, a basic main plot worked out and I have a sketch of the characters who are in my story. You could say I am sitting firmly between the two types of NaNo people.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's that time...


I can't believe November 1st is right around the corner. It really is hard to believe since we don't have the falling leaves, coats to snuggle up in, or even pumpkins dotting doorsteps of neighbor's houses. We are the only ones in our apartment complex with pumpkins. To me, it seems more like any other time of the year but what it really is. We've been having 100 degree days, chilly nights, and bright sunny days. To get into the holiday spirit, I'm watching more horror movies with daughter (who loves them!) and wrapped Christmas presents already. We also made a gingerbread haunted house a few days ago and will be carving pumpkins soon. Maybe I'll break down and put the Christmas tree up earlier. It's a whole lot different than the holidays were like while growing up in the Pacific Nortwest!


Besides the holidays, Confessions will be released November 16th! I'm so excited because I LOVE this book!


Blurb:


Can Chelsea and Jordan find their child, and rediscover each other?
When Chelsea Montgomery vanished eleven years ago, her hometown thought she’d been abducted. In truth, she'd given up the daughter she'd secretly had with Jordan Case.
Now he confronts her to help find the child. With a little girl's fate hanging in the balance, will the uneasy partnership -- stained by the past -- transform into something else?


And a teaser for you:


Jordan sat down on the couch and patted the floor in front of him. “Sit down. Let me get those knots out.”
She took a few steps in his direction, stopping out of his reach, afraid to let him touch her. If he touched her, then she’d fall madly in love with him all over again. That couldn’t happen.
She watched as he leaned forward far enough to grab her by the hand. He pulled her to him.
“Are you sure you want to?”
“Yes,” he said. He guided her down to the floor between his legs. Before leaning back, she slipped her t-shirt off, revealing the navy tank top. His strong hands slid over her skin and she sunk back against him. She’d forgotten how strong he was, how needy she felt when he touched her. As if by magic, her body slowly began to relax underneath his touch. He kneaded her skin with the palms of his hands. The more he touched her, the more she felt at ease. She leaned forward a bit, making his legs embrace the rest of her body. His hands trailed down the length of her back toward the top of her jeans. A small moan escaped her lips. If only he would go lower.
“Feel good?” The words floated through the air like music from a past dream.
“Mm hm.”
He rubbed the small of her back, his hands working every muscle imaginable. “Remember when I would rub your feet each night after work?”
“The best part of the whole day.” His hands. His voice. He had cast a spell over her.
“I loved those times with you, Chels.”
Butterflies swarmed in her stomach, breaking up her intoxicated sensation. Chels? He used to call her that when they were teenagers. He was the only person who’d ever had a pet name for her.
“Me, too,” she mumbled.
“That’s what has gotten me through until now. Those memories of us from before you disappeared.” His hands stilled, but she could feel their heat against her.
Damn it! Tears welled in her eyes. He couldn’t see them, she wouldn’t allow him to. She scooted away him his touch, far enough away so she could stand up on her own without using his assistance.
“I’m sorry, Jordan. We shouldn’t be doing this.”
“What are you talking about, Chelsea?” He tried to grab her by the hand again but this time she walked away from him. She went over to the windows, dried her eyes and then turned around.
“I told you everything, so now I should go.” She walked past him toward the stairs.
“No, you won’t.” The words were ice cold. It seemed like his massage had been some sort of dream.
She froze. “What do you mean, I won’t?”
“Let’s get something clear. Okay?”
She slowly turned around. She had never heard this tone from Jordan in the whole time she had known him. It scared her.
“What?”
He stood up from the couch and walked over to her. His hands jammed into his jean pockets. “There’s a choice to be made here,” he said. “You either stay here to help me locate my daughter or I contact the authorities.”
***
Are you in the holiday spirit? If not, what pushes you along? Let's chat!
Talk to you soon,
Wendy Ely

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nightmares, scary or good ideas?

I had a horrible, terrifying nightmare the other night that still lives vividly in my brain. It was unique for me though. I do have nightmares often enough. In fact, most all of the dreams that I do remember are full of zombies and dead bodies. This one was different, which is why it was so unique. I didn’t dream of my regular scary creatures. This one was something I’d never dreamt of before. Although, it was deadly enough, it was almost funny at the same time.

I can’t even begin to describe the creature in my dream. It was a combination of Puff the magic dragon and platypus. It ran around town eating people, between bouts of swimming in the ocean, where we had a fabulous view looking down from our upper level apartment. Don’t ask me why, because I live no where near the ocean. Maybe we were on vacation, who knows. At any rate, I was terrified when it tore through the buildings eating people left and right while I was trying to keep track of my family members to make sure they weren’t eaten as well.

I’ve been thinking about this dream for the last couple of days and considering what an interesting story it would make. I know a lot of writers get ideas from their dreams, which is something I’ve never really done. Most of my story ideas come from other aspects of my life. But, this dream was so clear and vivid, and in full color, that it would definitely be something I could recreate if I wanted to.

I get most of my ideas from…

  • Something I saw on TV
  • A snippet of a song from the radio
  • A comment someone makes
  • Watching strangers in public
  • Out of nowhere, an idea just pops in my head
  • Conversations with other writers
  • Brainstorming questions
  • Coming up with a character first, then throwing them into odd situations
  • Etc, etc, etc (this list could go on and on)

So, I was wondering, do you use your dreams for storylines? What kind of dreams do you use? Are you like me and rarely dream, or do you have awesome, vivid dreams on a nightly basis? Share your thoughts with me and let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sequeled Expectations

It's hard, you know, writing that much asked for sequel from a popular title you've received great reviews and fanmail for. How do you go about getting an idea that is just as just as good as hook, promises just as much action or has just as memorable characters as the original?

Oh, geez don't look at me. I struggle with this every time I sit down to write a sequel. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't.

I started out as fantasy author and in that particular genre sequels aren't just a suggestion, they are a damn requirement. Never write a fantasy novel unless you can carry out an over-all theme or continued trials and trepidations for an entire series of books, or you're just not going to garner any fans. (Wheel of Time, Sword of Shannara, Heralds of Valdemar anyone?)

Now, I've read enough fantasy to know there are two camps of sequels: books that are written about the continuing saga of the original hero/heroine and the sequels which involve the lives of the secondary characters. Either way the author chooses to go the reader is in for a good yarn spinning. Now, with romance, the sequels or series almost always involve the love lives of the secondary characters.

And therein lies the rub.

Sometimes you have a character who is a great secondary, but once they take the spotlight they shy away from the attention. Under these conditions the poor author has no choice but to coax, bribe, threaten and coerce the characters to behave or the entire plot gets thrown off kilter. How well I know this. I'm writing two sequels for two different series at the moment that have been derailed almost since page one. It's not been fun - it's been hell at the keyboard. Finally, I've decided to just write the shenanigans as they appear and slash and cut on the edits. Let the characters believe they're getting their own way, and then pull the rug out from under them after they've had their say.



Even with lots of plotting ahead of time. Either the story drags, unlike the first book, or there is just some wacky-ass tangent that crops up and I can't seem to navigate my way out of with a compass and GPS. Currently, my sequel to High Octane, my Feb. release from Samhain, titled Water Mark, has my hero in prison and he's just endured not only a horrible ass beating, but an entire body shave by the staff. This was never in my original outline - especially the part about the loss of body hair from head to foot. (Don't worry, I have the prison barber leaving on the dude's eyebrows. I just couldn't imagine my poor hero looking like the lead singer from Midnight Oil.) I'd rather he looked like Imhotep from The Mummy if he has to be bald. Or Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick. Anyhow, this incarceration has left me at a crossroads where I'm looking around going, "How in the hell did I get here?" (Imagine the song, Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads - that's what I sounded like.) But now my intrepid heroine must bust him out of those prison walls. How in the hell am I supposed to accomplish that? Fear not. I think I have it figured out.



Meanwhile, I've had a really scary, sexy, bloody dream about a vampire that was rescued by a woman and taken to a clinic where he has all these blood transfusions. Don't ask. It was just weird. Maybe I can use that in my sequel to The Host, but I doubt it. I'll keep it in the back of my brain for future reference.

And what about the world building aspect of sequels. Most of the rules are established in book one. It helps to keep a "bible" of names and places and intricate details. Generally, I'll do this, but I've noticed the last few, I've been a little slack on as of late. There is one a futuristic-fantasy-erotic duology I'm writing that I've kept a notebook for as I go. If I name something, I've been very diligent about adding it in the notebook for just that particular series and I know exactly where to find it. It's helped me on more than one occassion. Especially when I pepper the prose with made up names for Gods and Goddess and their function in that culture. With two books to write in that particular world, I thought it behooved me to fall back on my abandon habits.

What is your experience with sequels? Do you write them, or avoid them like a plague carrier with the swine flu? Do you find them easier or harder?

-Kate

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Excerpt of Elfin Blood

I promised last week to post an excerpt of my new book, Elfin Blood, so here it is.

~~~~~

G.R. Bretz reviewed Elfin Blood and I love this comment by him: “Stopping in the middle of this story would have been as feasible as stopping in the middle of sex.” To read the complete review, go here.




Elfin Blood
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Elfin Blood Copyright 2009 Gracen Miller
Cover Art by Fiona Jayde



BLURB:
Scorned by her own kind for her half-breed elf status, Julija lives a lonely existence among her Ivory Elf kin. She is the only one the elves can trust when a magical book in elf lore is stolen. Relegated to steal the Book from the vampire thief, Landau Jamieson, she's surprised to discover he has the ability to walk in daylight. Refusing to be deterred by developing setbacks, she’s committed to executing the heist for an Ivory King who grows more desperate to possess the Book. Nothing about the vampire is as it appears and Julija begins to doubt her mission. Worse, she begins to worry she won't have the strength to guard her heart from her sworn enemy.

Landau is fascinated by the elf stalking him and baffled by the potent hunger she elicits after ten thousand years of celibacy. Soon he discovers the lovely sprite is a pawn in a dangerous game--orchestrated by none other than a reviled enemy from his past. While blind-sided by her beauty and her magical powers, the least of which is the spell she casts on his heart, the sinister plot unfolds. What started out as folly to catch a thief, blossoms into a love that casts aside bloodlines and forges all boundaries.
EXCERPT:
Chapter One
Julija squinted against the sun’s harsh rays. Not even her darkly tinted sunglasses entirely cut the glare. The frames slid down her sweat-slick nose. She pushed them back up and looked around, her impatience rising. For the fifth time in as many minutes, she glanced at her watch. Two minutes left. She resettled her gaze on the odd looking house across the street.

The structure looked more like a fortress than an actual home and gave her the creeps. It was too gothic, too dark, and contrary to her light-imbued life. Made from slate, the house reached high into the sky like a castle with its domed ceilings. Gargoyles carved from stone rested above the windows, as if offering protection from demonic entities. With a vampire in residence, perhaps they did.

She shuddered to think of it as a home, but the richest, most powerful man in the city of Veil—Landau Jamieson the IV or V or something along that order—considered it such. The man was the sole reason she stood here, or rather the vampire disguised as a man was the sole reason. Ironically the city’s residents considered him royalty. Hell, more like Batman of Gotham in these parts.

Priceless. Absolutely priceless. For no other purpose other than to make herself feel good, Julija rolled her eyes beneath the thick shades.

The vampire had stolen the Ivory Elfin Book of Lore. The ancient tome detailing every creature in existence, including the fey, had been entrusted to the Elves at the dawn of creation. Whoever possessed the book also possessed great knowledge, expertise that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. Ownership of the book also ensured great power, power she could not allow a vampire to keep.

For a week now, Julija had watched him and tried to gauge the best time to strike. Failure was not an option for the best thief among the Elves. Secretly, she was proud of her talent; it had served her people well. Elves were renowned for their light step, and it just so happened her fingers were stickier than most of her kind.

Security systems could not deter her; she possessed enough magic to nix the best system in the world.

She would retrieve the book, once she figured out how to bypass the perceptive vampire and his minions. One thing still puzzled her—how had the vampire stolen it to begin with when only Elf Royals were allowed to touch it? Another dilemma for her since she was not an Elf Royal.

Her best chance to retrieve it would be in two days when the vampire attended the depot dedication of Veil's newly renovated train station. Feeling melodramatic about the event, she rolled her eyes again. How humans loved to waste money. The homeless lived near the train station, beneath the bridges in cardboard boxes. Died there too, while the station went through elaborate renovations for the wealthy and elite.

Julija glanced at her watch again as the black limousine rolled to a halt in front of the vampire’s home. Like clockwork, the man left for work every day at precisely the same time. Talk about being a creature of habit!

The vampire in question strode about as blatant as he pleased in daylight. Daylight! Vampires and daylight mixed like metal and acid. Daylight and acid were supposed to vaporize vampires and metal, but apparently not so with this vampire.

Every cocky step he took reeked arrogance. While she pondered how he managed to keep from melting beneath the sunlight, he lifted his head. Their gazes locked.

Cool as ice, and trained for confrontations, she returned his gaze. While not the most skilled fighter, she possessed some ability in that area.

Landau’s stylishly cut, dark blonde hair gleamed like gold beneath the bright sun. The man was tall, broad shouldered, and athletically built. The charcoal gray business suit, tailored precisely to fit his frame, bespoke wealth—not money, but wealth. Even from this distance, he oozed pheromones and drew her like an addictive narcotic. That could be dangerous for her elfin libido—inordinately high in comparison to other fey creatures.

The vampire tossed her a crooked grin before sliding into the back seat, leaving little question in her mind he’d spotted her. Unmoving, she watched as the limo pulled away.

Perfect. He knows he's being watched.

Although gone from the residence, unfortunately that didn’t mean Landau left his home unguarded. Oh, no, nothing could be that easy.

Flagrant to her elfin eyes, his home embodied magic. Translated, that meant he’d opened the Ivory Elfin Book of Lore and was, in fact, utilizing the spells in the book. In all likelihood he’d used the same witchery to protect himself from the glaring sun.
Because of this, she’d have to kill him once she had the book in her possession again.
* * * * *

Landau adjusted the black sunglasses on his face and glanced out the limousine window.

The woman on the bench appealed to him with her pale, almost white, blonde hair. Through her thick shades he’d assessed her eyes to be pale blue with barely a hint of color, rather albino in nature. Her milky white complexion had looked softer than satin. He wondered how such delicate skin would bruise.

But she had an agenda. Either she was a reporter—not likely—or up to no good. Bingo! Landau couldn’t wait to find out the no good part. A long time had passed since he’d enjoyed himself.

Although he’d tried, he couldn’t read her mind. She possessed one of few human minds he couldn’t penetrate. Or she wasn’t human. The phenomena lent her an air of mystery. Even though he couldn't glean her thoughts, he knew her mind worked at top speed, planning, scheming, and devising until a perfect little blueprint had been mapped out in her mind. Her eyes were too shrewd to suggest otherwise.

He’d tossed her a snarky little grin before entering the limo, just to let her know he knew she was stalking him. That should leave give her something to think about. He chuckled then addressed his bodyguard. “Find out who she is.”

“Immediately,” Edward, an Abecedarian—a fledgling, in human terms—agreed and then tipped his nose in the air and sniffed as if in disdain over being assigned such a menial task.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bad Editors?

So far, my experiences working with editors are great. Cobblestone Press, eXtasy Books, and Red Rose Publishing editors have taught me valuable lessons, tricks, tools, and knowledge that I only learned from them. What are those? Dead scenes, eliminating passive voice, and adding emotions are just a few. Yes, I wrote and finished a story. Cool thing. But I must admit, through working with editors I not only polished my stories, but my skills as well. From tenses to punctuation to grammar, they all helped me improve. It is amazing how they could see things that we and our critique partners often missed. And I liked the way they pointed our what needs to be improved without the crushing remarks.

In my mind, I’ve worked with good editors, the ones every writer wants to meet.

 

But what about the “bad” editors?
I’ve heard a few writers say they didn’t like the way the editor chopped up their “babies.” That he or she didn’t get the story. That the editor is lousy and must have never known any positive piece of constructive criticism in his life, and insisted she write the sentences this way or that. I’ve never experienced that with the awesome editors I’ve had the opportunity to work with. But have you? How do you handle editors who seems to want you to write your stories the way they want them written? Did you ever feel that your editor is not helping you polish your story, instead punishing you with put down comments?

 

Before I end my blog, I would like to express my gratitude to those who bought my latest book, Wicked Proposal. Your support and comments, serve as my inspiration and energy to pen another story. Thank you so much. Wicked Proposal is available in Kindle, PDF, Mobipocket and other formats.

 

Talk to you soon,

 

Tierney O’Malley

http://tierneyomalley.com

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mark Alders New Shiny Website

It's official: I have my own website (still tinkering with it so feedback would be most welcome. There is lots of stuff I still want to put onto it, but my main goal was to have a clean easy to read website) There will be lots of give-a-ways and heaps of interactive stuff included, too. I'm so excited to finally have my OWN website *grin*

http://www.markalders.com

There is a blog attached to this site, too, and all content will now be posted at this new 'official' site. My wordpress, tumblr and LJ account will be consolidated onto my new website.

http://www.markalders.com/mark-alders-blog. php

Click on the blog and enter my halloween competition. You have a chance of winning any one of my books :-)

I am still on twitter, so friend me

http://twitter. com/Markalders


Thanks all

http://www.markalders.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The 4-1-1 on Nanowrimo and my plans!


The buzz on blogs and networking sites is Nanowrimo (national novel writing month) which runs in November. Some people call it a contest, I call it a program. The goal is to write at least a 50,000 word novel during that month. It's crazy. It's fun. And it pushes through writer's block. The site is www.nanowrimo.org


So with all of the works-in-progress I have already, what should I write? Well, last year I wrote New Year's Resolution. My problem is that I'm stuck in a rut of writing short novels. I can't seem to get out of the 60,000 word category. For nano this year I'm going to add the 50, 000 words to New Year's Resolution! Yep, I am. My critique partner asked me if I am crazy. I must be just a teeny bit, huh?


And I'm going to blog about my journey adding so many words to an already written manuscript! You can find my blog over at goodreads.com under Wendy Ely. Watch me take this giant step to over come this writing hurdle!


Are you doing nano this year? What are you working on?
Happy writing and reading,
Wendy Ely

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Writing Contest!



With my favorite holiday just around the corner, my Halloween writing contest kicks off today! Finish this story and email it to alishapaigewilson@yahoo.com with "Halloween Contest" in the Subject Line. The winner will receive a Halloween tin of chocolate covered pretzles, peanut butter pretzles and white candy coated pretzels drizzled with orange and chocolate from Figi's!



Halloween Story

I sighed as I slipped into my pink and black striped stockings. I thought of his hand on my ankle, holding it with this thumb, feeling my pulse as he kissed the tender warm skin, sending chills through me. A tear slid off my fake golden lashes and snaked across my flushed cheeks. I watched as it fell from my chin, dripping into my soft stockings, leaving a spot of hot pink. I sniffed as I buckled my witch shoes to my feet. I stood, walking to my vanity to place my feathered witch hat on my shiny black wig. He'd never recognize me tonight and I refused to skip Cleo's annual Halloween party because he would be in attendance. I applied blood red lipstick and smiled at the witch in the mirror, grabbed my velvet purse and headed out the door.

Rules: THERE IS NO LENGTH TOO SMALL OR TOO LARGE. NO PUBLISHED AUTHORS MAY ENTER THIS CONTEST. ONLY READERS AND UNPUBLISHED WRITERS. ANY HEAT LEVEL ALLOWED, FROM SWEET TO EROTICA. OPEN TO U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY.

Deadline: October 25, 2009, Midnight Central Time.



Good Luck and Happy Halloween!
~Alisha Paige

Monday, October 19, 2009

Making characters remarkable

I want to start out my blog today with an apology. I have been having computer difficulties and haven’t been around for the last couple of weeks. I’ve missed a couple of my blog posts and a guest spot with Moonlight, Lace, & Mayhem. I feel so terrible, and I hope everyone can forgive me. 

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about characters lately. What makes a character special? What about them makes others care enough to want to read about their lives? They can’t just be ordinary, boring characters with ordinary, boring lives. They need to have something extra, something that gives them zing! Who wants to read about someone who lives the same life that they do? Not me, that’s for sure. I want to read about someone extraordinary. I’m not saying that they can’t be average citizens. Of course they can. That makes them someone we can identify with. But, they should still be something just a little more. In some way, they go above and beyond the average. I’m talking about the beautician who dedicates her life to helping cancer patients on chemo feel pretty, even though they’ve lost their hair during treatments. Maybe she uses her talents to style their wigs and apply their makeup. Why does she do it? Maybe her mother lost her life to cancer, and she knew how miserable she was. The point is, she is a remarkable woman, an average woman, yet she goes above and beyond the ordinary.

One of the most popular series right now is the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. What makes the series so popular? In my opinion, it’s the characters. But why are the characters so moving? Because they are average citizens that are willing to do or be more. What makes Bella more than ordinary? Maybe it’s the fact that she’s willing to be miserable in order to make sure her mom is happy. Maybe it’s because she’s willing to love the one man who could destroy her. The same goes for Edward. He is willing to risk exposure of his kind to be with the girl he loves. He’s willing to fight his own kind in order to keep her safe. And he’s willing to do this for the one person who’s blood he craves more than any other. To me, that’s extraordinary. 

In every book that rises to bestseller status, there are extraordinary characters. Just imagine Hogwarts without Harry Potter. You couldn’t. It wouldn’t be the same place. It might still be interesting, but I’m sure no where near as interesting as it is now. And what about the Vampire Diaries? What would Elena do if Stefan hadn’t entered her life? 

I know it takes more than just great characters to create a great novel. But, if your characters aren’t great, how can your story be? I want to be able to love them, hate them, cry for them, and grieve for them. If I don’t feel for them, I’ll never remember them. And that, in my opinion, is the most important thing.

What do you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m way off base? I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Devilishness of Dialogue


Since Halloween is fast approaching and it is the favorite holiday of most paranormal authors, I thought I spend a few moments talking about the one aspect of writing that can bedevil and author faster than a demon-strike against a slayer in a dark alley in some urban jungle. I'm talking of course about dialogue.

On the surface, dialogue seems very easy. Unlike plotting, motivation, characterization, and narration, dialogue is something we use everyday, in conversations with our family, friends, co-workers and other assorted individuals that travel into our spheres. Why then is it that a reader can spot stilted dialogue a mile away while blindfolded and wearing earplugs? Because there is just something so wrong it throws the entire book off kilter. For me, bad dialogue is the literary equivilent of nails on a blackboard. I've put more than one book I've started reading aside due to bad dialogue. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who has. It just boggles the mind of how it ever got past editors like that....but I digress.

I fell in love with the magic of great dialogue while reading Tami Hoag's A Thin Dark Line back in 1994. By that point, I'd already been writing several years - some of it good, some of it not so good. But something profound struck me while reading the dialogue in that book: I could actually hear the characters speaking in my head. The hero in the novel is a sexy, hunky, yummy-yum Cajun cop or maybe ex-cop - can't remember now. From 1978-1992 I lived in the Florida Panhandle. In that time I met and became friends with a lot of people who had Cajun roots, or were straight out of the bayou. The cadence Ms. Hoag gave her hero when he spoke was so authentic, so genuine, I have since held her as the pinnacle for how an author should approach a character. And as far as I can remember she didn't use phonetic spellings.

Off I go to write my own stories. How would I approach them now that I'd learned this valuable lesson from another author? It was just the cadence that got me, though that was definately the aspect that made me stand up and take notice, it was the pure conversational way it was written.



And therein was the key.

Write dialogue as if you(r) characters are having a conversation with each other. Take those easy, unpressured moments when you are at your best, or the high tension moments when you're at your worst and use them. How do you react? How does it effect your speech? Do you clam up? Do you paint the air blue with expletives? Would your character do the same? Are they quick witted and sharp tongued? Or get all tied up and can't say the right thing when their love interest is within view? Whatever the situation, make it real. If it sounds forced to you - it will to your reader.



Now, historicals are another matter entirely. How do you get that taste of realism if and not sound stilted or forced when speech has definately changed over the years. If you read books by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, or any number of classic authors, you'll find the dialogue much different from what you'd hear today - though not a great deal - It's still recognizable just a bit more formal than we're used to. I've heard a king's ransom worth of historicals in my days. Some have the phonetic spellings to indicated accents, some rely solely on cadence and slang to indicate class and station. As a reader it doesn't matter to me which is used, as long as the words read in a believable fashion. What it all boils down to, no matter the time period is that the characters have to sound as if they are sitting in the room with you.

At present, I'm staring at a book on my shelf in my office. Most of the books in here are reference materials. This book is titled Dialogue by Lewis Turco and is part of the Writer's Digest Elements of Fiction Writing series. I purchased it years ago, and for the life of me, I can't remember if I ever even cracked the cover open. Thumbing through it now, I see it takes in everything from Socratic Dialogues to taglines. Quite the breadth of knowledge. I'll have to read it again - or for the first time. However, I think for fiction writing, the only thing one need remember is to make it real.

-Kate

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Elfin Blood Book Release

The long awaited *snorts* release of my new e-b00k, Elfin Blood, is almost here. It's original release date was November 9th, but it got bumped to this Monday, October 19th!! Woot! *runs around excitedly*

My Book Cover



~~~~~~

Blurb:

Scorned by her own kind for her half-breed elf status, Julija lives a lonely existence among her Ivory Elf kin. She is the only one the elves can trust when a magical book in elf lore is stolen. Relegated to steal the Book from the vampire thief, Landau Jamieson, she's surprised to discover he has the ability to walk in daylight. Refusing to be deterred by developing setbacks, she’s committed to executing the heist for an Ivory King who grows more desperate to possess the Book. Nothing about the vampire is as it appears and Julija begins to doubt her mission. Worse, she begins to worry she won't have the strength to guard her heart from her sworn enemy.

Landau is fascinated by the elf stalking him and baffled by the potent hunger she elicits after ten thousand years of celibacy. Soon he discovers the lovely sprite is a pawn in a dangerous game--orchestrated by none other than a reviled enemy from his past. While blind-sided by her beauty and her magical powers, the least of which is the spell she casts on his heart, the sinister plot unfolds. What started out as folly to catch a thief, blossoms into a love that casts aside bloodlines and forges all boundaries.

~~~~~~

I will post an excerpt next Saturday! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween Competition


I think it’s time I did a giveaway!

Now, seeing as Halloween is fast approaching, I thought it may be a good idea to hear from you—my readers—about any scary stories you may have that has happened to you. Just for a bit of fun.

It can be about anything, from actual ghosts and things that go bump in the night to something more earthly, like being faced with an infestation of mice in the back shed. Whatever!

To get things rolling and to help get you in the right frame of mind, here’s my scary story!

The scariest thing that happened to me was when I was a teenager. I used to keep and breed budgerigars (budgies as we call them here in Australia) in an aviary at the bottom of the garden. The cage was big enough for me to get into, but my movement was limited.

Anyway, one day during the breeding season I did my daily thing of checking the nesting boxes I had placed up high inside the cage. This particular day, when I checked the last box, a huge (as big as my hand—and no, the picture above is NOT me holding said spider!) huntsman spider jumped off the top of the box just as I peered into the hole the birds come out of.

I tell you, I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Everything went in slow motion as the spider jumped onto my face. I screamed and screamed like a girl and what’s more, I had nowhere to move because I was restricted and my hands were holding the nesting box so I couldn’t shoo it off my face.

Thankfully the spider, unperturbed by my fuss, just crawled up to my hair and sat there as if nothing was happening at all and this was it’s new lookout.

I Managed to calm myself and get out of the cage all the while sweating like a race horse and my legs going weak underneath me as the spider made my head its new home.

LOL (I can laugh now) Suffice it to say I have a fear of spiders now…oh, and I don’t keep birds anymore either…

So how do you ‘enter’ this little competition? Simple. Send me your story: mark alders at yahoo dot com (remove words and add symbols to give you a valid email address) or comment on this post. See...simple, hey?

You can then choose a book from my current release list if your story is chosen (randomly) as the winner! So easy, hey? I will also post the wining story with your permission, of course.

Call of the Hunted

Mama’s Heart

The Pauper’s Prize

The Cadet’s Officer

Hope to hear from you. Competition closes midnight on Halloween! Muhahahaaaaaa

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Let's about sex, bay-bee with Gayle Carline


One of my friends emailed me after she read Freezer Burn, my debut mystery. Let's call her Mrs. NeedsMore, who wrote:"I enjoyed the read… I was more than a little disappointed with your approach to sex. Not enough detail... You can work on that in novel #2.


"I do have sex in my novel. I mean, my protagonist Peri has sex. She is in a long-term, committed relationship with Skip Carlton, a detective in the Placentia Police Department. They have lovely, delicious, hungry, languid, voracious, rapturous, gourmet sex.You just don't get to see it.Don't get me wrong: I like to read sex scenes. I just don't need to write them.


Before I wrote Freezer Burn, I wrote another novel. It's literary fiction, took me a year and a half to write, and is so convoluted, I can't tell you what it's about in 25 words or less. Hell, I can't tell you what it's about in 25,000 words. There was a young girl in it. She traveled. Stuff happened. Boring stuff. It now lies on my external hard drive, where I use it for parts.I had a big, fat sex scene in that book. It took me a long time to write, because I wanted passion without flowery euphemisms, but when I attempted lean and mean prose, the sparseness was boring. Finally, I had pages of detailed sexual play, leading up to a satisfying ending. And then…I was done. It was like I had this sex scene stuck in my head, and once I coughed it up, I didn't have to write about the details anymore.


In Freezer Burn, I let Peri and Skip make love whenever the mood strikes - before the murder investigation starts, but not after Peri's ribs are broken, after her ribs are healed, but before she gets shot - you get the picture.


Here is an excerpt:******They made it as far as the den, where Peri pulled him down to the rug in front of the fireplace. Laughing, stripping each other, stripping themselves, they made effervescent, enthusiastic love. At last satiated, they lay back on the pillows, propped against the fireplace bricks.


Skip groaned. "Man, we're too old for this."


Peri traced his jaw line with her fingers. "Speak for yourself, buddy. When you can't stand to look at my wrinkles, we'll just do it in the dark."******


The reader knows what happened. They just aren't going to see the videotape. So, Mrs. NeedsMore, you won't see any more detail in the next novel than you did in the first. I'm glad you enjoyed the read, but these are my characters. They deserve their privacy.


Gayle's Bio: Gayle spent 25 years as a software engineer, before escaping into the world of penniless authors. She has a weekly humor column in the Placentia News-Times (CA), but she loves a good mystery, so she wrote Freezer Burn, a cozy little tale of what to do when you find a severed hand in your freezer. It was so much fun, she's writing a second one!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are Writing Contests Fair?


I encourage all of you to research any contest you enter before sending in your application and contest fee. Even if you think the contest is a big, reputable contest, it may not be. There may be things you are unaware of behind the scenes. First of all, if there is a fee to enter the contest, get your feelers out. These writing contests are big money makers. Even in big chapters within RWA (Romance Writers of America)you need to read between the fine lines. Find out who is judging the contest, how many rounds of judging are involved and whether or not the finalists will be judged by real editors and agents. Even if you win a contest, there is no guarantee of publication for most contests. I've met many authors who have won very well respected contests and are still unpublished. In my opinion, you're better off spending your money on postage for submissions to real editors and agents.

I decided to write this blog after judging a contest recently. This contest was held by a chapter of RWA. I agreed to judge the paranormal entries. Four entries were sent to me but after reading them, I discovered that only one entry was a paranormal. Two were fantasy and one was science fiction. I asked the contest organizer about it. I did not receive a response from my email so I asked again. I was told that paranormal was sort of a mixed bag of entries this year. Either there were too many entries, not enough judges, not enough categories or not enough editors/agents interested in the various genres. I never received a true explanation. I felt this was wrong and should have excused myself from judging right then and there, seeing that the finalists in this category would go to a editor shopping for paranormals, not fantasy and sci fi. Those three entries would be ignored, regardless of their scores. What a waste of money, time and sweat for that poor author.

Instead, I finished judging the entries, shook my head and sent them off. Days later I received an email from the contest organizer, asking me to rejudge the entries because I didn't comment on every single section. If I felt there was no need to comment on characterization for example or grammar, I did not. In addition, I have a habit of scoring each section and saving all my comments for the end, giving the author both positive and constructive feedback about his or her entry. This is how I've always judged entries. I've judged for several contests and this has never been a problem.

What bothered me the most was that the contest organizer stressed that the contest prides itself on helping other writers so I really needed to rejudge my entries. Prides itself? On what? Ripping off the writers by tossing all the entries into a mixed bag contest that benefits no one, wastes the times of the judges, editors and agents and gives the writer zero exposure to the appropriate editor/agent? This seemed ridiculous and unfair to me.

In fact, I told the contest organizer this and asked her twice if the entrants know their entries are mixed in such a way. She never responded to this question. Often new writers have no idea who the editors and agents are in this industry. They had no idea that this particular editor has no interest in buying sci fi. The writer wasted her money and all that effort but who cares, the chapter benefitted. In fact, the organizer admitted she didn't know the difference between fantasy and paranormal. Great.



The contest organizer seemed a little blown away when I used the word "ridiculous" and her response was "Wow." As if I'm such a snooty author who refuses to help others. Actually, in my opinion, this kind of contest hurts writers. I asked her to remove me from the panel of judges. I refuse to support an unfair contest that makes money off of starry eyed writers.

This kind of contest is the kind that jades writers against things that are intended to help. The organizer whined to me in her email, telling me how much time she'd spent on this contest. Who cares, lady? What about the time the writer spent on the entry and the time the volunteer judges spent reading and judging the entries. These are the people that lost.

She did assure me that this problem would be fixed in the future. I can only hope so. I urge all of you writers out there to talk to your writer friends before paying good money on a contest that may not benefit you. Also, there are many contests that are free to enter. These are generally the best, looking for new talent, not money to keep their small chapters afloat. Make sure the contest is judged by only published authors. It will surprise you that some of these are not judged by authors, editors or agents. Some are judged by reviewers and avid readers. Not to say these people don't know what is good writing and what is not, but seriously, they do not know half that the published authors and editors/agents do about the craft. It's very much a craft with rules and those that learn these rules will produce better, more marketable manuscripts. This is what the agents and editors are looking for. A certificate saying you won a contest will not get you anywhere. Good writing will. Getting your writing in front of an editor or agent interested in buying your genre will possibly help your career. Mixed bag contests are unfair and waste everyone's time. Make sure the contest you enter is judged by qualified individuals. Research, talk to your friends and spend your money wisely.


Happy Writing and Reading!
~Alisha

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reading and Writing

I love to read almost any genre. Oh, there are a few I won't touch with a ten foot pole. Like anything on Oprah's Book Club for instance. Too much angst and depression there for me. I want a happy ending, and most of the books on her list end in tears. Not for me. Nope. Too many bad things in the world to want to waste my time reading something that exemplifies that. Anyhoo, I read a thread on a forum that made me think of this topic...are there things you like to read that you can't necessarily write?

The answer for me is a big Yes. I love me some historicals. For the most part they are fun to read. I love the structure of the society norms, the rules the hijinx the characters get into to try and circumvent those rules. However, I don't think I could write a full on historical. I do have a paranormal Victorian under my belt, but it was a novella, not novel legnth and relied on other elements to "break rules." I have written a paranormal/Gothic/contemp. that occurs in three different time periods, but again, not the entire book is written in an historical voice. I'd love to do it someday, but I am fearful.

I do know love the fact that over the years, I have been able to stretch my writing comfort zone a bit. I do write things now that I don't think I could have put on paper 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe in a another few years I'll feel comfortable enough to do that full length historical. I do have one in mind I'd love to write, but it is highly improper (snerk) and lives on the fringes of polite society. As in...not at all. It's about the other side of society. The working class, not the well off. There are no ballrooms, or oppulent surroundings, and there's lots and lots of sex.

I have all my research materials in place, but I haven't had time to read them yet. I want to get some of these other books on my harddrive cleared away before I do.

So, what about you? Are there books out there you'd love to write, but don't know if you feel comfortable in that genre, or sub-genre?

-Kat

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Please Welcome Jill Noble of Noble Romance Publishing

Any good career counselor will tell you to take some time and research a company to help determine if you and the company make a good fit together. Sometimes, if you don’t take the time to research a company properly, you might find yourself unhappy with your choice. Today, I plan to help you research one company in particular. Joining me today is Jill Noble of Noble Romance Publishing.

1. Who are the people behind Noble Romance Publishing (NRP)? Beyond what is offered on the website, please, because our readers would like to get to know who will be handing their “children”. What do those behind the scenes do and what experience do they bring to the table?

I’ve recently updated the Web site to include more information on this. Allow me, please to offer that info here.

Owner - Jim Noble

Jim Noble is an entrepreneur with over 30 years experience in business development, management, and marketing. He is a shareholder in several successful major national and international corporations.

Senior Editor - Jill N. Noble

Jill N. Noble has published several erotic romance stories under the pen name Jill Noelle. She was formerly a staff writer for Custom Erotica Source, a Senior Editor with Loose Id, LLC and a Direct Marketing Copywriter with LendingTree, LLC. She has over 20 years experience in marketing and advertising, and over 7 years experience in the e-publishing industry.

Accounting/Bookkeeping - Sara Andrews

Cover Artist - Fiona Jayde

Fiona Jayde designs magnificent covers for several well-known e-publishers.
Learn more about Fiona's work here.

Editorial Staff - Noble Romance uses several freelance editors who have extensive experience in writing and epublishing.

2. Where does NRP exist in the real world, or is it strictly an online entity?

LOL. No, we have a business address, but it’s a PO Box. Our office (the actual building) is in Atlanta, on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, but I work from home – or wherever I happen to be at the time. ;-)

3. We’ve all heard that necessity is the mother of invention, but tell us, what need was NRP created to fill for you? How did it go from just an idea to the reality of what we see today, and how long has NRP been serving the writing and the reading community?

I have been involved in the epublishing world since 2002. I loved everything about it – the new and different stories, the authors, the online interaction with readers and writers, the sense of community. I wrote and published books through a few of the older epublishers, and I worked as a senior editor for Loose Id, because I loved everything about this business. I also love working with other authors, helping them polish their manuscripts, brainstorm, etc. I started planning/researching with an eye toward opening my own company. In 2007, LendingTree (my former employer) downsized, cutting 20 percent of their workforce. Fortunately, I was one of those they let go. ;-) I presented my research, along with a business plan, to my brother and asked him to get involved. He’s smart – very – recognized the potential, and in March 2007 we opened Noble Romance Publishing, LLC. Our first books were released toward the end of that year.

4. When asked, most successful business entrepreneurs have a person or business they admire such as Donald Trump or McDonald’s. What corporation do you compare NPR to determine success or failure? Who do you compare yourself to, look up to, drives you to make the decisions that you do and keeps you striving for success?

My brother, Chris, passed away in 2002. He was and is my role model. He was a successful inventor/entrepreneur who nurtured my creative ideas and provided excellent advice on a daily basis. He’s my motivation and I still strive to make him proud.

5. What has the entire process of creating, designing, developing and maintaining NRP taught you about yourself as an owner, editor, publisher, writer and reader?

As an owner, it’s reiterated the need for professional behavior at all times. The Internet has a long memory. ;-)
As an editor, it’s reminded me of how many wonderfully creative people there are out there, and how hard authors work on their “babies.”
As a publisher, it’s taught me the enormity of being responsible for some many people’s work.
As a writer, it’s reminded me of how exciting it is to create something from a blank page.
And as a reader, it’s exciting to be exposed to so many amazing books!


6. Is it easy to differentiate from one hat to another (editor, publisher, writer, reader, owner), or do you find that no matter what aspect of NRP that you are dealing with you always wear the same multi-cornered hat?

Always the same, and I like it that way. Keeps me balanced, keeps me focused on what’s important…the authors, their books and our readers.

7. Has the success of NRP been what was expected or hoped for, or has it exceeded expectations? How has it grown? What still needs to be cultivated (in other words, where is growth happening too slowly)?

We came on the scene during a pretty bad time, both in the epublishing world, with all the bad behavior and business closings, and from an economical standpoint. So, no, we didn’t grow as fast as I’d hoped and we had to re-evaluate our business plan and our goals. The good news is we seem to have gotten over that “hump,” and we’re attracting bigger authors, more readers, and selling more books. If we continue to grow at the rate we have been the last six months, I’ll be very happy.

8. What changes have been made and will be made to ensure the continuing success of NRP and it’s abilities to serve the writing and reading communities?

We are constantly re-evaluating everything – the types of books we release, our release schedule, our advertising/marketing techniques, etc., and we’re always exploring new ways to expose more people to ebooks. This is an ongoing effort, and I don’t expect it to change any time soon.

9. What are NRP’s goals for the next two years, and how does NRP plan to meet those goals?

We’re looking into quite a few different methods of putting our books in front of a larger audience. I can’t talk about specifics at the moment, but our goals remain the same…continue attracting higher-profile authors, continue building our readership and attracting more readers to our site (rather than 3rd party vendors), and continue to expose more readers to ebooks.

10. In your opinion, what are the reasons that will keep NRP alive and publishing in these tight economic times while many e-publishers continue to fold?

Choosing the right books, keeping operating costs at a bare minimum and focusing our cash flow where it matters most (authors), my willingness to work 18 hour days for almost nothing. ;-) Those are just a few things.

11. In terms of publishing, does NRP strictly sell eBooks, or do you sell print version books as well? On average, how many books a month are sold through NPR?

At the moment, we only sell ebooks. Our business plan does call for moving into audio and print, but only when the timing is right and when we can do it in a way that makes sense, financially.

Sales vary based on author and sub-genre. Our highest sellers at the moment are contemporary or paranormal M/M. We do really well with these, but we also try to vary our releases so we’re not totally focused on one sub-genre. Unfortunately, sometimes this brings our overall numbers down. I’d rather not give an average at this time, because I’ve seen a steady increase in sales over the last few months and I’d like to have more data before I answer that question. If you come back and ask me in six months, I’ll be happy to give you numbers that accurately reflect what’s happening at that time.


12. If an author is trying to make a very informed choice when choosing a publisher and is interested to note how successful NRP was last year (which can be an indicator as to how economically stable NRP is or isn’t), where could he or she go to find NRP’s profit margins and related information?

Unfortunately, because NRP, LLC is a privately held corporation, that information is not public.

13. Who do you feel are your main competitors and what have you done to stay competitive? What do you do that they do not?

There are many decent, reputable epublishers out there now, providing authors with fine choices when it comes time to submit their novels for publication. I recommend authors do their research, ask other authors about their experiences with these other companies and check out sites like Preditors and Editors, and Emily Veinglory’s EREC site blog for more information.

What do we do differently? Depends on who you’re comparing us to. At NRP, you’ll find excellence in editing, one-on-one author support, timely royalty payments, amazing cover art and a friendly yet professional environment. And as I mentioned earlier, we also offer an advance of up to $1000 against royalties.

Thanks for this opportunity to let your readers learn a little more about Noble Romance Publishing. If you’d like to know more, my “cyber-door” is always open. Feel free to email me directly.
Jill@nobleromance.com.


If you missed the first part of Jill’s two-part interview, go to Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem.

Before you run off to Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem, don’t forget to leave a message for your chance to win one of three promo codes for free ebooks!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rainbow Awards

The Rainbow Awards has started and ‘The Pauper’s Prize’ is up for nomination.

Click here to vote for it. I know you want to *giggle*

Oh, and a great big thank you to those who have already placed their vote for my book. It’s you, my readers that have made The Pauper’s Prize the success it has been.

Thanks

Talk to you all again next week.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sex with A Vampire!







As Halloween approaches, my mind and dreams are filled with vamps making love. Reminds me of Chass and Vex from Nocturnally Vexed.




Chass nodded as she started down a well worn trail. Something called to her, but
she wasn’t sure what. The sun shone through two overlapping clouds, lighting the
tangled trees of Nunhead. They entered one of the oldest sections, where vines hugged
the wide trunks, winding all the way to the scattering arms of branches, creating a soft carpet for all the chattering squirrels skittering about in the chilly morning air. Vex followed her, instinctively knowing where she was headed. He’d had a premonition. His mouth curved into a smile as the cottage came into view. Nestled deep within a grove of ancient oaks, the abandoned cemetery keeper’s home called to them. Twigs, leaves and grass spurted from the gutters, sturdy bird’s nests, lined in metal. Vines had overtaken the doorway and windows, shutting out almost all sunlight. A lopsided, rotting wooden porch creaked when Chass stepped onto it and tried the knob.




“Hey, where’re you going, my lady?”

“Do you think anyone’s home?” she joked. She knew as well as Vex that the
cottage had been abandoned for years. It was in desperate need of repair on the outside, but when Vex managed to force it open with one solid kick of his boot, they both gasped.

Inside, a fire roared in the corner. A tea kettle whistled on the stove and a lovely
bed was dead center in the middle of a room, an oddity for sure. There was only one
room. Candles lined the fireplace mantle and the place looked as though a maid had just swept through. Vex chuckled. He guessed his mother was behind this and he’d be right too. She was conjuring magic from beyond the grave to entice his soon to be bride into his arms. They’d already made love in Xurath, though Chass still believed it to be a dream. He’d shifted during the night, left his jail cell and ran as a black cat through the streets of London. No one would suspect a stray as an accused escape killer. If he’d known Jack’s recent killing would free him the next day, he might have waited, but he didn’t want to risk it. Chass’s virgin status put her in grave danger and he needed to do something about it. Now he was determined to repeat the so called sex dream and make it a reality for her.

“How cozy!” Chass cooed.

“Hmm, very,” Vex agreed.

“Vex, did you arrange this? You sly devil, you!”

He decided to go with it. He already had so much explaining to do. The truth
would come out sooner or later. Right now all he could think of was ravishing his
betrothed again and again. “Guilty as charged!”

“How sweet! However did you manage it?” Chass asked as Vex closed the door
behind them, shutting out most of the daylight, leaving them in wavering candle glow
and flickering firelight. The tea kettle stopped whistling on its own, but Chass never noticed.

Chass curled her arms around Vex’s neck and smiled up at him. “I missed
you,” she whispered.




“I missed you more.”

“I had a dream about you.”

“Mmmm … so you said, my love. So you said,” he growled as he scooped her
into his arms and carried her to the bed.

“Oh, Vex?”

“Hmm?”

“The telepathic thing. That’s real isn’t it?”

“Indeed.” He lay beside her and kissed her once, fully on the lips. Chass looked
up at him, studying his dark face. His hair hung over his right shoulder, dipping into her cleavage. Her nipples hardened.

“It was fun. Where’d you learn to do it?” she asked.

“I was born with it,” Vex explained easily, bending down for another kiss. He
was already hard, ready to take her now.

“Can we do that all the time?” Chass asked, more interested in his telepathic
abilities than sex at the moment.

“Whenever you want, love,” Vex answered, growing more frustrated by the
second.

“Do your brothers share this unique gift?” Chass asked innocently.

“Hell no!” Vex lied. He didn’t want Chass in their heads or her in any of theirs.

Chass laughed. She didn’t believe him. Vex silenced her questions with a
searing kiss, molding his mouth to hers and sucking every last bit of breath out of her, on purpose, an old bloodsucker technique. He broke the seal and Chass came up gasping, incredibly turned on. Her green eyes shimmered like a burning spring meadow as she pulled him to her, grasping a handful silky, black hair, begging him to do it again. He took the hint, sucking her dry, and then blowing some of her own breath back into her lungs in one long drag. He could feel her lungs fill up beneath him and felt her smile curve beneath his kiss. She chuckled. He grumbled out a short laugh himself, teasing her with a few more short blowing breaths. She gasped for air and chuckled some more.

“Is that how you get all the ladies to shut up?”

“No, just you, Miss Chatter Box. Chass?”

Chass raised one thin brow.

“Will you just shut up and make love to me?”

A stream of happiness wound its way through her overheated body and curled
itself around her beating heart.

“My lips are zipped,” she whispered.

Vex growled again and took her in her arms, rolling her over, slipping her wool
skirt over her ankles in one swift movement. She wore ivory stockings attached to a
black, lacy garter belt. His mouth watered at the sight. “Damn, Chass, you are one sexy dame!”

Chass only smiled back as she shook off her sweater and unbuttoned her blouse to
reveal the matching lace bra. Vex lost it. He let out a howl that sent Chass reaching for her clothes, turning a deathly white. She stared at him wide-eyed. That was no man pretending to howl like a wolf. It was a damn wolf howl, straight from the throat of a hungry animal. Vex couldn’t help it. He hadn’t intended to howl like that, but Chass really brought out the animal in him. He wanted nothing more than to shift into a wolf and have his way with her. He went to her.

“Baby, I’m sorry. Did I scare you?”

Chass only nodded like a scared little mouse.

“I learned that in college. Sounds real, huh?”

“Blimey, Vex! That was the most realist wolf sound I’ve ever heard! Are you
sure you aren’t a werewolf?” She tried to make a joke out of the awkward moment.

Damn! Yes, I’m a werewolf, a bloodsucker or any other animal you can think of.
She didn’t have a reaction when I’d told her the other night.


Of course, Chass still believed their visit to Xurath to be a very realistic dream. Vex would have to explain his heritage to her soon enough. “I promise, I won’t eat you for breakfast, now come here,” he ordered with a pretend, manly sounding growl, on purpose, just for effect to show her he really was only a man.

Chass smiled weakly. Vex pulled his sweater over his head and kicked off his
jeans. This time it was Chass who wanted to howl. His muscles in the flickering
candlelight rippled. She licked her lips. She was wet in two seconds flat. She’d never wanted a man like this. Never. He simply oozed with sex appeal. Heady, drunk lust flooded her entire being. Once again she felt intoxicated. All she could think of was of becoming one with this great hunk of a man. Nothing else mattered. All sad thoughts of Tabitha had been washed away. Vex unfastened her bra and held both breasts in his hands from behind. Chass closed her eyes.

Vex spoke to her in his mind. Oh, Chass, you’re so beautiful. Chass answered
him. Take me, Vex. I’ve never wanted another man. You are the first and you’ll be the
last.


Vex flipped her over and unfastened her garter belt in two quick snaps. He didn’t
bother to take off the stockings or the panties. He rolled on top of her while the fire crackled, sizzled and popped. The rest of the world was shut out from them both. With one thick, steadied hand he pulled the thin crotch of her panties to the side and dove inside. Chass gasped, her eyes opening wide. One second of quick pain and then incredible pleasure engulfed her. It was glorious. His warmth filled her as he began to pump into her, pummeling her with wicked desire, born hundreds of years before, made for just the two of them. All inhibitions were gone. Chass curled her long legs around him and placed her hands on his firm behind, pushing him in further. He was still being too gentle and she wanted it rough this time. Needed it rough. Hunger ate its way through her. She had to be fed. Vex screamed. All that velvet warmth, hugging him, surrounding him. His mind began fading to long beams of white light as trickles of unbearable delight rocked through him.

“Chass, Chass!”

“Fuck me, Vex! Please, oh ... please ... baby ... harder! Fuck me!” Chass
panted and groaned, bit and licked at his mouth, his chest, his nipples.

Vex sat up to get a tighter angle, pulling her to him. Her head snapped to his,
staring straight through to his soul, wanting to claim it, be a part of it, be his. He pushed her hips into his with both hands on her black panties and dove deeper still. Chass screamed, throwing her head back in ecstasy. Her breasts beat against his chest with each thrust. She held on tight, clawing at his shoulders with long nails, never wanting the ride to end. Vex pulled her by the hair. She let out a moan as her neck fell to the side, exposing a blue vein, pumping wildly in the midst of lustful passion.

He couldn’t resist. He never even gave it a thought when he bit into her, sinking his long canines into her delicate, powder white flesh. Chass’s eyes flew open in horror. Tears streamed down her face. She was unable to scream as the life drained from her. Vex drank his fill, ever the bloodsucker beneath the surface. She was half dead, slumped into his arms when he realized the beast had taken over. In one quick movement, he pulled his two-inch dagger like teeth out of the bleeding holes along her tender neck. He screamed out loud and in his head. Screamed for his mother, his father and all four brothers to come, then he buried his face into her neck and held her dying body.




Vampire Sex Rocks!

Until next week...carpe nocturne!
~Alisha

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tickle Your Funny Bone

I've never understood why the film and publishing industry takes a dim look at romantic comedy. The movie critics will poo-poo the latest release in theatres regardless of the stars on the marquee. The gatekeepers in the publishing world will tell you that romantic comedy just doesn't sell well. My response to that is..."Who doesn't like to laugh and fall in love?"

You'd have to be a pretty heartless shell not to enjoy the antics of Must Love Dogs, or My Blue Heaven - and before you say My Blue Heaven isn't a romantic comedy, take note that both the heroes in that movie get their respective girls in the end. I think the contention with RC is that one has to be in the mood to enjoy it. It's not always what the emotional palate calls for. If you are in a mood for Action/Adventure - Serendipity might not be what the doctor ordered. Even me, who adores RC can't just pull one off the shelf if I'm in a bad or indifferent mood and watch one - though I will admit I've been pulled out of a funk more than once by doing that exact thing.

But that's all in the watching or experiencing RC from a fan's viewpoint - what about writing in that genre? It's not as easy as it looks, and I speak from experience.

When Samhain put their submissions call for the "Tickle My Fantasy" anthology, I thought....what the hell, I'll give it a try. I have a paranormal romantic comedy I've started, I'll just think of it in terms of a novella rather than a novel and see what I got. However, thinking of writing something in the abstract and actually going the distance are two entirely different concepts. I knew I could turn the successfully funny one-liner, but could I sustain a fun atmosphere for an entire novella? Who knows?


I did. And I did. But it wasn't always easy. Comedy is as much timing and attitude as it is choreography of characters. I'm currently writing a sequel to Paramatch.com - the novella that will appear in the December release of TMF - and I have to say, it's giving me extreme fits. I find the heroine in much funnier than the hero. Sure he's a smart ass, but he's not given to funny. Is that good or bad when balanced against the entirety of the story? Well, in any comedic duo someone has to play the straight man, might as well make it the hero. But is the formula right? Let's face it, one person's funny is another person's lame. I shudder to think I might be writing in the latter category.

I am almost halfway done with the book, so I'll finish it up and then send it on to a beta reader, someone else who is writing a sequel for the proposed TMF2 and see if they laugh. But what is that elusive element that makes people laugh? Is it physical comedy, or Lucille Ball working the chocolate conveyor belt situations? Is it a wacky character outlook to rather normal circumstances and their take on the world that makes a good comedy.

I think it's a combo platter. (I'd like the #5 with eggroll, please!) - Sometimes it's just the premise itself that is funny. I have this idea for a romantic comedy where the heroine inherits a fortune cookie factory but has herself no luck at all. To me, that set up is filled with romantic comedy potential. My premise for Paramatch.com was a talentless witch who owns a matchmaking business that caters to the city's paranormal element. Again, comedic potential in the premise. Maybe that is where it starts - the very inception of the idea has to lend itself to wild scenarios beyond the norm. And I don't just mean those of a paranormal nature, but out of the ordinary. Wrong place, right time situations.

Hmmmm...it's something to think about anyhow.

Until next week, keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

-Kate

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Giddy Southerner Invades the Big Apple!!

Wow, it’s Saturday already? *scratches head* Where’d the time go? I’m up to my eyeballs in edits and I'm working on a legal brief, BUT tomorrow I leave for New York, New York!

*screams and dances around* Be glad I wasn’t dancing naked, you really would have gone blind. ;-)

Big apple, here I come!! Er…me and all my luggage. *giggles* I went nearly homicidal when my husband informed me I had to whittle it down to one suitcase. Is he crazy?!?! It’s in the low 80s here and in the high 60s there, how in the hell am I supposed to know what to bring? I need everything! Not fair that the airports put such limitations on us. So, yeah, when he started talking money and how an extra suitcase would cost extra, I did discard some stuff. *grumbles and bitches ridiculously* I decided I didn’t need two pairs of clothes for each day, except for the nights we attend Broadway. So, I managed to get it all into one suitcase. Miracle! LOL Seriously, because I believe in going on vacation armed and prepared for any occasion, most of the time I only use about half the stuff I pack. :D

I’m so excited I’m about to combust. Or at least I was until my seven year old started asking who was going to get my toe ring when I died. That moment was a mixed bag of emotions.

First thought: It’s a silver toe ring!! *facepalm* It’s worthless, who the hell wants it? And it doesn’t even rate a mention in the Last Will and Testament.

Second thought: *stuffs fingers in ears and sings loudly* Not having this conversation!

I don’t want to talk about dying when I’m about to get on an airplane! Nope, not really a great time for that discussion…for me anyway. LOL But my seven year old, he’s obsessed with death. So, I don’t believe he was having any premonitions and I’m not getting any bad vibes. Around my house, “death” for my seven year old is a big conversation piece. We’ve discussed dying until I finally pulled my Last Will and Testament out and showed him who his guardians would be and what all he gets of mine. *shakes head* I really wish he’d get beyond this stage…soon! Grrrr

So, anyway, I’m headed to New York, it's just me and my husband—Whee! No kids! Even bigger WHEE!—and I can’t freaking wait! I’ve never been there before and I want to see it all! Everything it has to offer! Any of you have any great advice?

Be sure to check back next Saturday, October 10th, for an interview with Jill Noble of Noble Romance Publishing and enter for a chance to win codes for free ebooks!!!
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