Stuck

My writing has been going very slowly lately, as I obsessively re-write the same chapter. It’s a frustrating situation. In my head, I know exactly what I want my character to say and do, but I have so many things running through my head when I’m writing that I feel absolutely stuck.

For example:
• Don’t include unnecessary information
• Use more active verbs
• Don’t use too many pronouns
• Keep up the tension, both internal and external

But finally this pass week, I finished the chapter, and I’m happy with the results. It feels absolutely freeing to be able to move on; however, this whole situation got me thinking. Why did I get so hung up? The first few chapters of this book flew by, and were good, so why did I suddenly start doubting myself so much?

I think I’m the kind of person who always wants to be improving, so when someone gives me X feedback, I never want to make the same mistake again. The difficult thing about writing is that it’s perfectly normal to make the same mistake over and over again, because I’m always writing something for the first time. No matter how good I get, there will always be issues with my first draft. I think the trick is to make sure I fix those problems by the time I get to the second or third draft.

So I am trying to just keep pushing forward with my new chapter, without focusing quite so much on what I should or shouldn’t be doing, and instead focusing on what I am writing.

New Release ~ Demonstorm (HoaV #6) is here! #Vampires #romance #Ebooks @AmberKallyn

DemonStorm_Kindle Demonstorm, Heart of a Vampire, Book #6 by Amber Kallyn

Release Date: April 13, 2014

Available at Amazon B&N/Nook Google Play

(Other retailers coming soon)

Amazingly Awesome cover art by Dawné Dominique

Blurb

A vampire demon half-breed must save the only woman able to mend his soul.

Half-demon, half-vampire, Sean MacDougal is an outcast, unwelcome by all. When the Arcaine world finds out a war is brewing that will affect all paranormal creatures, Sean is the only one who can find the demoness who holds desperately needed answers.

Used for centuries as the pet Seer of the demon who destroyed her family, Mayah is rescued by a strange half-breed who asks, rather than demands, her assistance. Unable to trust, she pretends to agree, but only if he helps rescue her brother, held prisoner deep in the frozen wilds of Alaska.

Becoming a protector fulfills an emptiness within Sean he never knew existed. Being protected makes Mayah feel safe for the first time in centuries. Hunted by an entire demon army, led by the one who wants Mayah back, they must learn to trust in themselves, in one another and in the emotions sparking between them–no matter how hard they try to resist.

Excerpt

Chapter One

The Judgment Hall of the castle hummed as it filled with a variety of Arcaine creatures. Jordan, King of the local vampire clan, stood at the front, his arms crossed as he glowered at anybody who got too loud. A cell phone rang out–some hip-hop song–and the King’s glare turned sharp. A young vampire slid deeper into his seat, hastily fumbling to silence the noise.

The long rows of wooden benches overflowed, yet more Arcaine were still arriving.

Whispers said a war was coming. One that threatened to fracture the paranormal world.

Unfortunately, that was all they knew about the darkness drawing near.

Jordan, a newly found cousin, had invited creatures from all over Arizona and the southwest to his historical castle that was hidden from mortals. Together, they would discuss what steps to take to gather more information.

Sean MacDougal stood in the shadows against the wall at the back. Few clan vampires gave him a second glance, used to ignoring him. Outsiders though, had differing opinions on allowing a demon vampire half-breed like Sean to live, much less listen to a conversation regarding such delicate discussions.

A group of Fey, tall and unnaturally beautiful, glided into the cavernous Hall. As one, they stopped, turning their eerie gazes toward Sean. They knew what he was, by the scent of his power, as well as his strange eyes–light gray irises surrounded by a thin band of vampire red, and a second ring of the purest demon black

Sean straightened, ready for whatever was about to come.

One man, at the back of the group, drew a sword as he shouted, “Demon half-breed.” He lunged for Sean.

Pulling one of the thin but deadly katanas from the sheaths across his back, Sean met the Fey’s swing. Swords clashed, ringing out in an echo of magical metal. Blue and red sparks danced above the blades.

“You dare draw a weapon while given sanctuary?” Jordan’s yell boomed through the room, making everyone freeze. Intoned with over a thousand years of power, the man could make others quake with a mere glance, much less his reverberating voice.

Jordan’s wife, Dalia, slid between Sean and the Fey man, pushing their blades down. “Come, now. We’re here to work together.”

The Fey literally trembled with the need to continue his attack. “Abomination,” he growled. Turning to glance over the room, he added, “Everyone knows the law of the Council. Half-breeds are to be killed on sight.”

Dalia hummed lightly under her breath. Her strange Omega magic could bring the feeling of peacefulness to any Arcaine. “This one is an exception,” she replied sweetly, brushing back a lock of pink-streaked blonde hair from her face.

The Fey man’s eyes widened. “Not possible. The Council doesn’t make exceptions for his kind.”

“I can take care of this, Dalia,” Sean said exasperated, his voice laced with barely contained anger. Then his heart sank as he caught sight of the man storming toward them.

Connor Gregory stepped in front of Sean, pushing the Fey man hard enough to send him stumbling.

“I am the Council’s representative here.” Connor bowed slightly, lips turned up in a smirk. His deliberate flash of fangs contained deadly intent. “He is under my protection. Spread the word.”

The Fey’s sword arm shook as he faced a Judge.

Appointed by the Magic Council, Judges were recruited from the strongest, most powerful of all Arcaine and given the power to be not only judge and jury, but executioner as well.

Staring at the back of Connor’s head, all Sean could think about was smashing the flat of his sword against that skull. Knocking some sense into the man must surely prove he could take care of himself.

“Any questions?” Connor turned, his gaze piercing the entire room. Guests and clan vamps alike flinched, many sitting lower in their seats to avoid his glare.

When there was no answer, Connor waved his hand for the meeting to progress. After a long moment, conversations resumed. Connor leaned against the wall next to Sean.

“I could have taken care of it,” Sean mumbled, trying to ignore the fiery blaze of resentment as he shoved his fingers through his short, dark hair.

“Aye, son. Perhaps.”

The constant lack of confidence scratched at his already raw temper. So did the fearful glances from some around the room–not at the vampire Judge, but at Sean and his mixed blood. He barely contained a low growl.

It was bad enough anyone who saw him immediately realized what he was. They either ran away in fear that he must be possessed by a crazed bloodlust, or attempted to take his head per Council law. None could concentrate on the part of him that was vampire–they only saw the certain looming destruction by his demon half.

It was driving him insane to have everyone here continue to coddle him as if he wasn’t a nearly thousand years old. Soon he would be overcome by a bloodlust like they feared. Not because of his demon nature, but from his overprotective parents.

His mother, Ashlyn, swooped in, shooting glares at the group of Fey as they moved off. She patted his cheek. “Are you all right? I’ll teach those jerks to threaten you.”

Sean sighed, shaking his head at the uselessness of it all. She refused to think of him as anything more than a child, as if they hadn’t been on the run for centuries, protecting each other. He hadn’t failed her. Yet since finding their family and a home with this clan, as well as his father, she was more overprotective than ever. As if she was trying to compensate for the rough struggle of the past, or something.

Ashlyn sidled to Connor, placing a chaste kiss on his cheek. When she met his gaze, her eyes smoldered with such intense love, it nearly took Sean’s breath away.

And Connor, his father, looked at her with the same emotion.

Sean scooted away, uncomfortable.

He didn’t begrudge his mother her happiness. Didn’t even feel resentment anymore at his recently found father. He was truly happy they’d rekindled their love. His mother deserved it.

But he chafed at the chains of protection both his parents wanted to shackle him with.

A group of younger vampires sitting a few yards away laughed loudly. He caught a few whispers, glances his way.

How could he ever prove himself worthy of the clan no one ever let him?

Oh, sure. He was a master sword-fighter. Long swords, short, he was proficient with them all. His father had recently taught him the joys of using a katana. Sean now wore a matching pair of the thin, yet deadly, Japanese swords strapped across his back. Designed by an ancient sword master, the blades were not only unbreakable, but imbued with magics.

Every Arcaine was needed in this time of uncertain trouble, but even with all his skills, no one would give him a chance.

The huge doors slammed open and a short, old crone strode in. Stringy white hair fluttered around her deeply lined face.

Some in the room hushed, bowing their heads as the old woman walked by. Others seemed to freeze. The power roiling off her hit Sean. He took a half step forward, undeniably drawn to her magic.

She stopped, smiling kindly, before continuing to the front of the room.

The King and all those arguing with him fell silent as they took a few steps back, making way for the woman.

When she spoke, her voice was impossibly strong. Full of immense magic, more powerful than Sean had ever felt before. “All must leave but those who be in charge, and the few on this list.” She drew out a sheet of paper and gave it to Jordan.

“Connor, Ashlyn, stay.” The king read the rest of the list of those the woman wanted to remain, then he hesitated, sending the crone a sharp glance.

“Aye. I want the man,” she said.

“Sean,” Jordan finally stated, looking up briefly.

Ashlyn opened her mouth to speak, but Connor shushed her. Surprise coursed through Sean as he slowly made his way to the front of the room.

The other leaders began to grumble, but a quick glance from the old woman quieted them. Great. Yet another person trying to keep him “safe”.

Jordan repeated her edict to the lingering crowd, “You heard her. Out.”

Vamps and other creatures began filing out, most avoided looking Sean’s way. When everyone was gone save for the large group who had been on her list and the leaders of each type of Arcaine creatures present, the doors were closed and barred.

The woman pulled a long, black cloth from a hidden pocket and laid it over the seat of Jordan’s throne. From another pocket she drew out a silver cup. Something clattered inside as she shook it, then dumped the contents on the cloth.

Small bones tumbled over one another, only to stop prematurely, as if guided by magic rather than gravity.

The woman didn’t look at the bones, but rather the crowd around her. “Most of ye know me. Some call me Jezamine. Others call me witch, seer, prophetess. Call me what ye will, no mind to me. But I have seen the next step needed if we not be dyin’ in this comin’ darkness.”

Niki, one of Jordan’s vampires, held her husband’s hand. Shane, the local sheriff and Keeper of the Peace between the Arcaine, stared at the bones scattered over the throne as if entranced.

Dalia twirled her pink and blonde hair as she stepped closer to the throne, peering at the bones. “What do you see?” she asked.

“There be one we need.” Jezamine glanced up sharply, staring at each person. Then her gaze landed on Sean. And stayed.

He looked into the crone’s black eyes, feeling as if he was falling into endless depths.

“Demon,” she said.

He was unable to shake his head, or move in any way, as he attempted to deny her words. “Only half.”

She shrugged and with a smirk, stated, “Close enough.”

She finally looked away, leaving him feeling as if she hadn’t been looking at him, but rather into him. “It be a demoness we need. She can see the future, knows about the slimy darkness comin’ over us all.”

Jordan stood straighter. “We’ll gather our best men–”

“Nay,” the crone interrupted. “Ye’re men are no match for this task. No match for the deadly poison in demon claws. Not for her, either.”

Before Sean noticed her moving, Jezamine stood before him. She slid one long, sharp nail beneath his chin and raised his head. Once more he fell into her gaze. She blinked and glanced away before he could try to break free.

The crone stared at his mother. “You coddle this one like he be child. Do ye not see the man?”

Ashlyn opened her mouth, then closed it without a sound.

Jezamine nodded to Jordan. “This one. He be immune to such poisons, and so much more,” she stated cryptically. “He must go. Retrieve the one who can be our help. And he must go alone.”

The room erupted in anger, those not his clan shouting about his tainted blood, how a half-breed could never be trusted.

Sean caught his father’s assessing stare. There was not only a surprising confidence in Connor’s gaze, but approval as well. His mother, however, looked like she was about to cry.

Standing tall, Sean faced Jezamine. “Thank you,” he said softly.

“It not be easy,” she warned. “But ye have it in ye to succeed.” She smiled beautifully, and for a split second, he glimpsed the shadow of a much younger woman shining from her gaze. “Succeed in many ways, if ye choose,” she chortled.

“We’ll get you prepared, packed–” Connor began.

“He must leave tonight.” Jezamine pulled out a notebook, stuffed with papers and all sorts of strange items, from yet another hidden pocket and handed them to Sean. “Trust yerself. That be yer key.”

 

***

 

The overpowering stench of decay in the cavernous dining hall made Mayah’s stomach churn. The sight of demons and a myriad of Arcaine creatures sitting at the long rows of wooden tables and piggishly shoveling food into their maws made bile rise to burn the back of her throat. Raucous laughter filled the air, grating, making her temples throb with a headache.

Someone tossed a cup onto a table and the eighteenth fight of the six-hour long feast broke out. A dog-faced demon wrestled some sort of rock creature across the floor.

Sitting beside her, Brüs laughed as he banged his golden chalice in front of him, shouting, “More!”

Mayah rubbed the chaffed skin beneath the leather collar at her throat, careful not to prick her skin on any of the sharp spikes of specially created iron. The metal, mixed with numerous things debilitating to any demon, would send her reeling from even a small cut. Poison would seep through her blood, taking inestimable time before her body could neutralize it.

Minutes later, the rock creature lay sprawled against a wall, unconscious, bloody and ignored. The dog demon sat back down and continued eating, those around him slapping his back with hearty congratulations.

Unfortunately, that meant Brüs was no longer entertained.

As the last “dancer” was claimed by one of his guests to attend their needs, Brüs grasped the iron chain connected to Mayah’s collar.

He jerked her close enough that she nearly vomited at the rotting stink of his fetid breath.

She glanced up at Brüs, brushing back her many colored braids, ranging from white-blonde to the deep red of blood. It was hard, but she swallowed the nausea and forced all emotion from her face, giving him only a pleasant, if blank, expression.

“You. Dance,” he commanded.

Calming the quick flash of anger, she smiled sweetly. “I didn’t realize I’d been forced down here tonight to be entertainment for you and your men.”

He scowled, taking a minute to process her words, in a near-drunken haze from the demon brew he’d been gulping down by the barrel. His pitted, scarred face remained tinged by the gray that proclaimed him an Abatu demon–one who thrived on destruction and death–rather than flushed red like some of his completely drunk companions.

“You ain’t fulfilling any other duties. When’s the last time you had a prophecy for me like a good demoness?”

She bowed her head, long used to showing a submissive pose while not cutting herself on the spiked collar. Her many-colored braids fell over her face, helping to hide her raging emotions until she could control them once more. “Truly, it grieves me to be feeling so sickly of late. But if you wish me to use my last bit of health to dance for you, I shall certainly do so.”

He grumbled, but allowed the end of the chain to slip from his grasp.

Mayah leaned back, keeping her gaze down and her fisted hands hidden in her lap, out of fear this might be the time her anger escaped.

After a few calming breaths, she risked a glance up from beneath her lashes. Her blood cooled at the calculating glint in his black eyes, as if he wasn’t nearly as drunk as he made out.

“If I don’t get a prophecy soon, perhaps I’ll allow you to join the dancers. Permanently,” he stated.

She hid the shiver that oozed down her spine, knowing exactly what he implied. Only her status as Seer and Prophetess saved her from being mauled in the beds of his guests.

The thought of fulfilling that role, when even some of the pure blooded Succubi demonesses didn’t always survive the night, snapped a tight band of bleakness around her heart.

“Of course, perhaps you may still have some usefulness after all. Can’t allow some brute to take your virginity and your powers along with it.” He sat back in his throne, rubbing his chin as he added his ultimate threat. “Maybe instead, the punishment should go to your brother. I could visit my other castle and see him. Listen to his delightful screams. Think that might reawaken your Sight?”

“No, Sire,” she whispered, struggling to remain outwardly impassive, even as a hopeless, white-hot anger filled her soul. “I shall try harder to find your future. I swear.”

“Make it soon, or your precious kin will feel my wrath.”

“Yes, Sire.”

“Good.” He turned back to his slop, but she noticed the watchful gaze he kept on the crowd.

And on her.

She picked at the fruit on her plate, not bothering to pretend to eat.

Her mind spun. If she didn’t share her recent visions, her future would become even more uncertain than it currently was as the slave of this Abatu demon. He wasn’t just a prince of their hellish realm, but one of the most powerful warriors she’d ever seen.

Lately, he’d been working for a darkness that was easily creeping over everything with a nefarious plot of its own.

Another war was brewing, like those of the long distant past.

Only this time, her visions made her fear this war might be the one to end all of the Arcaine, and all of humanity–not just on earth, but in all realms, including her home.

Not many could face Brüs and survive. But this darkness scared her more than he ever could.

***

Available at Amazon B&N/Nook Google Play

Hope you enjoy :D

Amber

Weird Writer habit–what you read when you write #writerlife #writerhabit

Sorry guys, I know we had a visitor scheduled for today, but deadlines, edits and life in general have a way of messing up even the best laid interviews. Especially when it happens on both my end and theirs. We’re going to try to reconnect, but for now, I’ll bow to your request for scintillating information on my weird writer habits.

Yes, habits as in more than one, but we’ll just test the waters with my first one:

What I read when I’m in the midst of a project.

We’ve all heard it, if you write, you must read. And read I do. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest blessing of having an e-reader is that it doesn’t take up as much space in my purse/backpack/luggage as paperbacks, nor does it encourage my Igor impression since one e-reader weighs weigh less than five to six paperbacks. 

I’m a huge reader of a wide variety of genres because, if the story’s good, I’m there. Those characters and worlds that suck you right in and haunt your every waking moment are like boxes of the finest chocolate for me. So, imagine my surprise when, early on in my writing career, I discovered that what I read impacted what I was writing.

Now, I wasn’t going around repeating word for word what I read in my stuff, but my developmental process on story arc or character motivation would take turns that weren’t true to my story. For a bit I worried perhaps I’d lost my writing mojo or my Muse had decided to go into the witness protection program. Then, one day as Raine and I were discussing a potential situation, I realized why her voice sounded…well, off.  Somehow, she was channeling the heroine of the book I was currently reading. 

Horrified, I immediately cut of all communication with Raine and sent her far, far away.  Then I quickly finished up the book I was reading (because you do not quit half way through a damn good book, ever), took a deep breath, and began examining the puzzle pieces of my creative process.

When I identified the exact moment, the actual decision Raine had made that was completely foreign to her nature, I was then able to correct it, and get my story back on track. 

Phew, crisis averted. I then had to deal with the very real withdrawal effects of not reading for the next few months as I finished my story. No way, did I want to fall into that sneaky little trap again. 

Of course, after the words THE END were typed, I then went on a reading binge to end all reading binges. When I finally surfaced, I realized that because my creative process is a constant spinning mess in the back of my mind 24/7, I needed to keep a clear line between my current works in progress and what I read when working on them. 

So when I’m working with Raine, Xander and Natasha, I suddenly devour romantic suspense or non-fiction pieces. When Cyn took up residence, I went right back to my first love, Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. So long as I can stay away from the same genre I’m writing in, I’m okay and my story lines tend not to tangle. Plus, I tend to find some really cool books out there (FEED by Mira Grant being the latest, and I’ve got Joshua Roots’ UNDEAD CHAOS downloaded for my dining pleasure soon).

So right now as Natasha and I “discuss” her story, I have a huge selection of the finest chocolates waiting for me when THE END comes along–Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Joshua Roots, Jacquelyn Frank, Jennifer Ashley, JD Tyler, and oh so much more). 

However, I’m not starving, oh no. Because I get to indulge in Elle Kennedy, Trish McCallan, Cynthia Eden, Cristin Harber, Kaylea Cross, Jennifer Lowry, Maya Banks, Lora Leigh, and Suzanne Wright (and yep, many more) until Natasha and I complete our little soiree. 

So weird writer habit one: I can’t read in the genre I’m writing in until my story is done.

Since I know I’m not the only one out there, here’s a question:

Readers–do you tend to stick to one genre at a time or do you mix it up?

Writers–what do you find yourself reading when you’re in the midst of writing?

Why Editors Help Create Successful Writers #writing #editing

Another week is dashing by us, and I’m really appreciating all the votes last blog post got about what to do on the blog. If you haven’t voiced your opinion, feel free to go back a post and do so.

Today I decided to discuss a point of conversation with my critique partners–the role of editors in a writer’s career. Now, before everyone starts grabbing their spears and battle armor, hold up. Keep in mind, these blog posts, they’re all me-my opinion, my expierence and my issues, so while I’m hoping they provide some things to ponder, I, in no way, shape or form, expect the flag of public opinion to be waved frantically calling in reinforcements. One of the greatest things about being a writer, each of us comes at our craft differently, and each of our paths take completely different routes to our goals.

(brushing off hands) Okay, so with that warning given, let me dive in. (deep breath, perfecting diving pose, a leap, an arc, and perfect swan dive–scorecards flash 8, 9, 8.5)

I love my editors. That’s right, I am proud to announce I have more than one, more like five to six if you combine both sets from Black Opal and MuseIt. If you’re not familiar with what happens to your favorite book after your author types “#END#”, here’s a quick run down.

The poor baby begins a weight loss program. The first round will beat that baby down until it’s bawling in corner. The second round will coax it out, wipe its nose, then proceed to show it the way with some very straightforward talk. After some pouting, the story will straighten up, and face down the last round–where the final, professional polish will be applied–hair combed, pants pressed, shoes polished. Because of this, some writers have a love/hate relationship with their editors, they just love to hate them even as they lovveee the final product.

I am currently writing my fifth novel and the difference between SHADOW’S CURSE and SHADOW’S EDGE is…well…tremendous. As in, if I was doing the first book now with what I’ve learned, it might be a very different novel, but I digress. In 2011, I got my first round of edits back on SHADOW’S EDGE. I spent at least a week solid going over every point raised, making notes on style (don’t make this passive, show don’t tell), and pondering each question poised by her. This turned into long discussions via track changes through all three rounds, until I finally let the little bugger go and start walking on its own. It’s very difficult as a new author to release your clutching hold on your story and see it as a new reader, because you’ve breathed, cried, screamed at it for so long. Move ahead 6 months to SHADOW’S SOUL, this time the track change discussions we’re down to “got it” , “yep, I can see that”, or “What about this?”.

Then came SHADOW’S MOON and part of the reason I love my editors. Every bit of feedback I got from editors on the first two books pushed me to look at my craft critically and asked myself, what can I do to strengthen my writing? Challenge myself as a writer? Create something really cool for my readers?

I decided I wanted to change character perspective for my third book since Gavin and Raine needed some breathing room. Plus, well, I was challenged to write a romance. (Challenge me will you?) Not only did I want Shadow’s Moon to focus on the evolving relationship betweeen Xander and Warrick, but I decided to mix it up even more, I did two points of views in this story instead of my normal one. It wasn’t easy, but it did teach me quite abit about what I still had to learn and practice.

Then, mid 2013 when I handed off SHADOW’S MOON and the proposal for SHADOW’S CURSE to Black Opal’s caring hands, I decided to pause before starting Shadow’s Curse. I’ve been living in the Kyn universe for a long time, much longer than the publication dates on the books. Other characters and worlds were pestering me for their spotlight. Plus, since I write from limited third person point of view, and at one time wrote Shadow’s Edge completely from Raine’s POV (oh yes, much theraphy was needed after that), I decided to brave the wild new frontier of first person point of view.

Not as a New Adult story where first person seems very prevelant, but in an adult Paranormal Suspense story, one where I could explore my love of military suspense and paranormal abilities. But here was my challenge–I didn’t want every damn sentence to star with “I” . Come on, if all you hear is “I, I, I…” you may wanted to gouge out said “I’s” eyes. It wasn’t easy, it was difficult, enough so I almost gave up, but finally, FINALLY, I finished HUNTED BY THE PAST and it became part of the MuseItUp family. It also created a new series, the PSY-IV Teams.

This week, while working through the toughest Kyn book yet, SHADOW’S CURSE and the fiendishly difficult Natasha, I got hit with the edits for SHADOW’S MOON and HUNTED in one fell swoop. Anxious, I opened up the track changes leery I may soon find myself in a blood pile in front of my computer. Instead I got something better. Both editors left me notes, really heart warming ones on how much my writing had deepened and how much they were touched by the story. And this hard hearted wench of words, got a little bleary. There were still discussions and muttered comments (not in Track Changes because I didn’t want a hit put out on me), but I’m still loving my editors, because they are still providing me insight on things I can do better, ways to consider things differently, and how to ulitmately become a more successful writer.

So when the conversation arises among my partners in writing plots about what makes a successful writer, my first answer is: EDITORS.

Whether you’re Indie or Traditional or any mixture of writer, an editor can only help you. Not only can they give you an unbiased opinion on your work (Like my question this weekend of “So I’m going to change the POV on Book 2 of PSY-IV, you’re okay with that right?), they will keep your story straight, catch when you add an extra arm, leave a character standing at the side of the road, or another one decides to not only change hair color but their height (w/o shoes), they will the first one to push off that cliff of what ifs when you can’t get your feet to move. Because if you want to be a successful writer, you need to continue to grow your craft and your skill set. Otherwise–same story, different….you get the picture.

As a reader or writer, can you tell when a story lacks an editor?

The Devil’s In The Details #AmEditing

Edits.

More edits.

And even more edits since I just got my book back from one of my editors :D

Sometimes, it seems like no matter how much time it takes to write the first draft, the editing always takes at least three times longer. Sigh.

Partly, I think, it’s because when I’m writing, I really *try* hard to just get the words down. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the wrong words, or even bad words. But, as a writer, editing means searching for ways to make them better. Clearer for my readers. More emotional, deeper, getting down into the characters that I fell in love with in the first place.

Because I write to tell their stories, and I hope readers fall in love with these people as much as I did.

So, back to the edits for me because I have a release date coming up soon : )

Q4U: Readers, what makes you love characters? Writers, what’s some of your editing process?

Jami’s Future blog posts now open for suggestions… #blogsuggestions

To say it’s been a little nutty around here is putting it mildly, but I’m fairly certain we’ve managed to survive the worst of it.  I’ve been lucky enough to have some great authors swing by and help pick up the slack while I try to get the wild, writing horse under control.

To give you an idea of what the last sixty days has thrown at me:

SHADOW’S MOON is in the final stages of preparing for it’s debut on  May 10th, 2014.  

I think I have all my goodies set up for the Romantic Times (RT 2014) conference in New Orleans for May.  

The newest shack is now presentable and open for visitors, the packing boxes are tucked away.

The Prankster Duo have been corralled and should be stumbling along the last part of their scholastic adventures.

The evil day job and I are at an impasse, wherein they’re being nice to me and I’m checking out interesting bits and pieces shining on the side of the road.

SHADOW’S CURSE is proving its name apt. Natasha is showing how demons really do thrive on chaos, even if that means the poor schlep (me) that has to tell the story gets battered to a pulp and sent back to fix those pesky little issues.  (Sigh)  My personal deadline is now mid-April to get this done. Maybe I’ll get a couple of weeks before RT 2014 to enjoy some quiet, but I doubt it.

HUNTED BY THE PAST is coming up fast in the rearview mirror. I’m expecting to be crowded to the edge with edits shortly. 

And when I went to take a deep breath, I realized, hey, there’s a whole ‘nother six months of the year open for interviews.  I know we’ve been having fun with all the authors that have been stopping by, but you all have been patient, and subject to my choices. I’m thinking it’s time to mix it up a bit.  

So instead of relying on more interviews and blog hops, I’m going to throw this out there.

Tell me what you’d like to see discussed, I’m always looking for cool topics.

Wait, don’t go, I’m serious. This blog isn’t just about me, it’s about you the readers as well, so I’m honestly curious.

What kind of posts would you like to see? I’m not saying it will happen every week, but still, I’m all open to suggestions. See, here’s the thing with being a writer (even if you are a voracious reader), your blog topics are centered around what impacts you at that particular time. Critique groups, editing dilemmas, promotional hells, review worries,  but there’s so much more to talk about.

So I’m looking to gather a list of suggestions from you, then I’ll put it up as a poll and start from the most popular and work my way down. Sound like a plan? Okay, good. In case you need a starter kit, here’s  few items I’ve seen done well:

Round-robin stories.  I’m sure I can get a few writerly friends to join with me. I promise I have some.

Gather a list of blog visitor questions for our kidnap…er…interview victims.

Exploring the wild worlds of what happens in writing, techniques, questions of “What do you do, when…”

What topics stir your blood? Are you intrigued by different genres? What happens behind the book scenes? Is there some burning question you’ve always wanted to ask, but never felt comfortable putting out there? 

Start a hypothetical “what-if” threads.

Recommend new reads.

A debate on the merits of having JJ Abrams do the new Star Wars flicks.

So bring it, guys, throw stuff out there and let’s find out what sticks to the walls. (They’re clean, promise.)

 

RT Will Be Here Before I Know It

I missed everyone last week, sadly I was busy working. St. Patty’s is a pretty big deal if you work in the bar industry…even if you work at a Tequila Bar. That and a girl’s night out left me wrecked. My father and  uncle were also in town this week. They came just in time to see me with strep throat. I know, I know, this has been the fourth time I have been sick this winter. I am not actually a sickly person by nature though I obviously don’t have the constitution to deal with these winters. I need to get better though because I need to be on my A game at work so I am all set for New Orleans. I am getting really excited for RT.

RT for those that don’t know is the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention. It is a huge conference that has tons of classes, lectures, parties. All of it relating to writing. Needless to say I am super stoked to be going. At the same time I am a bit daunted by all that needs to be done before hand. I made a list a few months ago on the blog. Things are coming together but being sick four times in the past five months certainly has not helped.  With all the things piling up I decided to add something else to the pot. I am going to enter the American Idol Writing Competition at RT. It’s a bit nerve wracking but I did say on my writing goals for the year that I would enter a contest.

I am surprisingly unworried about the contest. It would be amazing to win, but even getting three chapters to agents and editors is a step in the right direction. So I will be plenty busy these next few weeks. Sometime in there I really want to see the new movie Authors Anonymous. It’s about a writers group whose most recent member has sudden success and makes all of the other writers go a bit nutty. It is obviously going to be overdone but I think it’s something most writers can relate to. We all want our peers to be successful but seeing someone ink a six figure deal overnight might make us a bit jealous. I want to see how the film takes on those feelings and their eventual resolutions. 

A visit w/@sbredstone and a peek at his dark paranormal mystery A SINISTER OBSESSION #giveaway

Welcome back! Don’t mind the mess, I’m in the midst of edits and final word counts. (Haphazardly stacking piles of paper and multi-colored pens into a teetering pile).  Oh, and a little dash of research before we begin our preparations for our travels to the Big Easy in May. (Shoving a couple of books under a couch cushion).

Today’s guest is the perceptively diabolical S.B. Redstone and he’s bringing along his dark, paranormal mystery, A SINISTER OBSESSION, along. His timing is impeccable considering my latest string of reading titles. I’ll share only because I have the excuse that I’m an author and this is research. I just finished up with Dr. Stout’s THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR (which really doesn’t make you want to meet your neighbors) and I’m getting ready to start with John Douglas’s MIND HUNTER, which is all about the FBI’s Serial Crime Unit. 

It’s RESEARCH, people (and kind of fun!).

But, enough on my quest for criminal motivation, let’s talk to someone who’s created a terrifyingly fantastic read for all you readers looking for a great novel weaving mystery, suspense, and dark fiction, with a paranormal female detective, a combative 1940′s style romantic relationship between detectives, a hot social topic viewed from a humanistic perspective, complete with an elusive killer whose narcissistic obsession leads to heartless murders and a diabolical scheme to achieve personal happiness. Yep, it’s all here in A SINISTER OBSESSION published by Black Opal Books.

I bet you want your own copy, uh? Well, here’s how you can enter for a chance to win your very own e-copy of A SINISTER OBSESSION. Click on this Rafflecopter link and/or share with us in our comment section what fascinates you about your favorite villain and you could be our winner. Don’t forget to add your email so we can connect with you! Will make our announcement on Tuesday, Mar. 25th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My enthralled crowd, I give you S.B. Redstone!

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

I wanted to be Superman. As a child, I watched this superhero on television and I wanted to fly, leap over tall buildings , be the strongest person on Earth, help people, and beat up all the bullies that were annoying me! And—I wouldn’t have to take anymore crap from my parents, teachers, and grownups. Even now at my age, I still wish to be Superman, and save the world from human folly, but instead for a career, I helped people as a School Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

–I was more of the Wolverine type–claws, growls, snarls…   

If your character(s) came with a warning label, what would it say?

Detective Sergeant Aubrey McKenzie – “Don’t piss off this bitch!”

–Nice…=0)

Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior).  Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?

Rory McIlroy, the young professional golfer, replied to a question during a television interview. He was asked if he was intimidated by the more experienced golfers? He answered honestly. He was a professional golfer. If he didn’t think he could beat everyone, he wouldn’t be on the PGA tour. That’s my attitude. Not wishing to appear arrogant, I am a professional writer. I don’t give any thought to famous authors or who sold more books than me, which is just about everyone right now. I know I write well. They write well. I know my stories are interesting and have merit. So do they. Hopefully, the only difference between us; they just started before me. The better than 4 star reviews for A Sinister Obsession attest to storytelling skills. If all my reviewers worked at Simon and Schuster, my books would be piled up at the front door of Barnes and Noble. If or when I meet a famous writer, I’d probably ask if they played golf. With that said, I’ll share a time when I was intimidated by previous writers. Not fiction writers, but eminent personality theorists: Freud, Jung, and Ellis. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I was formulating a different view of human nature and relationships, which placed our natures in the natural world. While sharing my thoughts with colleagues, they encouraged me to write a book. A bolt of anxiety hit me. I said, “Who would care what an obscure therapist in Plainview Long Island thinks?” My colleague looked at me and said, “Everyone!” I wrote Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning with a great deal of trepidation published by New Horizon Press Books, Steven B. Rosenstein, LCSW, MS.

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was  your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

How did you know? I was a teenager when I was writing poetry. I don’t know why I chose that creative form as I was a terrible writer. Most of my interest was in sports and old movies. But I enjoyed doing it. Showed a few people and they  liked it. I think I can blame my creative desires on an old friend who was an excellent artist. I was envious of his talents and I wanted to be just as creative. I will admit to being a highly competitive person. Nothing I do doesn’t involve some form of competition, even if the completion is with myself. My first novel I wrote, when I didn’t know how to make two adjacent sentences coherent, was a horror novel. I sent it out to agents. Rejected! I put it away, and every year or two, edited it again and again. Recently, its main characters screamed at me to send out queries to independent publishers. I hope they’re right!  

–Ahh, teenage poetry, the perfect outlet for angst… 

We all have favorite characters, either main or secondary, and there are always bits and pieces of them we don’t share with our readers, but keep close to our hearts.  Choose your favorite from your cast of characters and tell us a couple of things that you haven’t shared in your books/writing.

There are few secrets that I haven’t shared with the readers about my characters. If I think it goes down on paper. I don’t hold back. Like it or not, the character gets revealed. For Detective McKenzie, she likes to physically hurt those she hates. That’s who she is. I could have made her less reactive and aggressive, but she wouldn’t have accepted that. I didn’t share with my readers that she’d like to bullet in the heart of most of the criminals she captures. There’s another character I dare not name to ruin the mystery, but he is really far more despicable than I made him. I didn’t want to tarnish every aspect of his personality, so the readers wouldn’t hate him as much as I do.

–I think a great many writers won’t share everything about their character with their readers, but if you do it right, you’re readers manage to uncover it all between the lines.

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

A reader said, reacting to a murder scene, “I’ll never look at a knitting needle the same way again!”

Whether we’re plotters or pantsers (outlines not needed), creating our stories takes us on very memorable journeys.  Sometimes we may be part way through before we realize some major aspect of our story is just not working (plot, character, setting).  Have you ever hit this sharp, pointy snag and if so, how did you escape? We’re you battered and bruised or a bloody mess?

I’ve never hit a snag on a story and had to give it up because I write the entire story in my head, for months, before I ever think of having it appear on a computer screen. If it doesn’t have a great beginning, middle, and end with fascinating characters, I give it up. Ninety percent of my stories bite the dust. However, here’s a masochistic moment. A bit different that your question but the situation left me devastated. Many years ago, I saw the movie Amadeus. I thought it would interesting to write a screenplay about Beethoven, who had an even greater difficult life, but no one had done before. I did months of research. Wrote the screenplay, which took we nearly a year with the little free time I had. Just when I finished it, and was thinking about what to do with it, my wife comes over, and says gently, “Immortal Beloved, is coming to the big screen. Oh, noooooo! Here’s my advice to writers. Never write a screenplay about a famous person!

What’s the one genre you won’t ever try and why?

Young adult. I’d have no clue how they think. What they think about. I can’t watch their movies or their television shows. What they think is funny has me staring blankly at walls. I don’t understand paying hundreds of dollars for jeans with tattered holes.  They’re a great generation, but not my generation, and if I dared create characters of that age, they’d sound like old people with braces on!

Share if you dare, one of your favorite research experiences. Did you join a ghost hunters group? Did you step outside your comfort zone and into the wild world of your characters?

My favorite research experience wasn’t very exciting. In my horror novel, President Kennedy, is a background character. I went to the library and read every biography on him. I expected to read about his presidency and policy and couldn’t believe I was reading about the secret life of a sex addict. He had an insatiable appetite for sex. His long list of women included Marilyn Monroe, a Soviet spy, and prostitutes in the White House. Now my novel about a succubus seeking world domination, through demonic possession, during a sexual encounter had the powerful punch I was seeking!

–It’s amazing what you discover about public figures if you dig deep enough. 

You all ready for our BULLET LIST? Alright, SB, it’s all yours… 

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Fists – I can’t really hurt anyone.

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

Peter Pan – Flying would be fun!

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

Only two, but they’ve been by my bed for over a year.

Crazy Horse, The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz

No Easy Way by Mark Owen

Greatest one liner of all time?

“Here’s looking at you kid!” the movie, Casablanca

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Sarcastic witticism – I love one up-man-ship.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

A paperclip with a plastic yellow heart on it. I have no idea where it came from. 

Favorite supernatural creature?

Succubus

Much thanks to SB for coming and spending time with us, we always love meeting new writers and getting a small peek into what  makes them tick!

A Sinister Obsession can be purchased at Amazon and all booksellers in kindle and paperback formats.

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Amazon  http://goo.gl/TkWAe6

A psychopathic killer on a quest leaves behind a string of brutal murders, and to find the Who, the police must first discover the Why

Detective Aubrey McKenzie has been assigned to investigate the murders. A lovely, fabulously wealthy, dark-haired Scot, whose iron will was forged in the inferno of human tragedy, Aubrey is stymied by the lack of solid clues. Now she must rely on her paranormal ability to apprehend the killer—an ability that has been invaluable in her police work but has made a disaster of her social life. Fate teams Aubrey with Detective Joshua Diamond, a handsome, talented, and compassionate man who is more than happy eating a greasy bacon-cheeseburger and wearing clothes that should have been thrown out with the trash. In a race against time, Aubrey and Joshua must overcome their vast differences—and their attraction for each other—and discover the identity of this elusive killer, and the quest this fiend is on, before more lives are destroyed.

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Bio

I write under the name S. B. Redstone. I began my career, after graduating from Hunter College, as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Social Services, Protective Services, investigating the horrors of the abuse and neglect of children. After attaining master’s degrees in Social Work and School Psychology, and then completing a post-graduate education in Psychoanalytic Therapy, I became a School Psychologist in the New York City Department of Education and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in his private therapy practice on Long Island. treating adults, adolescents, children, and couples. Always striving to improve his understanding of human nature, I researched and then wrote a personal improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning, which offers remarkable insights into behavior, societal institutions, and relationships. I have written articles on the web concerning human nature, relationships and the abuses of societal institutions, given lectures, and appeared on radio shows.                                                                             

Always having a vivid imagination and a desire to write fiction, I developed my writing skills by becoming a successful writer of short stories, all of which have been published on the web and in print. As an expert in the field of human psychology, I have been able to develop realistic characters from the dark side of human nature where my villains don’t aspire for happiness through personal achievement, but rather from their demented narcissistic schemes. Many of my characters have been taken from my clinical experiences. I have two additional novels seeking publication. I am a member of the International Thriller Writers Org and Romance Writers of America.

I can be found at http://sbredstoneauthor.com and at Goodreads, Shelfari, and Bloglovin. 

Should Books Have Ratings for Children?

I have heard many arguments about book ratings for children. Concerned parents are weary of what their children may be reading, and they are not the only ones.

Dr. Sarah Coyne from Brigham Young University completed a study regarding the amount of profanity in books geared to children as young as nine.  In an interview with US News she said, “I think we put books on a pedestal compared to other forms of media. I thought long and hard about whether to do the study in the first place—I think banning books is a terrible idea, but a content warning on the back I think would empower parents.”

The American Library Association has a different viewpoint, believing any type of warning or rating system is just another type of censorship. Their preamble states, “Cataloging decisions, labels, or ratings applied in an attempt to restrict or discourage access to materials or to suggest moral or doctrinal endorsement is a violation of the First Amendment and the Library Bill of Rights” (www.ala.org). They bring to light a good point in how one does one discern the difference between directional aids and prejudicial labels.

One website I found to help navigate the sea of content in books is Common Sense Media.  Many of these similar type websites I found are still lacking many books. But I may search for books for myself, with just the right amount of romance and action to suit my taste buds…sorry dwarf dreaming about books I want.

Back to the dwarflings. I think the best way to see what your children are reading is to read it yourself. I know it is difficult as my little one consumes books at a crazy pace and reads above her grade level.  But with the help of websites and the advice of other avid readers, I am able to find a happy balance.

So what do you say? Do you think book ratings, similar to movie ratings are the answer? Or is that another step towards banning books at our public libraries? Let me know what your vote is.

Come visit w/Nationally Best Selling Deborah Cooke and join our #giveaway! #Dragonfire #UF #PNR #romance

Good morning Swamp Folks! How are we doing this fine spring morning? Did you all make it past Dreamer’s SnapDragons? *wincing* Yeah, seems the seedlings got mixed with the Venus FlyTraps, hence the sharp teeth on those little puppies.

Well, now that you’re all settled in, get ready, because today we welcome the Nationally Best Selling Mistress of the hunky men of her Dragonfire series–Deborah Cooke . You may also recognize her as Claire Delacroix, the NY Times Best Selling authoress.

And because Deborah is such awesome sauce, she’s going to do a giveaway right here!

So in the comments, share with us a piece of life advice you found helpful or not so helpful and you could be our lucky winner of:

A SIGNED TRADE PAPERBACK OF THE DRAGON LEGION COLLECTION!

Dragonfire is a paranormal romance series featuring dragon shape shifter heroes on quest to save humanity 

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Don’t forget to include your email so we can reach out and gift you! (winner announced on 3/19/14)

Without further ado, I give you Deborah…

As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten.  Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?

Well, maybe this is backwards, but I always wanted to be a writer. I was an avid reader as a kid and just loved books. I also loved making up stories. Now we’d call it fan fiction, but I used to continue the stories of characters I’d met in books. The idea that I could be someone who wrote books, who was responsible for putting stories out into the world, was just a thrilling possibility. I was told, though, that being a writer wasn’t a practical way to make a living, that I should write as a hobby and find a “real” job instead. Well, writing books isn’t a practical way to make a living, but if it’s what you want to do, “real” jobs are just too boring to endure. I had real jobs for a while and ended up scribbling books on the side. I had to follow my bliss, and I did. Even before I sold my first book, I quit my real job and I’ve never looked back. It’s been challenging sometimes but so rewarding that you take the challenges in stride.

–I did the same thing for books and movies, generally creating my own character, because, well, because I’m a writer.  I also heard the same thing about writing not being a “real” job. *snort* Shows what they know.  I’ve got a plan where the day job goes bye-bye, but we’re not quite there yet. Soon, though *rubbing hangs together*

If you turned your laptop/computer/pen/typewriter (yes, some of still use these!) over to your character(s), how would they describe you?

I expect my characters would be frustrated with me for not writing more quickly. They’d accuse me of being easily distracted by shiny new ideas, which isn’t entirely unfair. Shiny new ideas are exciting! The fact is that I’m pretty prolific, but I still have too many ideas to write them all as quickly as even I’d like. I also have a tendency to create secondary characters who want to steal the book so they can have their own stories told. I make them wait, even though they’re interesting, and they don’t like it. The line of characters wanting their particular book written forms to the right, and my office tends to be pretty crowded. So long as no one fictional does injury to anyone else fictional, I’m okay with the crowd. I doubt they feel the same way – and really, if I was waiting on an HEA, I’d be impatient too. This also explains why I talk when I’m writing, but I’m not really talking to myself (although it looks like it): I’m calming the crowd. =0)

–Yep, have to watch for others listening in, they start to consider us “unbalanced”.  Explaining it, seems to make it worse!

Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere?  Inquiring minds want to know: what was  your first attempt at writing and how old were you?

I made many first attempts at writing, and took creative writing classes in high school. The first full length book that I completed is the proverbial one under the bed. It’s a paranormal romantic suspense set in Venice. I loved that story to bits and revised it many (many!) times. I really didn’t have the skill to do a good job with such a complicated hybrid genre book then. I submitted it to many publishers and agents, but in 1990, there was no market for that kind of book. There still might not be a market for it, but over the years, it’s haunted me and I now have a better plan of how to write it. I might rewrite it one of these days. We’ll see. For now, those characters have joined the line in my office.

–So I’m going to ask, do you have one of those paper ticket dispensers, like a deli? “Please take a number and we will serve you as soon as we can.” =0)

What’s some of the funniest/sweetest/strangest things you’ve heard from your readers?

I’m always honoured to hear from readers. There’s something so private about the act of writing that it’s frequently a bit startling to realize that other people are actually reading my books. Of course, that’s the point of publishing them, but still, it’s very exciting to hear from a reader. The sweetest thing someone can say is “I loved your book X.” Wow! That never fails to give me a thrill. Meeting readers in person is also a treat. One of the most exciting changes for writers is the development of the internet and the opportunity it gives of interacting with readers, through blogs, emails or other social media. It’s so much fun to have that immediacy and even to be able to correspond.

–Well, let me be another one, I love, love your Dragon series (and I know Snarky is just almost speechless that you’re visiting).

What is some of the best advice you were ever given?

It wasn’t given to me specifically, but is from the writings of Joseph Campbell: Follow your bliss. You have to do what makes you happy, regardless of whether other people (or even you) think it’s a sensible choice. Another saying I just love comes from Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way: Leap and the net will appear. That’s about trusting your instincts and following your heart (as well as your bliss). We know more than we believe we do, and need to be reminded to trust in ourselves and our own instincts.

–Instincts, we have ‘em for a resin =0)

Time for our favorite things, our bullet list…

Blades, guns, fists or feet?

Whatever suits the character. =0)

Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?

I love so many, but would choose Beauty and the Beast.

Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?

My TBR pile is very scary. It fills an entire bookshelf in my office. On my nightstand, though, are Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap and other plays (I admit I’ve been on a bit of an AC binge this fall.)
Margo Lanagan: The Brides of Rollrock Island (This is just lovely. I’m trying to ready slowly and savour.)
Ursula K. Leguin: Voices (Recommended by a friend who reads a ton more fantasy than me. I love UKL’s work, though, and am looking forward to diving in.)

Greatest one liner of all time?

“I know.”  Hans Solo en route to his inevitable demise, right after Princess Leia cries “Hans! I love you!”

–Ah yes, Star Wars, greatest space soap opera EVER!

Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?

Oh, I like wry humor. The deadpanned one-liner is my fave.

Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?

Hmm. There’s the usual clutter of books, music dvd’s, computer parts, notebooks, file folders and knitting in various stages of completion.

Favorite supernatural creature?

Dragons, of course. (Shape-shifting dragons that can become hunky heroes are even better.)

–LOL!

Much thanks to Deborah for taking time out of her very busy schedule to be with us! Don’t forget to leave your comment and email below. 

Need more…

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Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself, Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ bestselling author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012.

Currently, she’s writing the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances as Deborah Cooke, and the True Love Brides series of medieval romances (with fantasy elements) as Claire Delacroix.

The current Dragonfire release is The Dragon Legion Collection, which includes three paranormal romance novellas. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/deborah-cooke-books/dragonfire/the-dragons-legion-novellas/

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The current True Love Brides release is The Highlander’s Curse, which is a paranormal Scottish medieval romance. You can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-true-love-brides/the-highlanders-curse

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Deborah has also republished a trilogy of urban fantasy romances featuring fallen angel heroes and set in a dystopian future called the Prometheus Project. There’s a new fourth book in the series called Abyss and you can read more about it right here:
http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-prometheus-project/abyss/

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Find Deborah at these locations:

Deborah’s website and blog is http://deborahcooke.com

Deborah is on Facebook as herself:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahCookeFanPage
and also as Claire Delacroix:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaireDelacroix

Deborah is on Goodreads as Claire:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12694.Claire_Delacroix