Saturday, March 17, 2012
Stop by The Romance Studio today for St. Patty's Day fun reader-style! Lots of new releases with excerpts and giveaways, including books and Amazon gift cards.
The Love, Lore and a Wee Bit of Larceny series is featured. I'll be posting excerpts from Irish Heat and giving away prizes! Hope to see you there!
Irish Heat is a sexy Irish tale from the “Love, Lore and a Wee Bit of Larceny” series by Amazon bestselling authors Calista Fox, Erin Quinn and Mary Leo.
On Sale Now!!
Irish Heat by Calista Fox
Narrowly escaping with his life after infiltrating a powerful Irish mob family in Chicago, undercover detective Rourke O’Reilly finds himself in a different kind of danger when he returns to his birthplace in Ireland to return a gold coin he’d been bullied into stealing when he was just ten years old. Curses, spells and murder mar the mysterious and mystical land of Talamh an Óir, but a beautiful, russet-haired woman awaits him, ready to help Rourke reclaim everything he’s lost over the years... If she doesn’t kill him with an Irish death curse first.
Friday, March 16, 2012
This is a series I researched for several years in Europe and it is based on authentic European legends. It depicts life, love, and war in medieval times. As always I wrote strong women characters and evil villains. This series is very close to my heart. Here is what it's all about.
THE CURSE OF THE LOST ISLE SERIES:
PRINCESS OF BRETAGNE:
"Whatever made you think you could violate the apartments of my beloved queen?" Stopping short in the middle of the room, Elinas glanced around, eyes wide with disbelief.
Pressine struggled to sound casual. "Surely your gracious queen would have wanted these rooms light, warm and clean, even alive with laughter, rather than dark, sealed, and stinking of decay."
The king's jaw tightened under the short black beard as he towered over her. His hands balled into fists at his sides. "I alone decide in my castle." The low voice turned to a raucous whisper, more threatening than the shouts of any battlefield. "I shall not tolerate defiance of any kind under my roof. Restore these rooms to their previous state and leave."
Barely able to slow her heartbeat, Pressine feigned distraction, dusting her blue riding dress. "It simply cannot be done."
"You dare challenge me?" His surprise would have been comical, if not for the menacing tone.
"The old linens were burned," Pressine said with a calm she did not feel, as if lecturing a child. She rose to fetch the bundle wrapped in blue silk and handed it to him.
Elinas looked at it suspiciously. "What is it?"
"Her comb, mirror, distaff, spindle, and other keepsakes." Pressine's waved her hand, encompassing the room. "The apartments themselves will never look the way they did before." She had made certain of that.
The king's eyes, velvety brown and soft this morning at the spring, now burned with the fiery amber of a wild cat's glare. Elinas looked ready to pounce. He snatched the bundle from her arm. "Out!"
Pressine showed none of the apprehension gripping her. The king's heart, beneath the leather gear, had more mettle than she anticipated.
"Remember that I have your sword." She paused, observing the sobering effect of her words. "Only this morning, you gave it to me, swearing you would honor your oath of keeping me safe in your halls. Does a king's word count for so little in Strathclyde?"
"I curse the ill fortune that made me hear you sing, lady." Eyes tightly shut, Elinas tensed, fists at his side, obviously struggling for emotional control. "I should have known that a princess who refuses to bow to the will of men can only bring strife."
Encouraged by the spark of reason returning to the distraught Elinas, Pressine hoped he could now face his grief. "I am sorry if I offended you. I meant no disrespect."
"I have enough Vikings, Angles, Picts and Scots to give me trouble. The gods know I do not want feuds in my home." Stillness made his stare frightening.
Pressine refused to be intimidated. "Will you honor your word and protect me, then?"
"I should throw you to the wolves!" His voice boomed.
"Wolves?" Pressine repressed a chuckle. She loved wolves. "What would your people think of a king who throws a defenseless princess to the wolves?"
"Defenseless?" The king's face reddened.
"Everyone in the castle expects to see me at your side at the Beltane feast. If I do not attend, there will be questions. The rules of hospitality state that..."
"Let them ask," Elinas snapped. "The rules of hospitality do not apply to princesses who misbehave!"
"Please, my lord, do not throw me to the wolves!" Pressine dropped to her knees and grabbed his strong legs, gazing up at him. "I promise to behave like a proper lady and heed all your wishes from now on."
Elinas glanced into her eyes then averted his gaze. "Get up!" he said gruffly. "I spoke in anger. But you better behave as promised."
"Thank you, my king." Pressine rose. Her irrepressible smile broadened and she brushed her lips to his cheek. "Does this mean I may stay in these chambers?"
"I see no reason not to anymore." Elinas pursed his lips and sighed. His slow gaze perused the room. Unshed tears welled in his eyes. "My dear queen's spirit has left this place."
Moved by his emotional display, Pressine bowed humbly. "I shall do my best to please you, my lord. I promise."
Elinas glanced at her riding clothes. "I hope you plan to wear something more suitable for the feast."
"Do not fear. I will do honor to your hall." Pressine curtsied. To her surprise, when she raised her gaze Elinas remained standing, staring at her.
"I need my sword," He said curtly.
"What?" Under no circumstance could Pressine give him back his sword.
"A warrior-king cannot show himself at Beltane without a royal sword." The dark stubble of his beard twitched.
Suddenly grasping the opportunity, Pressine went to the most ornate chest in the room. "If a great sword you need, my lord, a great sword you shall have."
Opening the chest, Pressine nonchalantly furrowed among the gold and silver jewels to retrieve the wrapped Caliburn imbued with the might of the Goddess. When Pressine faced Elinas again, he stared, gaping at the riches in the open coffer.
"What is all this?" He eyed the contents suspiciously.
"My dowry." Pressine slowly unwrapped the sword empowered by the ritual in the stone circle. "From my father, King Salomon of Bretagne, and from my aunt, the Lady Morgane."
The king's gaze took in the other trunks as well. "You could supply a whole army for many years with that much silver and gold."
When Pressine unsheathed the blade, it caught the light and shone blue.
"Who did you say your aunt was?" Elinas seemed transfixed by the sight of the magnificent sword.
"Lady Morgane of the Lost Isle." Pressine presented the weapon to his touch.
"Incredible work." His hands caressed the blade. "I have never seen such flawless steel."
"Like the dowry, it will go to my husband in wedlock." Pressine sheathed the sword and handed it to him. "Would you wear Caliburn tonight, as a token of my good will?"
Elinas gave her a sharp glance as he took the sword. "Do not think this gives you license to oppose or contradict me in any way in front of my liege lords and barons. If you do, I shall have you thrown outside the ramparts in the middle of the night. And the royal Princess of Bretagne will have to contend with the wolves."
Caliburn in one hand the blue silk bundle in the other, Elinas marched out of the bedchamber. After the door closed, Pressine let out a long breath and her shoulders relaxed. Seducing this king might prove more difficult than she expected, but he was worthy, and she enjoyed a challenge.
Find other books by Vijaya at her author website HERE and also at:
AMAZON - BARNES&NOBLE - ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS
Thursday, March 15, 2012
By Michelle Lee
BWL Art Director
Which again, is at it should be. However …
The very curtain that I sit behind as a cover artist also leads to an almost air of mystery about what exactly it is that I do. Most authors never see the stages that a cover goes through from when a cover artist gets the assignment until when they receive the final cover. It’s very simple to many - they turn in a cover art form and then magically a cover appears.
I hope over the next few months to give the authors, and you the reader, a peek behind my particular curtain. Keep in mind, I can only speak for my process … mileage will vary with different publishers, and even between different artists. Still, I hope you enjoy the glimpse behind my particular curtain.
To begin, I would like to list some of the steps that I go through, and then in future posts I will start to break them all down, and if needed include sub-steps.
1. The artist fills out a cover art form which I, and sometimes the publisher, look over and start to formulate ideas as to what the cover elements will be.
2. I start to put images together to see how different elements look together.
3. I place the title and author name on the cover (often not in the color or font that I will ultimately use, but rather just a generic placeholder to start to formulate placement).
4. Then I start to play around with all the elements – the images, the font (placement, color, and effects), shifting them around until I get something that I am happy with.
5. After I get everything placed, I start in on effects of the font.
6. Lastly, I start adding in the extras – little things that just make the cover pop.
If the cover is part of a series, I also have to keep in mind what options I have for future covers in the series.
- For example, does the model I chose have other images that would work for future books.
- What extras can I add that I can tweak with future books, so that each book is unique but still has similar elements.
And then there is the X factor … the fact that I love to add little things in covers … playful things. I will of course address what I mean … but in a later post. : )
I also plan to address, to some degree, author branding.
'Til next time!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Everyone is creative in some way; we just differ in the ways we are creative. We aren't born with creativity; it's not in our DNA. When I was a kid, I envied my mother and other women who could knit, crochet, and embroider and do all the other needlework women used to do. After my first novel was published, I didn't envy anyone.
No matter if you are a writer, a homemaker, a lawyer, or a doctor, no doubt you have times when you need to solve a problem that's bugging you. A recent newspaper article gave examples of the means we can use to help solve these problems. Relaxation is important. That's why so many people get their inspirations while taking a shower or going for a walk. When I have writer's block, I find the best way to solve that problem is going for a walk. Watching a funny movie or TV show can help accomplish the same thing.
Blue is a color that helps relax us and so helps us in problem solving.
Here's a fancy term I learned years ago: hypnogogic time. This is the time between waking and sleeping, when we are still a bit groggy. How many times have you had a bright idea, just when you are going to sleep or waking up? Keep a tablet and pencil or a hand help recorder by your bed. You never can tell when they might come in handy.
Think like a child. Imagine you are seven years old, and you'd be surprised how you can master a different way of thinking.
Here's a suggestion my late husband always gave me: Think outside the box. Don't focus just on the immediate problem. Let your mind wander and let it take you where it will.
Carry spare pieces of paper with you, so that you'll be able to record ideas when you have them.
Have these suggestions helped? I hope so.
I'd love for you to check out my website at www.shirleymartinauthor.com and check out my romances at www.amazon.com
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
By way of introduction, I'm Sydell Voeller, and so far you'll find three of my titles live on Amazon, thanks to this very fine publishing company. My books are: Sandcastles of Love, The Fisherman's Daughter, and Summer Magic. I hope to have more out soon! But before I talk further about my books (most likely in my next post), I'd like to take a moment to share a little about myself and the circuitous road I took to becoming a writer. So here goes!
I grew up in Washington state, an only child, so I had plenty of time to spin stories in my head and get them down on paper. After I entered high school, I became the assistant editor of the school newspaper and editor of the creative writing magazine. I also kept a journal, which I still have and treasure.
My childhood dream, however, was to become a nurse, so writing professionally never crossed my mind. The following years, I attended a nursing school, affiliated with a nearby university, about 50 miles from my home. Sadly, though, I believed I was too busy then to keep up with my journal, so I let it go. Yet every year, when it came time to publish the nursing school annual, there I was, penning prose for the opening pages. Obviously, I just couldn't stop writing. And believe it or not, writing term papers rated high on my list of favorite assignments!
Later I married and moved to Oregon, where my husband and I've remained. We raised two wonderful sons, and in order to be home with them as much as possible, I cut back on my nursing to volunteer as a school and camp nurse. I also worked part-time at the Student Health Center at our local university, for the county public health department, and at a local family practice clinic--not all at the same time!
When our second son had barely turned 3, we discovered he had acquired a rare degenerative hip disease. The days that followed were filled with medical work-ups, hospitalizations, traction, and two major surgeries. Because I spent most of my time in the hospital with my son, I had ample opportunity to contemplate my uncertainties and fears--and my thoughts once again turned to keeping a journal. It wasn't long until I even began dreaming about getting parts of my journal published, so I sent the manuscript off to Redbook. Months later it came limping back to me with one of those notoriously "wonderful" form rejection notes.
Meanwhile, I'd been perusing writers' magazines and had come across an article about how to write teenage romances. Immediately I thought about my high school journal and realized I had in it a treasure trove of ideas.
The following summer, with my pink Smith Corona typewriter propped on the kitchen table, I crafted my first young adult romance (while my two sons popped in and out of the kitchen for any number of reasons). What an exercise in concentration!
Later, I joined a critique group and worked harder than ever. I can't begin to tell you how much I learned from the members there, most of whom were already published.
After I'd revised that first manuscript several times and began sending it out to publishing houses, I started work on my second and third. Imagine my excitement a couple of years later when I got a call from the editor at Silhouette's young adult line, offering me a contract on the first manuscript! The following December, Merry Christmas, Marcie was released--the best holiday gift I'd ever received.
Now twenty-some years later, I've published many books, articles, and short stories. I love sharing my knowledge with my approximate 100 students whom I mentor for a popular "distance learning" writing program. I've also established a great website that I'm very proud of. Please stop by and sign my guest book!
Monday, March 12, 2012
It's hard to be inventive. I realize there's a lot of ME in each of my stories, and I don't feel the least bit sexy...for reasons described on my own blog numerous times. If I truly wrote what my mind sees when I think about sex scenes, I highly doubt anyone would be swept away to anything but hysteria.
Here's an example:
Moonlight filtered through the venetian blinds and highlighted him as he disrobed. He pulled his shirt over his head, then shimmied out of his pants.
Her breath hitched. When had his stomach gotten so huge?
His lips trailed upward, warming her neck. He nibbled at her earlobe then arched back and gazed upon her face. His mouth, a few inches from hers, he licked his lips and drew closer.
She recoiled and rolled away. "Geez, I told you not to have onions on that burger. You reek."
He entered her with a quick thrust. She gasped, feeling a sensation all too familiar. "God, get off me. Quick! I have a Charlie Horse in my left leg!"
OR...last but not least....
Tonight was the night he'd waited for. They hadn't made love for a month, and he was determined to make up for lost time. Maybe more romance was needed. He hadn't been all that passionate or attentive of late. The moment was right. The children were gone for the weekend and except for the two of them, the place was empty. Only the flickering TV lit the room. He slithered off the couch and crawled toward her chair. She appeared deep in thought, lost in the movie she watched. He inched closer and, reaching her side, took her hand.
She jumped, then smiled. "What are you doing down there?"
"Come on." He raised to one knee and searched for a sexy tone. "Come to bed with me. I want to show you how much I love you."
She unfurled one leg from beneath her and placed a foot on the floor. Tears glistened in her eyes as she offered her hand.
He clasped palms with her and attempted to stand. A popping noise sliced the momentary silence between commercials. "Ow...my back!" He managed to get to his feet, but remained bent at the waist. With pain etched on his face, he hobbled to the couch and collapsed. "I guess we'll have to wait."
She blotted her tears. "That's okay. My other leg's asleep and I can't get up anyhow."
I think I'll stick to what I know I can do and leave the erotic and steamy writing to those who can handle it without laughing. *lol*
Note: This is something I shared on my own blog back in 2008, so if you're one of the three people who viewed it...just consider it a TV re-run, something we're all used to seeing. Welcome to Books We Love. The title of the site says it all. I hope you'll check my BWL author's page and see if either or both of my books tickle your fancy. Thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
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