Good morning! Since we don’t have a theme for this week I am going to do some self-promoting. I don’t usually self-promote here, but many of you might not know about me or my writing. First about me…hmm…I’m an Aries with a Cancer Moon and Virgo Rising. I’ve always walked to a different beat, and my husband tells me I think like 8% of the population! Now where he came up with that stat, I never figured out. But, he’s an engineer, so I don’t question. I love to travel and have visited most sacred sites across the globe. I spend a lot of time in coffee houses chatting with friends. Waste most of the afternoon hanging out and watching anime, reading, playing on my iPad…you know, nothing too constructive. But, I get up at 5:30 am every day and work until I crash!
In 2013, I almost gave up writing. I had several m/m books published and the industry was going through growing pains. I thought about starting something new and getting back to my art. Well I did start something new, a business with a wonderful friend and artist, teaching online classes, but I couldn’t give up writing all together.
In 2014, I had four books published.
Mostly, I write m/m romance but started as a m/f historical romance writer. These older books have been out of circulation for quite some time. I decided to republish two through Musa Publishing. It’s always nice to get a refresh on a story and a new editing job.
Regarding Eliza is my m/f Edwardian book – and a fun story about Eliza, a young woman living during the 1910’s. This was quite a decade of change, much like the 1960’s – which is the other m/f story I have out – Formula For Love. Both stories feature strong, independent women who want to make a change in the world, and are trying to figure out how love fits in with their need for independence.
On the m/m romance side, I have a new series, Orbus Arcana, co-authored with Vina Grey. This tells the story of Vince and John, a vampire in love with a human cop. The story leans towards a fantasy in the sense we have a lot of world building. Orbus Arcana exists alongside the human world but in another dimension. We will soon have an audio book for the first book – For The Bite Of It and plan to have the second book converted to audio next year – A Bite In Time. Vina and I are working on book 3, and hope to have it published in April, 2015.
I’m not sure what 2015 will bring? Maybe another trip overseas, or a brand new series I’ll write with Vina. I learned to take things day to day, to enjoy my writing and not stress the details. Life is too short not to enjoy every minute of it!
Twitter – Viki Lyn
As you may have noticed, Darker Temptations has been undergoing some changes. Its time for a relaunch.
So what’s new? We’ll still be blogging a common theme every two weeks, two themes per month. But not daily and with a leaner team of bloggers. Now we’ll be here every Tuesday and Thursday, blogging on paranormal and science fiction mysteries, romance, evil doers and much, much more. We may even write an original story or two. And it starts now! With a party. Come join us for…
At most great parties, secrets are spilled. And this is a great party, so we’ll share our secrets for the first theme. Each one of us–Marcella Burnard, Tina Christopher, Sabrina Garie and Viki Lyn–will reveal one secret about ourselves in our post. It can be anything. And we mean anything.
Don’t feel left out. We’d love for you to share your secrets with us. We won’t tell. 😉 Shy? No problem, just share your insights on our secrets. We’re offering incentives.
At the end of our two weeks of secrets, they’ll be an author gift basket giveaway. Each author gets to choose from one of the following three items to put in the basket: 1) an ebook; 2) a print book; or 3) a gift card. We aren’t telling. Secrets, remember? So the winner will receive four surprise prizes.
How do you win?
Easy. Comment on the blog post of our authors. All commenters will be assigned a number and entered into a raffle. A winner will be chosen with random.org, which selects numbers at–you guessed it–random. You can increase your chances of winning by commenting on several authors’ posts. There are four of us, so if you comment on all four of our blog posts, we will assign you four number in the raffle. If you comment on just three, then you’ll be assigned three numbers, and so forth.
Come and join the fun. What’s your secret?
Happy New Year! January 1st is such a day of hopes and dreams, and I hope that some of yours come into reality this year. Of course, they might need a little helping along – I don’t think you ought to wait for them, I think you should chase after… with a club if necessary!
Personally, I’m starting 2014 as I mean to go on – celebrating an imminent release. After nearly two years in drafts and endless edits, ARCHANGEL comes out Monday 6th January.
I didn’t set out to write a story about angels. It was March 31st, 2012 and the Twitterverse was buzzing about ScriptFrenzy, a month-long challenge hosted by the same people that bring the world NaNoWriMo every November (ScriptFrenzy no longer runs, but has been replaced by Camp NaNo). I’d no idea. None. Okay, well the vaguest inclination to write an urban fantasy with a “different” kind of supernatural element, but nothing concrete.
Vampires? Done that. Wolves? Done to death. Ghosts? Meh. Angels? Hmm, wait.
There’s an NCIS: LA episode called “Archangel”. It’s not about angels. At all. It does, however, feature my TV crush, so I’d seen it. Fairly recently, in fact. He played a mercenary and my brain started down the “what if” rabbit hole. I didn’t want a hero. Heroes are dull. But an antihero? With an attitude and a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later? That I wanted. And so Gabriel Kemp was born.
Gabe is probably the least angelic angel you can imagine. A tough upbringing made him into a tough human being, and getting divine powers doesn’t change that. He’s a crook skimming through life with little interest in it. Responsibilities are something to avoid, problems are things to be shot. He’s no belief in heaven or hell, or even himself.
Most of that came from my own determination to write something other. Angels are usually pure and powerful, messengers of love and peace. Tidings of great joy and all that. Of the words I found to apply to angels, only one stuck for Gabe – protective. That realisation amused me so much, I used it to create the logline.
Patient. Merciful. Protective… One out of three ain’t bad.
That’s not just descriptive of Gabe, but of his attitude. Although he has no faith, he’s not without hope. He’s not quite as carefree as he pretends, but there is something transient about his soul. He’s looking for a place to be, and someone who’ll accept him as he is.
I think, to a large degree, that can be said of a lot of us.
It took me just twenty days to write the rough draft of ARCHANGEL and it was a wild ride. Most of the time I’d literally no idea what my next sentence was going to be. I wrote in first person and simply surrendered the reins to Gabe. He became very, very real and is still a character I love to death.
That’s probably down to the person I wrote the script for. I’d a very definite idea of who should play Gabe, and the story is largely a love letter to him. I even approached him for the cover, but costs proved to be prohibitive. Instead he gets the dedication.
Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.
The topic for today’s post came in and I panicked. I’m not talking a little “oh no, what will I write about” panic. I’m talking “holy crap, there is no way to do this in less than a doctoral thesis” panic. The topic? Discussing our favorite book. I know, I know — I see the panic on your face. I felt the same way. How can I choose just one book? Impossible. This isn’t a remake of Highlander and there are no swords and beheadings and stuff. But I’m still talking books. Just a little off center.
Reading is a huge part of my life. I’ve been a compulsive reader ever since I was a kid. Some of my favorite memories center on the mailman delivering my Disney reader books every month. Remember those little square, cardboard-cover books? Yeah, those. I still have all of mine, even the ones my evil little brother defaced with crayons. He almost had his eyebrows shaved for that one. If only Mom hadn’t caught me with the straight razor… There’s still time, though.
When I entered elementary school, I was exposed to the Serendipity books. They were a huge turning point for me. It was like this creative switch was turned on in my brain and I fell in love with reading. It was then that I knew I wanted to write. I wanted to create stories that made people think and feel and get lost in the words. I was six.
As I got older, I continued to read. As a child, my absolute favorite book was Watership Down. I didn’t understand all of the social implications of the book, but the story was incredibly engaging and it made me think. I was nine when I first read it.
I also loved anything by Shel Silverstein, particularly A Light in the Attic. The man was a brilliant voice for children. One of the favorite things I have ever written is a silly poem. It won awards. It made me realize humor had to be part of my literary voice.
In college, I read romance. Lots and lots of romance. Anything I could get my hands on — historical, contemporary, paranormal. I realized that romance gave me an outlet to get lost in a world where the outcome was much more predictable than anything I was facing at the time. And, though predictable happy endings occurred, I never knew which path the author would take to get me there. Of course, my favorite book then was Outlander, though I know the author isn’t keen on having her book categorized as straight romance. That book taught me the value of complex world building and reader engagement.
In my thirties, I glommed onto paranormal romance like it was an illicit $5.99 drug. Yes, paperbacks were still $5.99. I read Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, JR Ward and a few Sherrylin Kenyon. I found Nora Roberts’s different trilogies and ate up anything with recurring characters. I discovered I’m madly passionate about stories where I get to experience characters over and over. A main character in one book who cameos in the series? My favorite setup ever.
It wasn’t until my mid- to late-thirties that I discovered “good” erotica — stories with an actual plot that were sexy as hell. Thank you, Denise Rossetti and Robin Rotham. I discovered that closed-door sex scenes annoy the crap out of me and, therefore, have no place in my writing.
I entered my forties last January. I’ve discovered Gena Showalter. Why it took so long is beyond me, but it did. I’ve devoured everything of hers this summer. Her paranormal romances have indulged my love of world-building in a contemporary setting.
So many authors have had so much influence on my love of reading that it seems horribly unfair of me to limit myself to one favorite. In forty years, I’ve collected favorite books and favorite authors and favorite themes and favorite… You get the idea.
What about you? Are you able to identify one book that is, above all others, The One?
Hey y’all, remember me? Danica Avet? Yeah, sorry I’ve been away for so long, but between real life going all bonkers and shoulder surgeries and deciding to self-publish something…can we say I feel a little crazy?
And then I saw the topic for the next two weeks and lost a little more of my mind. The best book or ebook…How can I possibly choose? I mean, what are we basing this on? Because there are a lot of books I adore for different reasons. If you’ve ever seen Mallrats, you can just imagine me saying this like Brodie trying to describe his favorite superhero or whatever that was.
Is it based on emotion? Because there’s one that immediately comes to mind called The Reluctant Dom. I bawled my eyes out for this book, sobbing so much that a family member asked me if someone else in our family hurt my feelings. Hello? I do not cry because my feelings get hurt. But this book broke my heart and healed it and broke it again and made me like it.
But on the other hand, I’ve read a non-erotic
romance that left me in tears after the first chapter. It was the first edition of the book which I read in the early 90’s and I’ll never forget that emotional train wreck. I loaned the book to my friend and never saw it again and when it was re-released several years later, it wasn’t the same. They took all the raw emotion out of it, I guess to make it more palatable but I still recommend it if you enjoy books that leave you in tears. Redeeming Love is actually an inspirational romance and it really does make you wonder if there are greater powers at work. I’ll have to see if I can find a used copy to see if the original is as good as I remember it.
But if we’re going off of books that are funny, and I love my funny books, there’s none better than G.A. Aiken’s What A Dragon Should Know. Oh Gwenvael is easily my favorite hero ever. Because he’s so ridiculously conceited and funny and I just love how well he’s written. There’s some serious stuff going on in this book, the series actually made my mom cry…y’all, my mom hasn’t cried for a movie since she watched Imitation of Life in the 60s. For her to cry for a book series…well, that should tell you how deep it can get, but I tell you now these books area riot when they’re not being deep and dangerous.
And the horrible thing is? I’ve only mentioned three books that I truly love. There’s no way I can get to all of them. Let me just say that when I cleaned out my bookshelves a couple of years ago to keep only what I couldn’t get rid of…I was left with 600 paperbacks. From historicals to paranormals to action-adventure romance, there are way too many out there for me to point to one and say “That’s the best book I’ve ever read.” Heck, I haven’t even mentioned Kresley Cole and she, along with Shelly Laurenston and J.R. Ward are the reason why I became a writer.
But one thing is for sure, one day I’d like my own books to be on the list of “best book evah”.
Have y’all read the three books I’ve mentioned or any of the authors mentioned here? What’s your favorite book by them?
I love demons. Well, Gena Showalter’s demons. Not her personal demons… Maybe I should start over.
Today I’m going to blab about the best sidekicks EVAH. Having been a fan of paranormal romance (PNR) and urban fantasy (UF) for years — though I won’t disclose how many years — means I’m always looking for good books, preferably long-running series. I’m sort of picky about voice. It’s my pet peeve to get a flat voice or a voice I don’t connect with. It’s not the author’s fault, typically, but just my little quirk. Anyhoo, it often seems as if I’ve read everything I could possibly read. Then I find something new. Gena’s Lords of the Underworld series is the freaking best thing I’ve read in ages. No, it’s not new. Yes, I’m ashamed I hadn’t read it sooner. The point here is that I found it and have fallen in love with every…single…alpha hero. I’m talking almost-leave-my-lover-for-a-fictional-character love.
One of the best parts of the series, though, is that each warrior is paired with a demon high lord (i.e. Paris = Promiscuity, Toren = Disease, Amun = Secrets). These demons serve as a type of sidekick, influencing the hero and driving their behavior. It’s a great pairing because it gives each warrior such a distinct motivation because his will isn’t always his own. Every demon has a unique personality as well, and it’s interesting to see the interplay between man and monster. While the monster influences man, so does man influence monster. The author gives you the distinct impression that each demon might be just a little better than he was simply by being affiliated with his warrior. The warrior has ethics the demon lacks. It doesn’t always matter, but as each warrior battles his own story arc, you see how the two must work together to conquer whatever challenge has been set before him.
The other thing I truly love in this series is that the characters carry forward in every book, demons included. I have no idea how Gena manages as well as she does, but you never lose sight of any single character. It’s a remarkable talent she has to keep every character in every book while still allowing the hero/heroine to have their story. I’ve never felt cheated out of the hero’s/heroine’s story, even as I celebrate the recurring roles of the men I’ve fallen in love with.
Who are your favorite sidekicks in literature, movies or TV? I’m always interested to find out what people like about characters!
This blog cycle, we’re talking about the author we’ve always wanted to be. This is a hard one for me because there are a so many authors I I seriously admire. Picking one would be like trying to pick my favorite MANhandler pic. Can’t I just love them all? Okay, okay. Let me think…
It’s no secret that I love Diana Gabaldon with a crazy passion that probably alarmed her a little the first time I met her. I’m 6’1″ and a naturally exuberant person. She’s probably 5’3″ and incredibly soft-spoken and even a bit reserved. It’s impossible to be as tall as I am and not feel like I’m looming over such petite people. And then, when the conference coordinators have her seated to meet her fans, I have to either bend over to shake her hand or kneel in front of her. Of course I knelt. What did security think would happen? Yeesh. Anyway, Diana’s literary voice is rich and varied, and I’ve coveted the almost melodic “sound” of her storytelling since I read the first page of Outlander. I’d love to create the passion in readers that she’s cultivated over the last twenty years. I’d also like to find myself still writing after that long. Above all, I’d like to look back over the stories that will create my legacy and know I touched readers, gave them respite from the world’s demands if only for a while and helped them fall in love with my characters the way I have.
Another un-secret is my passion for absolutely anything written by Larissa Ione. When we started chatting on social media and privately, there was some very private Muppet-flailing and a few total fangirl moments. When she first emailed me? I may or may not have screamed, depending on your definition of “scream.” She’s been amazing to me, and I want to do the same for other authors who are finding their way through the difficult world of publishing. But back to the point of this paragraph — I’ve found that, the more I write, the harder it is for me to read. I can’t turn off my internal editor. It seems like I’m always rearranging scenes, catching typos, counting the “to be” verbs — all the things we authors aren’t supposed to do if we want to find success. With Larissa’s books, I get sucked into the vibrant world, the relationships, the (hawt) sex, the storylines. I admire her ability to write such clean, crisp stories. Her creativity is off the charts. The way she crafts her worlds and scenes engage every one of the readers senses. That, that, is what I want to look back and know I’ve done.
Finally? I have to be very frank and admit that I want to be me. What I spend my days doing is a total dream come true. There’s no way to describe the feeling of getting that first contract, landing a superstar agent, having your editor call you (insert your definition of “spastic” here), or finding out your book received an awesome review from Romantic Times magazine. All of these things and more have come to mean more to me than I can explain. I love what I do. I’m passionate about it. It’s everything I ever dreamed it would be. It’s also infinitely more difficult, unbelievably frustrating, guaranteed tear-inducing at times and worth every damn minute.
There’s no one author I want to be, but the two listed above are people whose talent, compassion and magic I admire and aspire to. If I could mash their skill together and mix it in a potion, I’d drink it right down. At the very least, I’d end up with a restraining order. At best? I’d be everything I want to be. Instead of scaring these two lovely ladies, I think I’ll just bust my ass and do my best to follow in their footsteps. It might take longer, but it’s the only way I want to get there. Plus I don’t have bail money. 😀
Who are the authors that inspire you? If you could be any author in the world for a day and experience what it’s like to have their skill, who would it be?
My favorite love scene is in The Main Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston. It’s not a sex scene, although it does lead to sex, but rather the hero’s declaration of love for the heroine. The reason I love it is, for how she’s built these two characters, the way this scene plays out is just perfect. The heroine, a hybrid lion and tiger shifter, is a bit commitment phobic and would likely run if hero made a straight out declaration of love even though she’s come to realize she’s developed a strong attachment to him. The hero, a grizzly shifter, is a bit ponderous in his approach to life, yet very smart about her reactions to things and knows she’d likely bolt/freak out if he just puts it out there. Here’s how Ms. Laurenston’s written his revelation. (To set the scene the heroine, Gwen, has just learned of all the help another character has given the hero, Lock when he was discharged from the military and having trouble getting his shit together. So she asks him pointblank if he’s in love with the woman.)
“So you do love her,” she said softly, determined to face the truth.
“Yeah, I love her. But I’m not in love with her. I’m not in love with anybody.”
Gwen felt her heart drop at Lock’s words, but wouldn’t come down on him for being honest. She’d rather that now than later.
Nodding Gwen reached for her ice cream and said, “I understand.”
“I mean,” he went on, unwittingly turning the knife, “not in love with anybody but you.” He thought for a moment and added, “God, I’m crazy in love with you. But yeah, I love Jess. Wait… what’s wrong?”
He was probably asking that because her hand was frozen in the action of reaching for ice cream, but she’d been so stunned, she left it dangling here. Staring at her nails, she asked, “You’re in love with me?”
“Crazy in love with you. You know, that whole ‘can’t imagine my life without you’ crazy in love with you.”
Her reaction is great, and true to character, but I’m not going to share that spoiler!
Ellie Heller has written A Matter of Fate, where her hero’s declaration of love is one of her favorite scenes.
A Matter of Fate Blurb
Someone is setting death-spells targeting mortals and elf blood alike. With her mentor out of commission, it’s up to half-trained Warder Mona Lisa Kubrek to stop the magic. Despite being told repeatedly her job is to nullify spells and not go after the source, too many people are at risk for her to not track the spell-caster down. Even meeting a sexy half-elf shifter won’t distract her from her goal.
Except Cart Dupree is fully trained and has the team to search for the evildoer, so she’d be stupid to not use his expertise. Stupid is something she can’t afford to be, not with her enemy’s henchmen after her. Later she’ll deal with Cart and his questions about her special abilities and the non-standard training her mentor has given her. Right now, they need to unravel where the magician is, and who he is, before he builds enough power to decimate them all.
First, though, they need to stay alive.
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
You can find Ellie here:
Goodreads author page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762572.Ellie_Heller